From the Netherlands to Scotland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard, get to the know the seas navigated by Vikings and hunters of past centuries.
Length of Travel: 12 days
Itinerary in Brief
Travel north from the sub-Arctic to the Arctic while keeping a sharp eye out for wildlife encounters. There are plenty of chances for whale watching and to spot a variety of migrating birds. The expedition crosses paths with dolphins as well as large baleen whales on the way to mysterious Jan Mayen with its massive volcano. You’ll visit a sea-bird paradise, mingle with the local community of Fair Isle and make a stop at Jan Mayen to visit a Norwegian meteorological station. Finally, you’ll sail along the pack ice into the domain of the Polar bear; into Svalbard to visit with its rich wildlife and explore its astounding landscape.
* Special Notes
Optional: embark in Aberdeen
Day 1: Embarkation in Vlissingen (Netherlands)
In Vlissingen passengers will board the ship at mid-day.
Day 2: At sea towards Aberdeen
We cross the North Sea
Day 3: Granite City: Aberdeen
We arrive in Aberdeen, famed as the Granite City and many times a winner of the Britain in Bloom competition, and embark on our trip. As we reach the North Sea, we see the lighthouse on Girdle Ness to the south, designed by the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson.More passengers will board the ship in Aberdeen.The Scottish waters offer excellent possibilities to spot Minke Whale, White-beaked Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise. Several other cetaceans, including Orca (Killer Whale), are also native to these waters.
Day 4: Fair Isle, haven for sea-birds
At Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, we are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants (famed for their knitwear, examples of which we will see) to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Fair Isle is a haven for sea-birds, which are very accessible. We may also see Grey Seals.
Day 5 - 6: We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen
We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During our two days at sea there will be plenty of time to watch for the blow of a Minke, Fin or Blue Whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps we might run into a pod of Orca, who can often be quite curious about boats such as ours.
Day 7: Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island of breath-taking beauty and mystique dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities we hope to visit the weather station. We will also walk across the island to Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of Fulmar.
Day 8 - 10: Looking out for Whales, Harp Seals, Polar Bears and a variety of seabirds
In the midnight sun, we sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for Bowhead Whales, Harp Seals, Polar Bears and a variety of seabirds, until about 79 North, then we will sail west to the edges of the continental shelf off West Spitsbergen, where we have good chances to meet Finn Whales and near the mouths of the big Spitsbergen fjords, Minke Whales.
Day 11: Poolepynten
We will look for Walrus at Poolepynten. In the evening we could land at Alkhornet another seabird colony, where at the slopes we can find reindeer and Arctic Fox.
Day 12: Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Svalbard
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Svalbard, for flights south to Oslo and onward home.