Svalbard Explored – SH Vega, July 2023
Svalbard Explored – SH Vega, July 2023
About the 8-day Spitsbergen Classic Itinerary
About the 8-day Spitsbergen Classic Itinerary
Day 1- LONGYEARBYEN, BOARDING OCEAN ATLANTIC
Arrival to Longyearbyen, Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.
Our vessel, Ocean Atlantic, is docked close to the town center. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship’s daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The Captain then takes the ship out of Advent Fjord and our Arctic adventure commences.
Day 2- KONGSFJORDEN, NY ÅLESUND AND NY LONDON
During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we have passed Prins Karls Forland and have arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. Our visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give us the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of year the migrating birds have just arrived. They are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months.
Our first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history. The Captain will try to get alongside, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.
Day 3- SMEERINGBURG, FUGLESONGEN
We have now entered North West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production.
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow we’ll make a landing on Fuglesongen, the largest colony of little auks in Svalbard. The arctic fox has noticed this as well and can often be seen roaming the base of the bird cliffs.
Day 4- DAY 4 INTO THE PACK ICE, NORTH OF 80 DEG
During the night the ship will have steered far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target for us is just the ‘edge’, possibly at 80 degrees north! This is the kingdom of the polar bear! As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey – the seals – resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find. A hard life indeed!
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed on board in the Viking Theater. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged.
Day 5 - ANDØYANE OG MONACO GLACIER
Most likely the northeastern coast of Spitsbergen Island and Hinlopen Strait are still locked in by coastal ice. We will try our luck and sail as far east as possible. Should this fail, Wood Fjord and Liefde Fjord could be excellent alternatives for the day. In this case, we will circumvent the bird rich Andøya in Zodiacs, and make a landing on Reindyrflya. Other interesting landings in this fantastic fjord system could be Mushamna and the oddly named ‘Texas Bar’. In the afternoon, a Zodiac cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs.
Day 6 - BLOMSTRAND PENINSULA, MORNING HIKE AND LILIEHÖÖK GLACIER
In the morning we will have reached the west coast of Spitsbergen and Kongsfjorden. Ocean Atlantic will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. As we will immediately see, the name is a bit misleading. Blomstrand is now an island – the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. We will cruise through this on our Zodiacs and make a landing on the island. Strong hikers might want to scale Irgensfjellet, 385 m for a nice view of ‘The Three Sisters’, nunatak mountains far into the Kongs Glacier, as well as enjoy a view down to Ny Ålesund.
After lunch, we continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, we may do a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front… or enjoy a lecture.
Day 7 - BELLSUND, VÅRSOLBUKTA AND CALYPSOBYEN
The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so winter ice should now have melted. This allows us to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on this last full day of exploration.
Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.
We will stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. Tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks, which the Svalbard reindeer love to graze. We will go for a nice walk along the beach – and spot remains from early industrial eras.
During lunch, we’ll cross the fjord along the 4 km long (but quite narrow) island of Akseloya. We will make a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord. Coal was extracted here in the early 1900s, but the enterprise never attained full production. Today, Calypsobyen offers an exciting landing that gives visitors a glimpse of the era of Neo-Industrialism, when all opportunities for profit were tried out. A pleasant walk can be made on the tundra behind the buildings.
Day 8 - Longyearbyen
Early in the morning the ship has returned to our starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the expedition team and crew, disembarkation will take place. Transfer is arranged to the airport.
Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all our passengers and staff.
For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, Ocean Atlantic has excellent public areas, such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for our passengers to spend their spare time. Our ship is staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.
Welcome Aboard the SH Vega
The 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.
Like it’s sistership the SH Minerva, SH Vega has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort.
The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.
- LENGTH: 337 ft (115 m)
- DRAFT: 18 ft (5.5 m)
- BREADTH: 75 ft (23 m)
- REGISTERED: Malta
- PASSENGERS: 152
- CRUISING SPEED: 15.5 knots in open water
- LIFEBOATS: 2 fully enclosed
- PROPULSION DIESEL-ELECTRIC ENGINES: 4x Medium speed, Polar code Cat A.
Cabins & Amenities
- Staterooms: Our 76 stateroom including 6 suites have all the amenities you will need to feel comfortable including dressing gowns, hairdryers, personal safes and minibars.Our stylish stateroom all have desks, a dressing area and comfy seating. En suite bathrooms all feature glass-enclosed rain showers.
- Sauna with a view: Head to Deck 8 for the best view in the world. After a work out in our state-of-the-art-gym, relax in our sauna or jacuzzi and take those breathtaking vistas along the way.
- The Swan Restaurant: As the main venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner, our 152-seat restaurant serves international and local cuisine focused on quality regional ingredients from the unique destination we visit.
- Alfresco Dining & Heated Outdoor pool: On Deck 7 you´ll find a heated outside pool along with pool side seating from where you can enjoy stunning scenery.
- The Observation Lounge: After a day of exploration, where better to relax than in the Observation Lounge. Sit back, savor your favorite tipple whilst getting to know you fellow guests:
- The Club Lounge: Vibrant and welcoming , The Club Lounge acts as a hub , combining 24 hours tapas inspired dining with panoramic views of the ocean glittering below.
INCLUDED in all voyages:
- Room service 24 hours a day
- Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
- Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
- Standard WIFI inclusion
- Onboard gratuities & port taxes
- One shore excursion per port of call
- Use of Rubber boots for shore landings
- Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parker
Adventure activities: One-time kayaking $250/trip.