Circumnavigation of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway
Join: Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, 24 July 2018
Leave: Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, 03 August 2018
Day 1 – Get to know the boat, the gear and the other participants
We meet onboard the boat in the harbour at 1600 o’clock, and start to get to know the other participants, the boat and the equipment. Together we stow all our gear and the food, and then we go through a safety drill and practice handling the boat and the sails. After making sure we are all set we cast off and sail straight across the fjord from Longyearbyen to Tempelet (The Temple) with it’s impressive shapes in sand and stone. Then we head out the Icefjord and turn north on the inside of Prins Karls Forland towards the Forlands-reef. Our first destination being New Ålesund; the northernmost settlement in the world.
Day 2 – New Ålesund and Kongsfjorden
We make a visit ashore in New Ålesund. The town has a progressive international research environment and is a rare outpost/pioneer-like place to be, however most famous probably as the startingpoint for the polar explorer Roald Amundsens expedition towards the northpole with the airship “Norway”. Back onboard we set sail deeper into the Kongsfjord; a fjord by many considered the most beautiful fjord in Svalbard. This mainly due to the surrounding two glaciers as well as the three spectacular pyramid-shaped peaks Dana, Nora and Svea, named after the three Scandinavian countries.
Day 3-5 – The north side of Svalbard (day 3 – 5)
Further north, as we approach the north-western corner of Spitsbergen, we sail into the Smeerenburgfjord where we will spend some time at a few historical sights. In Virgohamna we will make it to land and see the remains both from the 1600th century whaling as well from two major attempts to reach the northpole by both airballoon and airship; both the swedish Salomon August Andrée and the american Walter Wellman had this bay as their basecamp and startingpoint. We will then sail throughout the north-western islands, pass Fair Haven, and set an easterly course along the northern side of Spitsbergen. Our course will be towards Nordaustlandet and the Hinlopen Strait; the strait separating Spitsbergen from the ice-covered Nordaustlandet (northeast Territories). On the way eastwards we will pass either Moffen, a small 360 degree beach resort for walruses, or we’ll go closer to land and visit the harbour Gråhuken where 6 norwegian vessels froze in during the winter 1872. Possibly we’ll also visit Mosselbukta, as well as Heclahuken and Krossøya on the east side of the Hinlopen strait’s north mouth. We will then head southwards into the Hinlopen strait, a fascinating sound full of life, whales, and small icebergs from the glaciers on both sides of the sound. As we go through we’ll pass the Alke-mountain; the biggest bird sanctuary of Svalbard, and we will stop at Torellnesset, housing a big walrus-colony on the south-eastern tip of the Hinlopen Strait. If the weather allows we will also now stop for a longer walk ashore to stretch and move our sailorbodies. Hopefully we can also dip briefly in the crystal clear water on the beach.
Day 6-8 – Coming out on the south of Hinlopen Strait (day 6 – 8)
Almost halfway on our journey we are now heading south. From Hinlopen we pass out through the bumpy tidal streams of Ormebolet and the Heløy-sound, separating Spitsbergen from the Barents island. Here, the tidal stream goes up to 9 knots and it is important to time our passing through correctly. The current is created by the tidal differences between the inner pool of the Storfjord, and the Barents Sea east of Edge-island as well as the Barents-island. We then reach the inner pool of Storfjorden, a big and shallow fjord reaching all the way down to the south cape of Spitsbergen; the point that will be our general direction for the next days. On the way south we will spend time and sail passing by destinations like the Nigri Glacier, Cape Lee, Crozier Point, and Whale Bay. Possibly we also find time for a hike up the Keilhau-mountain close to the South Cape before we sail around the cape and up north on the western side. Our next destination is southernmost fjord of Spitsbergen; Hornsund.
Day 9-11 – Rounding the South Cape and Hornsund (day 9 – 11)
These last days we will spend in Hornsund and the western side of the land up to Isfjord and Longyearbyen. Hornsund is a beautiful place with good shelter and warmer temperatures, perfect for an anchorage and a hike up on the mountains deep in the fjord. Here four glaciers meet and calve into the sea, a spectacular sight. We then head northwards and will go into the Recherche-fjord for a short visit, before heading north again and into the Icefjord. As we pass the cape of Icefjord Radio we will know if there is time for a visit to the interesting and colourful Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg. We will be in Longyearbyen in the afternoon of August 2nd and we will tidy and ship shape the boat before we all go ashore to eat and conclude the trip in a proper manner. Check-out from the boat in the morning of August 3rd. at 1000 o’clock.
Trainers/ deck shoes (no black soled shoes please – they mark the deck)
Waterproof sailing kit (two sets are recommended. Heavy gear for on-board and lighter kit for trips ashore)
Sailing gloves – 2 sets
Hot water bottle
Clothes for on-board and on shore
A small backpack for trips on-shore (30-40 litres)
A water bottle
Thermals, two sets
Thick socks, two sets
Sun glasses (polarized)
Sun cream – SPF50+
Small quick dry towel
USB cord to charge your phone
Warm sleeping bag
Printed out Insurance details
Any medication you require