24th July: Joining the expedition
You will join our expedition yacht in Longyearbyen. Despite being the most northerly city in the world, Longyearbyen is easily access by air with several flights a day from mainland Norway. You will be met at the yacht by your skipper who will give you a warm welcome, and most likely a cup of tea. You will then have the opportunity to settle in and be shown around the boat as well as to explore the town and get your first taste of life at nearly 80 degrees north. Dinner will be provided onboard on the first evening, a great opportunity to get to know your fellow crew mates.
25th July: Setting sail
Following initial safety briefings we will be heading out of port and setting sail for the first time. The sheltered and spectacular Isfjorden provides the perfect opportunity to get used to the boat. The skipper will take you through everything that you need to know about how sailing and life work onboard an expedition yacht. There will also be opportunity to simply soak up the stunning scenery of the polar landscape.
26th – 28th July: Exploring Svalbard
Weather permitting, we will explore the specular southern peninsular, with it’s glaciers reaching down to the sea, navigating carefully when we encounter ice and seeking out a good anchorage which will allow us to explore ashore as well as to get a good nights sleep. We can expect abundant wildlife and will be keeping a careful eye out for polar bears.
29th July – 4th August: Crossing the Barents Sea
We will be looking carefully at the sea and weather conditions to choose a good time to make our crossing of the Barent’s Sea. The total crossing is a distance of nearly 400 nautical miles which we will expect to take 4-5days. During the crossing the crew will be divided into groups of 2 or 3 called ‘watches’, each supervised by a member of our crew, the watches will take it in turns sailing the yacht across the ocean throughout the day and night. Sailing through the night out of sight of land is one of the most magical and unique experiences of ocean sailing. During our journey, we can expect to be accompanied by seabirds as they wander the ocean. If we are lucky we may even find ourselves encountering whales. If the conditions are right then we will stop at the truly remote island of Bjornoya (Bear Island), approximately 200 nautical miles into the journey. We may even get a chance to go ashore and explore. Then it will be onwards to complete our crossing and see Norway come into sight.
5th – 6th August: Fjord Norway
Following our open ocean crossing, we will be greeted by the dramatic fjord land of Northern Norway. Navigating the narrow and sheltered fjords will give us a change of pace as well as a change of scenery on the final leg of our voyage.
7th August: Arrival in Tromso
We will spend our final day enjoying the scenery of Northern Norway before heading into port in Tromso – “the Paris of the north”. We will moor up for the night in Tromso and enjoy our final evening onboard with a nice dinner and time to swap stories, highlights and pictures from the expedition.
8th August: Leaving the boat
Breakfast will be provided on board with the final chance to swop stories, photos and contact details before either heading home or arranging your own extra days experiencing the vibrant city of Tromso.
Please note that the itinerary above is provided to illustrate the general areas we will visit on the expedition. The exact itinerary that we follow will be chosen each day by your skipper in order to make the best use of the weather conditions. Since we operate with just a small number of guests onboard, we can tailor the areas that we explore based on your interests.
Base layer – 2x warm thermal tops + thermal leggings
Mid layer – 2x fleece type mid layers + mid layer trousers
Light waterproof shell (waterproof hiking type jacket and trousers) – for exploring ashore
Down jacket – a down (or synthetic alternative) jacket, the warmer the better
Gillet – optional but a really versatile mid layer, down or synthetic down are great
Hats – 2x warm wool hats, ear flaps are great
Waterproof hat – a waterproof hat or cap (eg Sealskins)
Neck warmer – 2x ‘Buff’ style neck warmers
Gloves – one waterproof pair (ski or fishing type) + 2x thinner fleece liner / spare pairs
Socks – 2x pairs of warm socks for sailing + hiking socks for exploring ashore
Boots – Wellington type boots. These are needed not just for sailing but also for getting ashore from the rib where you may need to stop into mid-calf depth water. They don’t need to be expensive or sailing specific, but they should be waterproof with good grip
Hiking shoes / boots – suitable for exploring on rough or wet terrain ashore
Rucsac – for on land exploring
Underwear – a couple of sets of comfortable underwear
Swimwear – you might not fancy a dip in the Arctic waters but a local hot tub can be a treat that you don’t want to miss out on
Camera, batteries, memory cards etc – it is possible to charge camera batteries onboard but it is a good idea to bring spare batteries and lots of memory card space
Entertainment – books, music etc for rest time
Toiletries – basic wash kit with travel-sized bottles
Eye mask and earplugs – can make sleeping easier in the midnight sun
Any personal medications that you need – ensure you have enough to last the whole trip
Dry bags – recommended for keeping any electrical kit in and for taking things ashore
Head torch – ideally with a red light function
Sunscreen – 24hr daylight can be relentless
A set of ‘shore clothes’ for travelling in / rest days in town
Passport / visas
Credit/debit card for shore-based activities or travel emergencies
Kitbag – this must be squashy type (not a suitcase) a large barrel type bag is ideal