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Various dates available

Spitsbergen Arctic Expedition

From £4825 per person

Deposit 25%. Balance due 12 weeks before departure
Experience Svalbard in a way that few others have done. Get close to nature and wildlife, both on sea and on land, with this very special sailing expedition and nature experience.
Clear
Pay a 25% deposit per item
Suited to
Couples, Individuals, Groups
Difficulty
No sailing experience is required, however, you are encouraged to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat
Nights onboard
11
Vessel type
Valiente Steel Hulled Expedition Boat
Vessel length
21 metres
Skipper
Yes
Berth Style
6 Large Cabins
Insurance Required
Yes

Spitsbergen Arctic Expedition

Duration: 11 Nights from 28 July - 8 August 2024 or 9 - 20 August 2024

Price: 63,300 NOK / £4,825.00 per person*

*Trips are priced in the operator's local currency. The sterling amount shown is a guide only and the amount you pay in sterling will change with currency fluctuations.

Experience Svalbard in a way that few others have done. Get close to nature and wildlife, both on sea and on land, with this very special sailing expedition and nature experience.

On this expedition, we sail clockwise around the whole of Spitsbergen, with the sun and with the current. On the northern side of the archipelago, we go ashore on Nordaustlandet, before sailing through the Hinlopen Strait, around Barents Island, and into the Storfjorden. The program is packed with highlights and we are passing by many great places.

arctic

Svalbard is wild and fierce in its own way! As we sail around Spitsbergen, you will have a lot of time to dwell in nature and let the landscape sink in. We have the surroundings mostly to ourselves this far from Longyearbyen and what can be called civilization on Svalbard. With the sailboat, we can enter small lagoons and sheltered harbours, places you may have read about in old expedition tales. On Svalbard there is midnight sun until August 11, so there will be daylight 24 hours a day.

During the 850 nautical miles in varied landscapes, there are good opportunities to see polar bears, whales, seals and bustling birdlife. You will have unique encounters with the beautiful and uninhabited arctic landscape, that will get less desolate and uninhabited as soon as you start listening and take your time to look around and become at one with it.

If this is your first time in the Arctic, you will be left with a profound sense of awe and wonder for a long time. And if you've been to Svalbard before, this trip will give you so many new and exciting experiences that it will be worth a new trip to the archipelago.

walrus

It's not just any sailboat we use on this trip, but our 70-foot expedition boat Valiente. She is a very steady and comfortable boat built in steel, made for sailing in arctic waters. The boat is well-equipped and has a large outdoor area, a wheelhouse and a 360-degree-view lounge.

Why You’ll Love This Trip

  • Sail through stunning fjords, witness towering glaciers, and encounter mesmerising wildlife, including whales, seals, and the holy grail of wildlife sightings – polar bears.
  • Experience the magic of the midnight sun, where daylight lasts 24 hours a day, adding a touch of enchantment to your expedition.
  • Explore remote locations off the beaten track, venturing into hidden lagoons and sheltered harbours. Go ashore for walks and beach bonfires.
  • Visit walrus colonies and one of the most beautiful places on Svalbard – the inlet of Kongsfjorden.
  • Stop off at Ny-Ålesund, the world's northernmost settlement and see what it's like to live in this harsh environment
  • Celebrate with champagne at the northernmost point of our journey
  • Gain a deeper appreciation for the Arctic's rich cultural heritage. Visit historical sites, where your guide will regal you with stories of early whaling. The Arctic preserves everything!
  • Connect with like-minded explorers and create friendships and memories that will last a lifetime

Who The Trip Is For

  • Adventurous enthusiasts who crave thrilling experiences in the great outdoors. Explore the rugged landscapes, encounter wildlife up close, and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Arctic.
  • Travellers that are drawn to off-the-beaten-path destinations and yearn for extraordinary adventures. If you have already done a safari or visited iconic sights like the pyramids of Giza, this is the next place to check off your bucket list.
  • Travellers who are not scared of a little bit of cold. Our vessel is cosy but when on deck and on land, you will need some winter wear. We are in the Arctic after all.
  • Travellers who want to see the world in a sustainable way. The trip emphasises sustainability in every possible way, both on and off the boat.
  • Those who embrace the flexibility of ocean travel. While we will attempt to reach as many destinations as possible, the final route will be determined during the trip depending on the weather conditions.

 

Day 1: Get to know the boat, the gear and the other participants

We meet onboard the boat in the harbour of Longyearbyen at 14.00. We start with getting to know each other, before we go through the plan for the week. We get to know the boat and the equipment, and finish packing provisions and equipments. The life onboard requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures onboard, for sailing and emergency situations. In Longyearbyen there is midnight sun this time of year, and we will make the most out of the afternoon and evening and set sail with course towards the world’s northernmost settlement, Ny-Ålesund.

Day 2: The world’s northernmost settlement New Ålesund

If we are lucky, we will see a walrus colony already this morning in the Forland Strait. A little farther north we get to the inlet of Kongsfjorden where we find the research town of Ny-Ålesund. Here we moor for a trip on land. Ny-Ålesund is also known as the starting point for Roald Amundsen’s journey to the north pole with the airship “Norway”. The Kongsfjord itself is considered one of the most beautiful places on Svalbard, so now it’s time to check that the setting on the camera is correct and start snapping the good memories. In the heart of the Kongsfjord there are three pyramidal mountains, Dana, Nora and Svea, named after the Scandinavian countries. The mountains and the majestic glaciers in the area make this fjord a truly beautiful sight!

Day 3 – 5: Cultural heritage in the desolated north

We continue north, to the north-west side of Spitsbergen. Here we sail into the Smeerenburgfjord, an area that has its name from Dutch whalers in the 17th century. There are clearly visible cultural monuments from the activity in “Spekkbyen” (blubber town). All remains from before 1946 are completely protected on Svalbard. We continue onwards to Virgohamna, which also has visible remains from the early whaling, but also carries a lot of polar history from the period this place was used as the starting point for reaching the north pole; both for Swedish Salomon August Andrée’s ballooning, and the attempt by Walter Wellman by airship. Furthermore, we head eastwards and into the fjords on the northern side of Spitsbergen towards Woodfjorden. Here we stop at the Mushamna fishing station for bonfires and stories on land. From here it continues north and we approach the milestone on the trip; 80 degrees north. At our northernmost point, we find both cold champagne and a suitable ice floe from the pole ice for a real celebration! Who will be the first to swim? Then, the journey goes south into the Hinlopen Strait, an area with a lot of water flow and sea life, and with small and large icebergs drifting from the surrounding glaciers. If weather permits, we go ashore and stretch our “sea legs” somewhere in Hinlopen.

Day 6 – 8: With the bow heading south

We are now about halfway and we have course south. We sail through Freemansundet, an area known for many polar bears. Furthermore, we pass the inner parts of Storfjorden, a large and shallow fjord that extends all the way down to the southern parts of Spitsbergen. Along the way, we pass some of the most beautiful, and least visited areas throughout Svalbard. Along the east coast there are several mountains we can climb, especially the Keilhau mountain is a good option with a steep ascend. We are now approaching Sørkapp (south cape), which we have to round before turning northward up the west side and towards Hornsund.

Day 9 – 12: Towards civilization

We spend the last days on board in Hornsund, along the west coast, up towards Isfjorden and Longyearbyen. Hornsund is an incredible beautiful area, with good protection against wind and weather from the sea. A somewhat more inland-like climate makes this a good area for anchoring, and the possibilities for mountain hikes are many. In the fjord, four glaciers meet, and the sight and sound of the glaciers calving into the sea is nothing less than enormous. As we approach Longyearbyen, we pass Isfjord Radio lying at the entrance of the Isfjord, an old radio station which today is an attractive place for accommodation. Inside the Isfjorden, we hopefully have time to a stop at the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; a special place with its own rhythm and atmosphere. The last morning we sail into Longyearbyen, we clean and wash the boat, and check out at 14.00. We encourage everyone to stick around at least until the next day, with accommodation on land, so we can meet for a farewell dinner on land in Longyearbyen this last night.

In Longyearbyen

We recommend everyone that is joining us on a trip to/from Longyearbyen to staying an extra day or two before traveling home/before the trip starts. Longyearbyen is a thriving little Arctic village, with the raw arctic natre It’s always smart to add time for some rest and calmness before and after such a trip, to relax and let the impressions sink in.

The program

The program should be seen as a rough itinerary that we can adapt to the weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to change and improve our itineraries. We will have a dinghy for beach trips and small expeditions, fishing gear for cod, and gear to hike or make bonfires on the beach on all our trips – we are ready for adventure! Are you?

  • Trip experience with a sailboat – experienced and locally familiar skipper/instructor on board
  • Extra co-skipper and guide/crew onboard
  • Our Comfort Package which consists of accommodation onboard in a shared double cabin (bunk or double bed) with a ready-made bed (warm and nice duvets and pillows!)
  • All the food we eat onboard during the trip
  • An environmentally friendly, local, sustainable, unique, exotic and exclusive Norwegian adventure holiday
  • A shared experience and friendship with like-minded adventurers from around the world
  • A lot of time outdoors – raw and honest nature experiences
  • Use of our shared trip equipment: dinghy, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc.
  • All boat-related expenses such as diesel, gas, harbour fees, etc.
  • Personal safety equipment; Helly Hansen inflatable lifejacket
  • Survival Suit and Search and Rescue insurance for everyone on board
  • Teaching, advice, and guidance about boat life and sailing
  • Travel to and from the start/end location
  • Optional meals at cafés/restaurants
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, and similar, or other activities that you/we may come up with along the way
  • Drinks like wine, beer or cider and other luxury (yes, we drink beer and wine on board, bring your own)
  • Travel/cancellation insurance – optional, but recommended

Travel – in general

Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage you to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also allows you to start your holiday in a special way. Cycling, taking the train, or driving a car together can be good options! Feel free to add some extra time before and after your trip, since up north the weather can be unpredictable and might affect your plans!

Travel Longyearbyen

Very few row to Longyearbyen, a few more sail, but most fly. Norwegian and SAS fly to Longyearbyen.

Safety and risk – in general

We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. On board a boat and on trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant are trained quickly enough to be a participant – not a passenger. It contributes to learning, a sense of achievement, and increased safety for all. It’s also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses: you are trained to be one of the crewmembers on board. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.

Safety and risk – expedition

On our expedition trips, we often spend multiple days on sea-crossings, and we sail into areas far from people and with extra risk factors, such as sea ice and unreliable navigations charts. This requires our crew to have extra focus and awareness of the potential situations that might arise. We sail in these areas only in the most optimal seasons, and use only our largest and most sturdy boats, which are both equipped and dimensioned to cope with this type of expedition sailing. We are fully aware that sailing is the safest and most accessible way to visit these very inaccessible places. However, sailing in general, and especially sailing in the Arctic and over the high seas, involves a certain risk that you must be willing to take. Feel free to contact us for a chat and guidance regarding risk.

Level of this trip

This is a trip for people who want to experience the Arctic, and the spectacular landscapes and the unique wildlife Svalbard has to offer! In terms of sailing, this trip is not very difficult, but you must be prepared for both calm winds and sailing in harsher weather. If you are a beginner, we want to make you a seaman/woman as soon as possible, and if you are experienced, you will quickly get more responsibility and greater challenges. The group and crew will be divided into watch teams so that we can learn from each other and help each other out.

Equipment/packing

As with all activities, there is plenty of specialized equipment and clothing for sailing. We do not expect you to buy lots of new equipment to join any of our trips, so, use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, try to purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last. What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered clothing underneath. A pair of higher rubber boots for landings from the dinghy is very nice to have, in addition to slippers to wear below deck. Out on the high seas and in the Arctic, it is cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. We will send you a detailed recommended packing list in good time before departure.

Food and cooking

On our trips you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all aspects of the running of the sailboat. This includes the cooking, where everyone is taking turns in the galley! Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. Before the trip we set up a menu and purchase what is needed. We offer good menus with healthy “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account. During the trip, we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat.

What we expect from you

We want you to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat, whether it is sailing, docking, navigating, looking for whales and icebergs, washing up, cooking, cleaning the boat, or contributing in other ways when required. You will be split into a watch team, with the teams working in rotations of 4 hours on and 8 hours off, with a rotating system to make sure that the night-shifts are divided equally among all watch teams. Our trips require a little work from the participants – and you must be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people get along very well. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least doing things with new people with different personalities than one might be used to, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable stories :)

Life on board and accommodation

Life on board a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate and crowded, which one should be prepared for. On our trips everyone participates in the operation of the sailboat and everyone is considered crew. We would like to get to know you well and hope that you will get to know everyone else on the boat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.

Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. The accommodation is generally in shared cabins, some of which have a double bed and some of which have bunk beds. Figuring out who sleeps where can be a bit of a puzzle, but we do believe we’ve gotten quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.

We have plenty of heating and good food on the boat, but not always abundance of fresh water. This means it will not be possible to shower every day, but more or less every other day we are either in a harbor with fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or enjoy a sauna. A morning swim in the sea is free and is available all year round!

What kind of people join this trip – and how many are we on board?

Many come alone, some travel as couples, and others travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and interesting people you will become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but this isn’t so important to us. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old as long as you want to go on a trip and intend to do your part in making this a great trip for everyone. Most of our participants are usually between 25-55 years old. The number of participants varies from trip to trip, but on these trips we are usually between 6 and 11 people.

Environment and sustainability

In general sailing is an environmentally friendly activity,, and we sail as much as we can and use the engine as little as possible. We encourage crew and participants to travel as environmentally-friendly as possible, and we use local ingredients and resources as much as we can. We also run trips where we collect litter and clean ocean trash from beaches.
Philosophically, we often say that sailing is an exercise in sustainability: we move with the wind and we have limitations on things like water, diesel, electricity and food. In order to run sustainably, knowledge, patience, flexibility, and hard work are required. The same can be said about many other things that one tries to do in a sustainable way.

Fly to Svalbard Airport in Longyearbyen.

Fly from Svalbard Airport in Longyearbyen.

Day 1: Get to know the boat, the gear and the other participants

We meet onboard the boat in the harbour of Longyearbyen at 14.00. We start with getting to know each other, before we go through the plan for the week. We get to know the boat and the equipment, and finish packing provisions and equipments. The life onboard requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures onboard, for sailing and emergency situations. In Longyearbyen there is midnight sun this time of year, and we will make the most out of the afternoon and evening and set sail with course towards the world’s northernmost settlement, Ny-Ålesund.

Day 2: The world’s northernmost settlement New Ålesund

If we are lucky, we will see a walrus colony already this morning in the Forland Strait. A little farther north we get to the inlet of Kongsfjorden where we find the research town of Ny-Ålesund. Here we moor for a trip on land. Ny-Ålesund is also known as the starting point for Roald Amundsen’s journey to the north pole with the airship “Norway”. The Kongsfjord itself is considered one of the most beautiful places on Svalbard, so now it’s time to check that the setting on the camera is correct and start snapping the good memories. In the heart of the Kongsfjord there are three pyramidal mountains, Dana, Nora and Svea, named after the Scandinavian countries. The mountains and the majestic glaciers in the area make this fjord a truly beautiful sight!

Day 3 – 5: Cultural heritage in the desolated north

We continue north, to the north-west side of Spitsbergen. Here we sail into the Smeerenburgfjord, an area that has its name from Dutch whalers in the 17th century. There are clearly visible cultural monuments from the activity in “Spekkbyen” (blubber town). All remains from before 1946 are completely protected on Svalbard. We continue onwards to Virgohamna, which also has visible remains from the early whaling, but also carries a lot of polar history from the period this place was used as the starting point for reaching the north pole; both for Swedish Salomon August Andrée’s ballooning, and the attempt by Walter Wellman by airship. Furthermore, we head eastwards and into the fjords on the northern side of Spitsbergen towards Woodfjorden. Here we stop at the Mushamna fishing station for bonfires and stories on land. From here it continues north and we approach the milestone on the trip; 80 degrees north. At our northernmost point, we find both cold champagne and a suitable ice floe from the pole ice for a real celebration! Who will be the first to swim? Then, the journey goes south into the Hinlopen Strait, an area with a lot of water flow and sea life, and with small and large icebergs drifting from the surrounding glaciers. If weather permits, we go ashore and stretch our “sea legs” somewhere in Hinlopen.

Day 6 – 8: With the bow heading south

We are now about halfway and we have course south. We sail through Freemansundet, an area known for many polar bears. Furthermore, we pass the inner parts of Storfjorden, a large and shallow fjord that extends all the way down to the southern parts of Spitsbergen. Along the way, we pass some of the most beautiful, and least visited areas throughout Svalbard. Along the east coast there are several mountains we can climb, especially the Keilhau mountain is a good option with a steep ascend. We are now approaching Sørkapp (south cape), which we have to round before turning northward up the west side and towards Hornsund.

Day 9 – 12: Towards civilization

We spend the last days on board in Hornsund, along the west coast, up towards Isfjorden and Longyearbyen. Hornsund is an incredible beautiful area, with good protection against wind and weather from the sea. A somewhat more inland-like climate makes this a good area for anchoring, and the possibilities for mountain hikes are many. In the fjord, four glaciers meet, and the sight and sound of the glaciers calving into the sea is nothing less than enormous. As we approach Longyearbyen, we pass Isfjord Radio lying at the entrance of the Isfjord, an old radio station which today is an attractive place for accommodation. Inside the Isfjorden, we hopefully have time to a stop at the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; a special place with its own rhythm and atmosphere. The last morning we sail into Longyearbyen, we clean and wash the boat, and check out at 14.00. We encourage everyone to stick around at least until the next day, with accommodation on land, so we can meet for a farewell dinner on land in Longyearbyen this last night.

In Longyearbyen

We recommend everyone that is joining us on a trip to/from Longyearbyen to staying an extra day or two before traveling home/before the trip starts. Longyearbyen is a thriving little Arctic village, with the raw arctic natre It’s always smart to add time for some rest and calmness before and after such a trip, to relax and let the impressions sink in.

The program

The program should be seen as a rough itinerary that we can adapt to the weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to change and improve our itineraries. We will have a dinghy for beach trips and small expeditions, fishing gear for cod, and gear to hike or make bonfires on the beach on all our trips – we are ready for adventure! Are you?

As with all activities, there is plenty of specialised equipment and clothing for sailing. You are not expected to buy lots of new equipment to join any of our trips, so, use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, try to purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last. What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered clothing underneath.

Some jackets may not be waterproof enough, or might not perform well in saltwater, so you might want to consider purchasing or renting a set of “oilskins” to use on the wettest days. Even in summer, it can be cold at sea, so bring both swimwear and warm clothing.

You will receive a detailed recommended packing list in good time before departure.

Packing

  • Pack like a sailor; in a soft bag or backpack, NOT in a rigid suitcase
  • Pack as little as possible, but bring what you need!
  • The fewer items you bring, the faster you sail, and the less time you spend fooling around with your gear

Adventure-wear

  • Woollen underwear – shirt and long johns/zip longs (bring two pairs so you have spare)
  • Woollen socks (multiple pairs) and woollen soles (bring two pairs so you have spare)
  • Woollen scarf/buff/high neck and hat (preferably warm and windproof)
  • Mittens or gloves preferably with wind or water-resistant covers
  • Woollen sweater, preferably a turtle-neck
  • Warm pants, preferably multi-layered with warmer materials. (For use on the deck or while sailing)
  • Warm winter jacket – down jacket or preferably Primaloft (as they can handle water)
  • “Shore” clothing for exploring towns
  • Sea/sailing/rain/rubber boots, preferably winter-style. Bring some big enough so that they breathe even with woollen socks and woollen soles
  • Light shoes/sandals/crocs that breathe well. (For use indoors and on deck in nice weather)
  • Trainers/deck shoes (no black-soled shoes please – they mark the deck)
  • Sailwear/oilskin – jacket and pants (we rent out/sell good quality oilskins at reasonable prices, see separate information)
  • Sailing gloves (not a must) and here you can also use skiing gloves or rubber/fishing gloves with wool liners

Other equipment

  • Sunglasses (polarised lenses are ideal, but not essential)
  • Sunscreen (water-resistant, SPF 30 or higher)
  • Water bottle(s), minimum 0,75 – 1 litre, hydration reservoir (Camelbak)
  • Small washing cloth and soap
  • Towel and swimming gear
  • Flask (insulated bottle) for hot water
  • A head torch (preferably one with a dimming function/red (night) light)
  • Walking boots, shoes for onshore, and trainers with good grip
  • Sea sickness and personal medication
  • Camera
  • We have enough life vests for everyone, but if you have a vest of your own that you want to use, then bring it! Make sure to unscrew the gas cylinder before checking in your bag at the airport

Electronics

  • Onboard the boats there are USB (USB-B ‘regular’ USB, no USB-C) outlets for charging phones when we sail. 220V outlets are available when we’re docked
  • We have cellular coverage most of the time in Mainland Norway

Note: This is a recommended packing list

Kraken Travel