Four Arctic Islands
Next DepartureJul. 19, 2023
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, Kayaking, Lectures, Trekking, Zodiac
This epic journey combining the four islands of Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland and Iceland showcases the uniqueness and splendor of Arctic nature.
The goal of this Albatros expedition is to sail as close as possible to the pack ice stretching from Svalbard to the North Pole; the polar bear's favorite summer residence.
How far north we reach and our exact route will depend on the ice conditions, which change year to year. However, many amazing locations along the west coast of Svalbard are kept navigable by the warm Gulf Stream, ensuring access to land. On our way to Greenland we will cruise along the pack ice before continuing to the enigmatic Jan Mayen island, Earth's northernmost active volcano. From here we sail onwards to Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) and the deep fascinating fjord system beyond. Crossing the Denmark Strait, we arrive in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik before disembarking right in the city center.
Enjoy the immense beauty of the Arctic on this adventure cruise among whales, walrus, polar bears and millions of sea birds. Experience high summer in the Arctic onboard the newly built Ocean Albatros - one of the few ice-class expedition ships built to withstand the Arctic pack ice.
Facts about Four Arctic Islands
Upon arriving to Longyearbyen, a short city tour will introduce you to the fascinating history and contemporary society in the Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.
Ocean Albatros 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.
KONGSFJORDEN: NY ÅLESUND AND LILLIEHÖÖK GLACIER.
During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we have passed Prins Karls Forland and arrived in magnificent Kongsfjord. 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 spectacular, and the scientific projects are as fascinating as the history of the town. The Captain will bring the Ocean Albtros alongside if possible, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.
In the afternoon, we continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, we may do a Zodiac cruise along the front of the Lilliehöök Glacier… or enjoy a lecture onboard from our expert Lecture team.
With some Arctic luck we will be able to navigate past the magnificent scenery in the bay of Fjortende Juli, where the glacier Fjortende Juli-breen calves into the fjord. A fitting end to a day full of scenic views and Arctic wildlife.
SMEERENBURG AND YTRE NORSKØYA
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, once Svalbard's most important industry.
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow we’ll make a landing on Ytre Norskøya, where whalers once kept watch for prey.
CRUISING TOWARDS THE PACK ICE, POLAR BEAR COUNTRY
During the night the ship will steer northwards towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How close, only time and weather will tell, but the main target for us is to reach the ‘ice edge’. 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 preferred prey - the seals - reside. Bears unfortunate enough to not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain themselves on berries, eggs and whatever dead meat they can find. A hard life indeed!
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, Arctic egology, culture or a variety of other subjects can be enjoyed on board while we look out for wildlife. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged.
At the end of the day, we will start cruising across the Greenland Sea towards Jan Mayen.
WE MAKE A SHORE LANDING BY ZODIACS ON JAN MAYEN, AT THE FOOT OF THE 2200 METER BEERENBERG VOLCANO
During the morning, listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature, or join us out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales as we approach the unique island of Jan Mayen.
The active volcanic island of Jan Mayen lies approximately equidistant between Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. If not exactly in the middle of the Greenland Sea, it is located precisely on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the reason for its volcanic existence. And enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog hovering over it. Jan Mayen is part of the Kingdom of Norway, and the volcanic Mt. Beerenberg is one of Norway’s 300 summits above 2,000 meters.
The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defense. We will try to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus we board the Zodiacs, to continue our voyage west.
SCOUTING THE PACK ICE, ITTOQQORTOORMIIT AND THE FJORDS OF SCOREBYSUND, NORTH EAST GREENLAND
During our approach to Greenland, we will scout the coast carefully looking for wildlife along the pack ice, after which we cruise into Scoresbysund - site of some of the most unique and unspoiled nature in Northeast Greenland. We will aim to make landings at Bear Island and Cape Brewster, and to visit Ittoqqortoormiit, the only settlement in the Scoresbysund region. With only 470 inhabitants, it is one of the most isolated towns in Greenland, if not the world, only accessible by helicopter and boat during a short window in midsummer.
The town is located at the mouth of the longest fjord in the world, Scoresbysund. We will explore this magnificent fjord system, and hope to be able to offer kayaking, Zodiac cruises and landings on shore as weather and ice conditions permit.
BLOSSEVILLE COAST. AT SEA TOWARDS ICELAND
Possibly the most dramatic coast outside of Antarctica, the Blosseville is guarded by Greenland’s highest mountains and steepest fjords – and a belt of pack ice which could once deny access to adventurous sailor for years. The recent decade has had warmer summers with much less ice, which enables ice strengthened vessels such as ours to venture along the coast, on lookout for stunning wildlife, abandoned Inuit settlements and otherworldly landscapes.
On our last day of this remarkable voyage we set course for the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík.
REYKJAVÍK ARRIVAL AND DISEMBARKATION
In the morning our captain manouvers our ship alongside the port of Reykjavik. It’s time to say farewell to the fellow travellers and the crew of the Ocean Albatros and begin the homeward journey.
- 11-day/10-night cruise with Ocean Albatros in shared exterior double stateroom with private bathroom
- Charter flight Oslo-Longyearbyen.
- English-speaking Expedition Team.
- Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises as per itinerary, when conditions permit
- Guided walk in Ny Ålesund and Ittiqqortoormiit
- Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
- Full board on ship
- Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
- Taxes, tariffs and AECO fees
- Guiding and lectures by our experienced Expedition Leader and Team
- Special photo workshops
- Welcome and farewell cocktail parties
- Digital visual journal link after the voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
- Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
- Meals not on board the ship
- Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
- Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
- Travel & cancellation insurances
- Personal expenses
- Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’
Please keep in mind, the itinerary and outdoor activities during each voyage are solely dependent on weather and operational conditions to ensure the safety and quality of experience for our guests. The route and shore landings will be determined by the Captain and Expedition Leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings. Albatros Expeditions reserves the right to modify the landings and locations visited during a voyage based on local weather, sea and climate conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all our guests and staff. Our trips are expeditionary in nature, and thus changes to timings are commonplace due to the environment we operate in, as well as wildlife opportunities and locations encountered.