Arrive in Helsinki, FinlandDay 1
Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.
Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard & EmbarkDay 2
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, as part of the transfer package. As you embark this afternoon, you’ll hope to enjoy great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this seaside town.
Exploring SpitsbergenDays 3 to 6
Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, rewards you with austere beauty and opportunities to spot its abundant wildlife. Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and tundra in full bloom, with walrus, polar bears and Svalbard reindeer amongst your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see Arctic terns, skuas, Brünnich’s guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes and ivory gulls. If conditions permit, you could sail within 10 degrees of the North Pole!
CruisingDays 7 and 8
While sailing south through the historic Greenland Sea toward Jan Mayen, your Expedition Team will keep you informed with presentations about the history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds “on the wing.” The team will also keep a lookout for the whales that frequent the waters here.
Exploring Jan MayenDays 9 and 10
North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, the mysterious Jan Mayen rises from the depths of the North Atlantic. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants. Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as we approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 meters) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. If we’re fortunate, we may get a close- up view of the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise along the coast of the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Exploring Scoresby Sund, GreenlandDays 11 to 15
Your tour of Scoresby Sund—the largest, deepest and, some say, most beautiful multi-armed fjord system in the world— will offer plenty of opportunities to explore ashore or by Zodiac cruise. At one moment you’ll be stepping back in time, exploring the remains of ancient Thule settlements with views of icebergs and towering mountains rising straight out of the sea, and the next you’ll be immersed in contemporary culture, meeting the locals and gaining an appreciation for their way of life in Ittoqqortoormiit, East Greenland’s northernmost community. At the mouth of the sound, this remote settlement boasts a blend of traditional and modern lifestyles and is geographically closer to Iceland than it is to its nearest Greenlandic neighbors to the southwest. Here, you’ll have the chance to support local Inuit artisans by purchasing unique handicrafts. In terms of wildlife, grazing muskoxen are a possible sight, as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population lives in this region. Polar bear sightings are also a remote possibility, as are encounters with more elusive Arctic wildlife, such as the Arctic hare. Seabirds to watch out for nesting atop the steep cliffs of the sound include little auks, fulmars and guillemots.
CruisingDays 16 and 17
As we sail south, the Denmark Strait is your pathway toward Iceland. Take in a presentation, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a film— there are many things to do during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.
Depart Reykjavik, IcelandDay 18
You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
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