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Expedition Journal I Natural Wonders I 31st May – 8th June 2023

Expedition Journal I Natural Wonders of Svalbard Micro Cruise I 31st May – 8th June 2023

Voyage

Natural Wonders of Svalbard Micro Cruise

Date

31st May – 8th June 2023

Ship

MV Kinfish

Expedition Team

Virgil Reglioni & Jon Fuhrmann

31st May 2023

Welcome on board!

The expedition begins at 4.00pm from the port of Longyearbyen, and we are thrilled for the adventure ahead. As we board the ship in Longyearbyen, the crew greet us warmly and efficiently conducts the safety and welcome briefings, ensuring that we feel secure and informed.

At 04.45pm, we bid farewell to Longyearbyen as the ship set sail towards Nordenskjold Breen. We find ourselves drawn to the front deck, eager to witness the stunning views that lay ahead. We have a nice viewing of Petunia and the open drift ice.

As we continue our journey along the western side of Billefjorden, we watch from the railings, taking in the panoramic scenes unfolding before us. Eventually, we make our way towards Dikson, and the ship drops anchor near the fast ice for the night.

RV Kinfish in Svalbard

1st June 2023

We kick-start the day by departing Dikson at around 9.30am for the Ekman fast ice edge. As we sail through the morning, our eyes are peeled for signs of wildlife. And guess what? We spot a polar bear about 3km away on the fast ice. Although it is quite far, the excitement was real.

We continue our journey to Borebukta, where the real adventure awaits us in the afternoon. We hop into Zodiac and embark on a cruise in front of Nansensbreen along the fast ice for a total distance of 12.3km. Our Zodiac cruise takes us to a walrus haulout, where we land and spend about an hour observing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. We maintain a respectful distance, but witnessing them in person is a truly remarkable experience. As the evening approaches, it is time to return to the ship.

We set our course toward Lilliehookbreen, looking forward to the evening sail and the wonders that await us there.

Walrus Haulout Svalbard

2nd June 2023

We arrive at Lillihook Glacier early at 7:00am. We waste no time and launch our Zodiacs and cruise the bay from west to east. The cruise lasts for 3 hours, covering a distance of 18km. Along the way, we are treated to the sight of adorable Harbour Seals.

After returning to the ship to enjoy lunch, we set sail towards Tinayrebreen and spot an Arctic fox. As the ship heads back south, we have a delightful dinner on board. Later in the evening, at around 8:30pm, two Zodiac boats are launched again, this time towards the entrance of the fjord where a puffin colony awaits us. We marvel at the charming seabirds before landing by a majestic bird cliff on the northern side. We have approximately 30 minutes to explore the area before embarking on a Zodiac cruise toward the glacier front.

At 10:30pm, we return to the ship, our hearts full of wonder from the day’s adventures.The ship sails toward the North/Sørgate as the night settles in.

Zodiac cruise Lillihook Glacier

3rd June 2023

In the morning, we arrive at the Sørgate entrance around 6:30am. The channel is filled with loads of drifting ice, and the currents are strong. The crew manages us to navigate us through, and we sail on smooth waters in front of Bjørnfjorden. Excitement fills the air as the Zodiac boats are lowered into the water, and we embark on a 2 hour and 45 minute cruise, covering a distance of 11.3km. 

In the afternoon, we set sail towards the North, heading to Fuglefjorden. Along the way, we stop in front of a fast ice area and are treated to the sight of an Arctic fox gracefully crossing the ice with the backdrop of the glacier.

Continuing our journey north, we sail between the indre/ytre Norskoya and Klovigen, reaching denser pack ice. Our evening sail took us towards the entrance of Rødfjorden.

As the day comes to an end, both our guide and the Expedition Leader take turns on bear watch, keeping a keen eye out for any potential sightings. The ice is teeming with life, with ringed seals and harp seals dotting the icy expanse.

Arctic fox Svalbard

4th June 2023

In the morning, we cruise around the pack ice while keeping a good lookout for polar bears. At around 4:25am, we spot a polar bear on the pack ice, located at approximately 80.7 degrees latitude. Although it is quite a distance, around 2 km away, we can see its tracks clearly imprinted on the ice.

We continue cruising through the pack ice. In the afternoon, we reach a large, thick ice floe that spans a few square kilometers, located at approximately 80.00 degrees latitude. The crew maneuver the ship, getting the bow of the ship in. Guests are provided with survival suits to take the rare opportunity to swim in the Arctic waters. The frigid waters awaken our senses and remind us of the power of the Arctic environment. It is an unforgettable moment.

Polar Plunge pack ice edge

5th June 2023

A new day begins in Kongsfjorden, and our day is off to an exciting start. As we gaze out over the fjord, we are delighted to spot minke whales. We cruise along the fast ice, in the north of Blomstrandaloya. The next stop on our itinerary is Ny Alesund, the most northerly research town on Earth. From 10:45am until 1:00pm, we have the opportunity to explore this unique settlement, immersing ourselves in its history and scientific significance.

In the afternoon, our adventure continues as we set sail towards the fast ice near Conwaybreen. Anchoring near the south side of OssiansarsXellet, we prepare to embark on a Zodiac cruise. We explored Raudvika and its fast ice, all along Ossian Sars, before making our way back to the ship. The anchorage north of Kronebreen provides a tranquil setting for the night.

We gather on the outer deck for a delightful dinner barbecue as the evening approaches. With the weather on our side, we savour our meal while basking in the picturesque surroundings.

At 9:30pm, the ship sets its course toward Bellsund.

Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard

6th June 2023

We begin our day with a ship cruise through the waters of Bellsund and Van Mijenfjorden. From the deck, we admire the rugged landscapes and keep our eyes on the lookout for any wildlife that might appear. In the afternoon, our adventure continues as we set sail towards Axeloya.

At 9:30pm, our Zodiacs are launched. Our destination is Bamsebu, a historical site of Arctic exploration. We land ashore and explore the area, immersing ourselves in the history and stories of those who came before us. As the evening progresses, the ship sets sail toward our next destination, Tryghamna.

Cabin Svalbard

7th June 2023

We wake up to the peaceful surroundings of Tryghamna, where we have arrived at 6.00am. The day kicks off with a ship cruise that lasts all morning, offering us panoramic views of Ymerbukta, the Nansenbreen fast ice, and Borebreen.

As we sail toward Nordenkjoldbreen, the excitement grows as we catch sight of our third polar bear of the trip though it is quite far in the distance.

After a full day of exploration, our ship turns towards Longyearbyen. As we dock at 9.00am, we reflect on the incredible experiences and sights we have encountered throughout our journey.

Glacier Svalbard

Wildlife Report

June 01, 2023

Ekmanfjorden
Polar Bear about 3km away on the fast ice

Nansenbreen
Landing at a Walrus Haulout

June 02, 2023

Lillihook Glacier
Harbour Seals

Tinayrebreen
Arctic Fox

14th of July Glacier
Puffin Colony

June 03, 2023

Fuglefjorden
Arctic Fox on the ice with glacier ice in the background

Rødfjorden
Loads of Ringed Seals and Harp Seals

June 04, 2023

Pack Ice
Polar Bear on the pack ice, around 2km away with great tracks on the ice and an Ivory Gull just before which lead us to the Bear

June 05, 2023

Kongsfjorden
Minkie Whales

June 07, 2023

Nordenskjoldbreen
Our third Polar Bear far in the distance

Itinerary

23-SVA-03 Expedition Report Map

May 31, 2023

Longyearbyen, Nordenskjoldbreen, western side of Billefjorden

June 01, 2023

Dikson, Ekman, Borebukta, Nansenbreen

June 02, 2023

Lillihook Glacier, Tinayrebreen, 14th of July Glacier

June 03, 2023

Sørgate, Bjornfjorden, Fuglefjorden, Rødfjorden

June 04, 2023

Pack Ice

June 05, 2023

Kongsfjorden, Blomstrandaloya, Ny-Ålesund, Ossian Sars, Kronebreen

June 06, 2023

Bellsund, Van Mijenfjord, Bamsebu

June 07, 2023

Tryghamna, Ymerbukta, Nansenbreen, Borebreen, Nordenskjoldbreen, Longyearbyen

Sea Ice Charts

Sea ice chart 31 May Svalbard
Sea ice chart 8 June Svalbard

Thank you for exploring with us!

Zodiac cruise Svalbard

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