Expedition Journal I Natural Wonders of Svalbard Micro Cruise I 31st May – 8th June 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 01, 2023
Polar Bear about 3km away on the fast ice
Landing at a Walrus Haulout
June 02, 2023
14th of July Glacier
June 03, 2023
Arctic Fox on the ice with glacier ice in the background
Loads of Ringed Seals and Harp Seals
June 04, 2023
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
June 07, 2023
Our third Polar Bear far in the distance
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
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
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