Low Experience Pre-requisite / Lower Focus on Skills Training / TRAK Kayak PROVIDED
Take the next step or the first step in developing your expedition skills to empower your next trips. Join TRAK in Svalbard, Norway for this spectacular sea kayaking and sailing expedition including hiking and viewing the aurora borealis! This journey focuses on the versatility of north Spitsbergen’s visually stunning landscapes, vast spans of sea ice, and many opportunities to spot whales, polar bears, seabirds, walruses, and other such wildlife.
We are proud to be partnering with the leader in polar expeditions for this voyage. Oceanwide Expeditions are the pioneers of ship-based expeditions, and get you deep into the heart of this otherworldly environment. One thing that we love about this trip is that participants do not have to be paddlers. Friends, loved ones and partners may participate even if they have no desire to paddle. Everyone is welcome on the combination expedition of sailing, sea kayaking and hiking.
Place your refundable deposit of US$1,000 per-person and the TRAK team will guide you through the registration process, logistics, and terms and conditions.
Ship accommodations range from shared berths to private rooms. Please review the options and prices here.
Duration: 8 Days
Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
What we're going to do
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
This high latitude adventure will take you into the Arctic during the season of the summer Solstice. It is here that we find steep mountain ridges, remote islands, and a wealth of hiking opportunities. Hiking will be combined with a basic sea kayak skills progression to elevate your kayaking game. These areas provide the ultimate wilderness experience, as ideal for exploration by foot, by kayak and by ship.
- Day 0 - Arrive in Longyearbyen, Norway
Day 1: Largest Town, Biggest Island - You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
- Day 2-7: North Spitsbergen’s natural beauty, wildlife, and pack-ice - This voyage will take you into the pack ice and along the remote shorelines of rugged north Spitsbergen. Places we might visit include the following:
On the north coast of Spitsbergen, you can enjoy this expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.
Depending on the weather and sea ice, we could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this precipitous glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent us from sailing here early in the season, we may sail along the west coast of Spitsbergen.
Highlights of Hinlopen
We aim to sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, we may attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here we may see reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses. We can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.
The Seven Islands
The northernmost point of the voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here we may reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.
Sailing the continental shelf
While retracing our route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, we sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.
Forlandsundet, St. Johns Fjord, or Alkhornet
Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet. Alternatively, we might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.
- Day 8: There and Back Again - Even great adventures must eventually come to an end. The vessel arrives back in Longyearbyen in the early morning, and bus transportation to the airport will be provided.
Meet Your Guides
Oceanwide Expeditions + TRAK Pilots
Pioneers of ship-based expeditions, inventors of Basecamp Antarctica, and the first company to take travelers to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen. With a fleet of ice-strengthened vessels, they will get you deep into the heart of this otherworldly environment.
It is our goal to take you off the ship and into the action as often as possible. Our sea routes are short and direct, allowing for maximum shore time, and our activities are designed to accommodate a wide range of experience and fitness levels.
What you'll learn
This amazing program includes a wildlife and natural history focus with asea kayak day trip excursions, should you choose to participate in the kayaking segment of this trip. Hands-on experience and instruction and the opportunity to discover the best ways to explore this type of cold water environment by kayak.
- Beginner and intermediate sea kayak skills progression with TRAK kayaks
- Route planning and basic sea kayak navigation
- Expedition leadership and seamanship skills
- Cold water tactics including self and assisted rescues
What's included in the tour
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by TRAK kayak or zodiac
- Sea Kayak and Risk Management Skills Training with certified instructors / guides and TRAK pilot mentors
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Free use of snow shoes and expedition-related equipment
- Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
- Accommodations before and after trip
- Medical insurance
- Passport and visa expenses
- Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)