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TRAK Tour - Spitsbergen Expedition: June 28 - July 7, 2023

Take a cruise around Spitsbergen and explore the icy waters of the North Atlantic. This special expedition offers you the chance to catch site of whales, reindeer, Arctic foxes, walruses, seals, and the star attraction, the polar bear.

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.

This is a great opportunity for anyone to join us and try a TRAK 2.0 kayak before you buy. It's like an in-depth immersive test-drive! You'll get a chance to learn about the benefits of this modern skin-on-frame kayak and advance your paddling skills at the same time.

  • Country: Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway
  • Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
  • Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate

What we're going to do

The Northern Norway coastline is renowned for its beauty - a forested terrain contoured with rugged mountains and vast fjords that has twice been voted the best travel destination in the world by National Geographic. And it’s not just during the summer months that Norway shows off its splendours, but the winter as well: the mountains are capped with snow, the sun hangs heavy on the skyline, and everything is embraced in a lustrous coat of frost. 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 sail.

 

Tour Itinerary

Expedition Plan:

  • 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: Cruising Krossfjorden
    Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.

    In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).

  • Day 3: The massive Monaco Glacier
    Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this 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 sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

  • Day 4 – 5: Stop at the Seven Islands
    The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you 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.

    When the edge of this sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), you can spend a second day in this area. Alternatively (mostly in July) you may turn to Sorgfjord, where you have the chance to find a herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th-century whalers. A nature walk here can bring you close to families of ptarmigans, and the opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

  • Day 6: Highlights of Hinlopen
    Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals as well as polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. As with Liefdefjorden, you can take an alternate west Spitsbergen route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you then view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. Near Torrelneset you can also visit the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third-largest ice cap. Here you may encounter walruses during a coastline hike over the area’s raised beaches.

  • Day 7: Barentsøya’s many bounties
    The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

  • Day 8: Land of the Pointed Mountains
    You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

  • Day 9: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history
    Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

  • Day 10: There and back again
    Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

    Meet Your Guides

    Oceanwide Expeditions + Two (2) 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, we 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.

    Sign up for an orientation call for more info!  

    Reviews

    Chelsea Josue

    “It was very exciting to be around such a culture of people and find myself on the open waters of the wild pacific coast with such an inviting and welcoming group, in these amazing high-performance kayaks. Never in my wildest dreams would those few basic skills that we learned on the first day, would progress to where we went today.”

    Chelsea Josue

    Natalie Kelly

    “That was really fun. He just broke it down… It’s funny when you have someone take the time to go through things that might be natural. He broke down the surf process into little bitty pieces that made me way more comfortable. I would have never just dove in and done that on my own.”

    Natalie Kelly


    Where we're going

    Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway
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      What you'll learn

      This amazing program includes a wildlife and natural history focus, sail expedition with sea 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

      We'll provide everything you need once the tour starts, until it ends. You may want to bring your favourite PFD and paddle, and if you have a TRAK kayak already, bring it with you and save.

      • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
      • 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

      Not included

      • 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)
      June 28 - July 7, 2023

      Still have questions?

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