Climate: The warm Gulf Stream has a big influence on the climate of the west coast of Spitsbergen. Since the temperature is rather mild we will see varied flora and fauna. In the summer the temp. will be around + 6° C. The east coast is influenced by the northerly polar winds and it’s much colder. Because of the low atmospheric humidity the temp. usually feels less cold.
Flora and fauna: On the tundras and cliffs we will see all kind of mosses and flowers. The cliffs are also a favorite breeding ground for sea birds like puffins and glaucous gulls, etc
The tundras are the natural habitat for polar foxes and reindeer. Along the coastline we will meet walruses and seals. The most well known arctic animal is of course the polar bear. Normally they stay on/near the ice pack, but in past years polar bears have been seen near Longyearbyen, our harbour where the Anne-Margaretha starts and ends. That’s why all excursions will include armed guides!
The trips are in June, the period when we will see a lot of breeding birds and the first flowers.
An example of a Spitsbergentrip with the Anne-Margaretha:
(This timetable is in draft form! Since we are completely dependant on the weather circumstances and the ice drift, the program may change. We’ll make as many landings as possible, but the captain and crew are responsable for the safety of everybody. Safety over all!)
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Arrive and board the Anne-Margarethe. We will show you the ship and do a safety check with all of you. Then we will brief you about the next several days. Depending of the arriving moment of all the guests you may still have time to visit the Svalbard Museum which has an interesting collection from the history of Spitsbergen.
Day 2: Isfjord, Alkhornet, Trygghamna
We sail to the north of the Isfjord and set course for Alkhornet, a sea bird cliff with a large colony of Kittiwakes. We continue to Trygghamna (fjord) and look for a sheltered anchorage to go ashore to visit the remains of English and Russian stations.
Next days:We leave Trygghamna and sail, depending on the direction of the wind, either to Brucebukta (Prins Karls Forland), or to Eidembukta. There are good walking possibilities. Prins Karls Forland is a nature reserve, where we can see seals, walruses (Poolepynten) and thousands of birds.
Via the Forlandsundet we will sail to the north. The end of this sound is small and rather shallow, so we’ll design the program depending of the eventual ice drift. We continue via the Kongsfjorden to Ny Ålesund, a village with the most northerly post office in the world! This village is a centre for polar research and a former starting point for North Pole expeditions such as Amundsen and Nobile) The birds here ( some species of geese and eiders) are very tame. You may also see some reindeer. (Entree fee Nkr. 100)
We continue sailing north where we will visit the Krossfjorden and the 14th of July-Glacier where there is a breeding site for Brünnich’s Guillemots, Auks and Puffins. Also there’s rather rich vegetation with many species of flowers. With some luck you’ll see the polar fox.
We sail further north, reaching 80º latitude! Compared to latitudes in Antarctica: we would have reached “just” 65º south…. Then we will proceed to one of the most spectacular fjords here: the Magdalenafjord, which we will visit, of course. After sailing around we will look for a sheltered anchorage at Trinity Haven. If possible, we will make a landing.
Leaving the Magdalenafjord, we sail to Smeerenburgfjor, Fair Haven and then to Ytre Norskøya (øya= island). Here we will find the remains of the Dutch whalers, such as blubber ovens, graves etc. Also we can find bird cliffs with breeding Artic Skuas and Common Eiders. This point was a former lookout point for Dutch whalers.
Now we set course for the Woodfjord, Liefdefjord and Reinsdyrflya. Over 1000 reindeer reside on this vast tundra. This is also the place to spot Red-throated Divers and King Eiders. Every year we’ve seen several polar bears in Mushamna (Liefdefjord)!
Then we will proceed to the west again and visit the magnificant Raudfjorden, where there are polar bears, beluga whales and bearded seals.
At that point, we’ll weigh anchor and set course to Smeerenburg, to see, if the weather allows us(!) the last seven ovens of the 17th century Dutch whalers. This little place is on Amsterdam Island.
It’s time to course to the south again and drop anchor near Sarstangen, opposite Prins Karls Forland. If possible we’ll go ashore for a walk.
This is our last sailing trip to the Isfjord and at the end of the day we’ll arrive in Longyearbyen.
Departure day. Say goodbye to the Anne-Margaretha and her crew…
1st. Trip 3-14 June 2014
Price: € 3300 p.p. in a (heated) 2-person cabin
2nd. Trip 16-27 June 2014
Price: € 3300 p.p. in a (heated) 2-person cabin
What to take with you?
We are sailing in the summer, but it’s near the North Pole and the summer temperatures will be between – 6 and + 6 degrees Celcius. If there’s wind it can be chilly.
Recommended Packing List
Besides the normal things, take with you:
– Warm, waterproof clothes. We recommend thermal underwear (polypropylene or wool), fleece or wool sweaters
– Rubber boots (needed for landings!) Don’t take too tight boots. You’ll need to wear 2 pairs of socks underneath. Simple boots with a shaft of at least 28 cm high and soft non-slippery soles will be fine! Sailing boots usually don’t offer enough grip ashore in the snow, ice and mud….
– 2 Pairs of waterproof (!) gloves, scarves, and hats (enough) clothes for cold weather (hardly possibile to wash clothes..!)
– Warm socks ( synthetic blend or wool)
– Swimwear (we can possibly take a thermal bath at Deception Island!)
– Light shoes for in the ship
– CD’s /other music, as you wish
– A cord for your glasses
– Sleeping bag and sheet. You also can rent the bed-linen for € 15 for the whole trip. Please email us. On each bed is one pillow + pillowcase.
– Medicines, if necessary (against sea sickness)
– Passport, ID and Visa as/if required (extra photocopies in your luggage)
– Day-rucksack for landings
– (Copy) of your medical and travel insurance
– Camera with enough memory (You will take more pictures than you ever have before!!)
Please use a strong weekend bag or Duffle bag (no (hard) suitcases!! We don’t have space)
Be sure that your luggage is well labelled with your name and destination (Sailing Vessel Anne-Margaretha, Ushuaia and phone number of the ship (TBA) on the outside and also a paper inside with all your details!
You may charge your batteries on board: every cabin has a double socket
All safety equipment is provided on board, including life jackets for adults.