Expedition to the Arctic Islands
This expedition takes you to three Arctic islands and the least-visited national park in the world.
Norway’s capital, Oslo, is often referred to as “the blue, the green, and the city in between”. Forest, lakes, hills, and a fjord surround this city. Downtown you will find varied architecture, a strong café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, endless shopping possibilities, and a large immigrant community that adds a colorful touch to the city. You leave Oslo in the evening, heading for the High Arctic – Spitsbergen.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. In the midst of a mighty and wild nature you find the Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen. Join a sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen before embarking MS Fram.
The first national park we visit covers the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. The area is characterized by big inland glaciers and a typical alpine landscape contrasted with green areas and moraines. We continue into Kongsfjord and Magdalenefjord, offering spectacular scenery and interesting history. At 78º 55’ N we visit Ny-Ålesund, the starting point for numerous expeditions toward the North Pole in the past. Today it is home to an advanced High Arctic research station.
Spend a relaxing, yet also exciting, day at sea. We will begin our lecture series on this day and enjoy sightings of wildlife from the deck.
As we arrive in the largest national park in the world, you will realize that we are quite alone in this far corner of the Earth. It is one of the most isolated places on Earth. Apart from some abandoned trapping stations, a weather station, and the Sirius Patrol (the Danish Navy), there are no other signs of humans here. We might meet the Sirius Patrol that supervises the park using traditional methods: Sleds and mushing dogs.
Before the Danes acquired sovereignty of this area, the Norwegians claimed it. Within the borders of Northeast Greenland National Park there are only about 30 people that overwinter.
In the very short summer season, when the waters around are not frozen, only 500 expedition cruise guests visit the park. Yellowstone has 1 visitor per hour of the year; Northeast Greenland National Park has .002!
Once inside the fjords of Northeast Greenland your sense of distance, size, and shape of landscapes will be challenged. These are the largest fjords in the world, and the alpine landscape, with hanging glaciers and vertical granite faces, reaches as far as the eyes can see.
Sailing into fjords such as Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord and Alpefjord will give you unforgettable experiences.
There is incredible wildlife here. As well as terrestrial wildlife such as musk oxen, Arctic fox, hare, and wolf, we may see a variety of seabirds. And remember, where there is ice there may be polar bears!
The majority of our landings during our visit to Northeast Greenland National Park are performed as pure wilderness expeditions. Danmarkshavn, a very isolated weather and research station, is one of the places we visit while we are here. We may also attempt a landing in Myggbukta (Mosquito Bay), where the legendary Governor of Northeast Greenland had his base.
In the most isolated town in Greenland, you can visit the museum, church, and a photo exhibition, or walk around the town on your own.
Ísafjörður is the capital of the Westfjords region. Take a stroll around this cozy town and enjoy its diverse architecture. You’ll find the country’s oldest dwelling here, along with fine examples of timber houses built by wealthy foreign traders during the 18th century. Our optional excursions offer a variety of experiences from hikes to tastings of local foods.
Iceland’s capital offers numerous things to tempt the curiosity of its visitors. Relatively close to Reykjavik you find glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, and mountains. Reykjavik has also a vast selection of restaurants, museums, and shops. We will arrive in the morning hours, and here our voyage ends.
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