ICELAND – JAN MAYEN – SVALBARD  

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11 DAYS

Discover the incredible beauty of Iceland’s Westfjords, remote and seldom-visited Jan Mayen island where you will see the world’s northernmost active volcanic island, and Svalbard’s northwest coast. Take in dramatic bird cliffs and puffins nesting on ledges, marvel at volcanic geology, Zodiac cruise through impressive glacier-filled fjords, stretch your legs on tundra hikes, search for polar bears on the pack ice and walrus hauled.

ITINERARY SUMMARY
DayPlaceHighlights
Day 1Reykjavik, IcelandEmbarkation
Days 2 & 3West IcelandVisit the Westfjords area and Grimsey Island
Day 4At seaCross the Denmark Strait, Seabirds, Onboard presentations
Day 5Jan MayenBeerenberg Volcano, Kvalrossbukta
Days 6 & 7At SeaWhale watching
Days 8 - 10Exploring SpitsbergenPolar bears, walrus, seals, sea birds, whales. glaciers, fjords
Day 11Longyearbyen, SpitsbergenDisembark in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Iceland Jan Mayen Spitsbergen

SHIP OFFERING THIS ITINERARY

Greg Mortimer
Exterior Greg Mortimer

The Greg Mortimer is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 120 guests. This vessel has been designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull. This cutting edge nautical technology allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption and emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchor-less while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. There are four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to and from Zodiacs.

Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland

West Iceland Snæfellsnes

Reykjavik is a beautiful city with many lovely restaurants. You may wish to visit the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and the tectonic plate boundary where North America and Europe are pulling away from each other. There is a wealth of cultural institutions here including museums, galleries and the Hallgrimskirkja church. Perhaps try some of the local delicacies including, fermented shark, smoked puffin puffin and horse. In the afternoon board your ship and embark on your Arctic cruise.

Days 2-3 West and North-West Iceland

Puffin Iceland

One third of Iceland’s coastline is in the Westfjords, and the entire peninsula is carved and cut by long fjords. The Westfjords region is home to Látrabjarg; the westernmost point in Europe, and one of the continent’s most remarkable seabird breeding cliffs, a delight for bird lovers. It is one of the best places in Iceland to see puffins and you can take a Zodiac cruise to see these interesting birds up close. The small town of Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula, with some 2,600 inhabitants. This town has been a trading post since the 16th century and is an ancient church site. The salt fish production stimulated the growth of the town and the fishing industry still remains the town’s main activity, along with tourism. Nearby Hornstrandir nature reserve is a peninsula accessible only by boat or by foot and inhabited by Arctic foxes, seals, birds and the occasional hiker. Here you may Zodiac cruise along the shoreline of Hornstrandir nature reserve and attempt a landing, subject to approval by the park ranger.

Day 4 At Sea

Whale

Cross the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen island accompanied by sea birds while keeping a look out for whales. Enjoy a presentation from the team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay fit at the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre.

Day 5 Jan Mayen Island

Black legged kittiwake Arctic Wildlife

As the ship approaches Jan Mayen you will see the huge Beerenberg volcano (2,277 metres altitude). This is the world’s northernmost active volcano, and last erupted in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to spot whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather permits, you may have an excursion at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. You may make a landing at the front of the Norwegian station at Olonkinbyen, and stop to visit the weather station before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) to the other side of the island where the Greg Mortimer will be waiting for you in Kvalrossbukta.

Days 6-7 At Sea

At Sea

The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities (bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice). Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue north, retracing the route of Dutch explorer Willem Barents who discovered Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea, named after him. It’s breeding season for the harp seals and you may see some on the sea ice. As the ship approaches Svalbard, all eyes will be focused on spotting polar bears in the pack ice.

Days 8-10 Northern Svalbard and Spitsbergen

Polar bear and cub Spitsbergen

The plan is to cross 80° North, all the while on the lookout for polar bears on the pack ice, to reach Moffen Island, famous for its large walrus colony. In the nest few days, weather permitting and sea ice conditions, you may be able explore sites including the incredibly scenic Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay), a fjord headed by two giant glaciers. Perhaps spend time ashore to hike on the lush tundra amongst the early summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs. Keep an eye out for polar bears and Arctic foxes. Visit the 350-year-old remains of a Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya and you may stop at Raudfjord which features fascinating geology, glaciers and bird cliffs. A possible hike on Ytre Norskya offers splendid views to the north coast of Spitsbergen and maybe even to the North Pole in clear weather!

Day 11 Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen Spitsbergen Svalbard

During the early morning the ship will cruise into Longyearbyen. Farewell your expedition team and enjoy a town tour of Longyearbyen before an onward transfer to the airport in the afternoon.

To book this cruise contact us on 1300 784 794 or email: contact@arctictravelcentre.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.