Edgeøya - Arctic Academy
|OTL14||Edgeøya, Arctic Academy
19 Aug - 28 Aug (10 days)
Day 1 - Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the surrounding area of Longyearbyen. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Day 2 – Landings at the rarely visited coast of South Spitsbergen between Sørkap and Isbukta and sailing by Stellingfjellet the biggest colony of Brünnichs Guillmots in Spitsbergen.
Day 3 - We cruise north to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, we land at Blankodden on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. We can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kittiwake, together with Black Guillemot and piratical Glaucous Gull. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Fox and Polar Bear, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges. From there we walk to Kapp Lee.
Day 4 – At the east side of West Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden) we will walk to some breeding places of Ivory Gulls in Agardhfjellet at about 400 m high. The valley leading to the outcrops with the nests is littered with fossils of Belemnites and Ammonites
Day 5 - In Freemansundet we plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer and Barnacle Goose. We also plan a zodiac cruise near the Freeman glacier and visit again a Kittiwake colony in a canyon.
Day 6 – At Diskobukta we make a long inland excursion into the braided rivers, which are easily crossed this late in the season.
At Caltex fjellet we will search for breeding places of Ivory Gulls and proceed into Smelledalen with some Pingo’s. Alternatively we land at Plurdalen, and area where 40 years ago extensive explorations for oil were carried out.
Day 7 – At Habenichtbukta Russian Pomors built their hunting station in which they lived during quite some periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. We will land in the area and make also an inland excursion in an area with pond and lakes, populated by divers, ducks and geese
Day 8 – At Andrétangen we have a good opportunity to observe a herd of Walrusses near an old trapper station. Some way inland near a lifted shore in a surf zone from thousands of year ago we find the skeletons of stranded whales from that time. In the afternoon we land at Kong Ludvigøyane or Tiholmane with again remains of the Pomor period.
Day 9 - We start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m, while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name ‘Spitsbergen’ - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bear. We may visit the Polish research station where the friendly staff will give us an insight into their research projects. Behind the station the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auk.
Day 10 - Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.