*Please note that in September, this voyage runs in reverse order
Day 1 - 2
Longyearbyen and Barentsburg
Stay overnight at our hotel and have the first evening at your own leisure. After breakfast you’ll have some time to explore Longyearbyen and the surroundings on your own. Afterwards enjoy lunch at your hotel. Transfer from the hotel to the pier of MS Fram in the afternoon.
This voyage starts in the Norwegian settlement often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. Here you’ll find all amenities of a modern small town – situated in a fantastic Arctic landscape. The history of Longyearbyen is very much the history of coal mining and heritage from the first mining can be seen everywhere. Embarkation from 16:00 hours.
In the afternoon, the MS Fram will set sail. During the first evening, we will learn about the ship, get the latest prognosis from the Captain and the Expedition Leader on the weather and ice situation.
The voyage you are setting out on is one of a kind and amongst the multitude of landing sites and exciting experiences you will, this evening be presented with what we have in mind. Variations in itinerary and landing sites between each voyage are normal - in the High Arctic you go with what conditions at hand dictate.
While in Svalbard, we will atempt to land in several places, some of them described below. On land, our expedition team will explain what you see and help you avoid disturbing the nature and wildlife. When conditions allow, hikes or other activities on land and sea may be offered. Participation on any hike requires a good level of fitness, and that you are accustomed to hiking on uneven terrain.
Kongsfjorden and North West Spitsbergen National Park
In local slang called The North West Corner, this area, scattered as it is with islands, fjords and beaches has a long history of exploration. When Willhelm Barentz first found Svalbard in 1596, this was the land he first saw. The name he gave to this new land was Spitzbergen, reflecting the sharp and steep mountains in the area.
Safety is always the first priority and the final sailing schedule will be decided by the ship's captain during the voyage. Below we list some of our possible landing sites, the final itinerary will be introduced during daily briefings.
Kongsfjorden or Kings Bay is the largest fjord on the North West coast of Spitsbergen. A large side fjord called Krossfjorden may be visited as well this day. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers slipping into the ocean. Look out for the mountain called Mitre – named after the Catholic Bishop’s hat – you will see it on the northern shores of the entrance of Kongsfjorden. At the end of the fjord you see the majestic Kongsbreen (Kings Glacier) with the three characteristic nunataks (mountain peaks protruding through the ice sheet): Nora, Dana and Svea – named after the three Scandinavian countries.
At 78º 55' N, Ny Ålesund is one of the world’s northermost year-round communities. Previously a Coal mining community, now an advanced High Arctic research station. In the heroic age of exploration Ny Ålesund was the starting point for numerous expeditions towards the North Pole. Names like Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are strongly linked to this place and you can still, today, see the airship mast that the dirigible 'Norge' was moored to before her departure on the first trans-polar flight. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and research activity is high in the summer.
Magdalenefjorden is one of the fjords that we aim at visiting. Here you’ll experience a very important cultural heritage; a whaling station from the 16th century, including a graveyard of whalers that died during the first “oil adventure”.
After exploring the Spitsbergen shore our course is set for the isolated coast of North East Greenland. We spend the day crossing the Fram Straight, during which our expedition team will give lectures on interesting subjects connected to this area.
Day 5 - 11
North East Greenland National Park, Greenland
In the exciting days to follow, we cross the fittingly named Fram Strait that divides Spitsbergen and North East Greenland. The area is aptly named so because this is where the original Fram of Nansen came into open seas after having been beset in the Arctic Ocean from 1893 to 1896.
You will notice the change in climate as we leave the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and enter the cold water current that follows the coast of East Greenland. Remember; where there is ice there might be Polar Bears.
While in North East Greenland National Park, we will attempt to land several places, some of them described below as examples. On land, our expedition team will explain what you see and help you avoid disturbing nature and wildlife. When conditions allow, hikes or other activities on land and sea may be offered. Participation on any hike requires good level of fitness, and that you are accustomed to hiking on uneven terrain.
If conditions allows we will hit the coast of Greenland at similar latitude as Longyearbyen. The very isolated weather and research station, Danmarkshavn is one of the places we may visit – from then on we will tack our way south, within the boundaries of the largest national park on earth.
North East Greenland National Park is about 900,000 sq. km. large – to put it into perspective; the British Isles combined are just above 300,000 sq. km and Germany is about 350,000 sq. km.
The mountains are very alpine – rising right out of the largest fjord systems on earth to an altitude of more than 2,500 meters above sea level.
The waters are scattered with large icebergs and the valleys are scattered with brownish dots; musk oxen. Other wildlife we may encounter is the all-white Arctic hare, the Arctic fox or the very rare Arctic wolf.
As well as terrestrial wildlife we may encounter the white Greenland falcon, ptarmigan, snowy owl and a variety of sea birds.
Sailing into fjords such as Keiser Franz Josef Fjord or Alpefjord will give you an experience of a lifetime - maybe even more so than the large Norwegian fjords you get a feeling of sailing in a maze with spectacular snow-capped peaks all around.
While the majority of our landings are performed as pure wilderness expeditions we may also meet the Sirius Patrol – the Danish Navy maintains park supervision using traditional methods, mushing dogs. Before the Danes acquired sovereignty of this area, the Norwegians claimed it – a natural place to attempt a landing for Fram is of course Myggbukta, where the legendary Governor of North East Greenland, Helge Ingstad, had his base.
This breath-taking voyage will give you an ample amount of time to get the feeling of being in one of the most isolated places on earth – but aboard one of the most fitting expedition vessels. Our expert guides and lecturers will safely guide you on hikes and small boat trips in addition to briefings and lectures about the places we go.
Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund), Greenland
Ittoqqortoormiit or Scoresbysund is our last call in North East Greenland. This is the most isolated town in Greenland. The trappers living in this town are the only ones that are allowed to hunt within the North East Greenland National Park and you will probably observe that outside their houses they are drying animal skins and are storing their dog-sleds.
The local guides will meet us and hand out maps as well as give information on what is open during our visit. The program is set individually for each stay, and would normally include museum, church, photo exhibition and even a launch of a weather balloon, all with local guides. You are welcome to walk around on your own, and see the places of interest.
Ísafjörður (Isfjorden), Iceland
The capital of the Westfjords (Vestfirðir) region of Iceland and with a population of about 4,100 Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords. The town has a long history and for centuries it was a major center of commerce and trading, all based on fish. Take a stroll around this cosy town and enjoy its diverse architecture. You'll find the country's oldest dwelling here, along with other fine examples of timber houses built by wealthy foreign traders in the 18th century.
The morning will be spent in Flateyri, which has been a trading post since 1792 and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations in the 1900’s. Today Flateyri, like so many other fishing villages, is dependent on tourism. There is a nice sandy beach on the other side of the fjord, and although the sea might be colder for bathing than most people prefer, the sand is great for building sand castles.
Grundarfjörður is situated in the western area of Iceland in the region of Vesturland. The population of the town is around 900. The main income is fishing and half of the town`s working population is employed in this sector. It is considered a place unusually beautiful and has received several awards for its neat appearance. It is only one of the very few places in the world, where the building authority has provided allotments for the “hidden people” or elves.
Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city and home for about 171,000 people. In the relatively close surroundings of Reykjavik you may 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.
MS Fram does two National Park Expedtions. On the journey departing the 4 September 2014 and 10 September 2015, the itinerary is reversed from the one above, starting in Reykjavík and ending in Longyearbyen. This a 15-day-voyage as it does not include an overnight stay in Longyearbyen.