Days 5 and 6. Nordauslandet
Your expedition cruise continues to the second largest island of the Spitsbergen archipelago, Nordauslandet, via Beverly Sound. The scenery here differs from what you have seen so far—the uninhabited island is dominated by rolling hills and plateaus. You travel through Rijpfjorden, past Scoresby Island, until you reach Wordiebukta, where a historic curiosity awaits—the former World War II era meteorological station Haudegen, where the last German troops surrendered. The soldiers were picked up by a Norwegian sealing ship on September 4th 1945 after regaining radio contact. The station itself is now a protected memorial site and is not open to the public. The landscape that surrounds of the station is startlingly beautiful, and here you have the choice between two easy hiking tours: along the Zorgdragerfjorden on the eastern shore or from Arkvatnet to the Duvefjorden on the northern shore. Both promise to fill your senses with Arctic amazements.
Days 7 and 8. The Seven Islands
Today, you visit the Seven Islands, at a latitude of just over 80 degrees. Polar bears, ivory gulls and walruses live in this stunning, remote region. You keep your eyes open for a chance sighting, with your camera at the ready. In the afternoon, weather permitting, you venture deeper into the drift ice to reach the northernmost point of your expedition, where at around the 82nd parallel, the MS Ortelius stops. You are now only 500 nautical miles away from the North Pole, and you feel as though you are on another planet—icy, quiet, and endless. Soon, your ship continues west along the drift ice, and your tour guide advises you to pay attention here—it’s a great place to catch a glimpse of polar bears and the rare bowhead whale. Later, about 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you reach the continental shelf where you hope to see razorback whales, which come here to feed on krill in the late summer. At the entrance to the Kongsfjorden, you know that beautiful minke whales might be surfacing nearby.
Day 9. Forlandsundet and St. Jonsfjorden
On your way back to Longyearbyen, your expedition vessel heads for either Forlandsundet, where walruses relax luxuriously on the rocks, or St. Jonsfjorden, where Spitsbergen reindeer graze on lush green pastures. All the while, you stay alert for seabirds, Arctic foxes and other animals found in this remote region. With every sighting, you realize that you will miss the unique wildlife of the remote north. Thoughts of planning another trip to the Arctic cross your mind. That night, your head filled with polar dreams, you sleep one last time aboard the MS Ortelius.
Day 10. Longyearbyen
Familiar rows of colorful houses come into sight as you approach the Port of Longyearbyen. Today it’s time to bid farewell to your expedition ship and its lovely crew. After you disembark, you visit the Svalbard Museum and learn more about the area’s history. Soon, it’s time to catch your flight back to Oslo, where you spend your last night in Norway.
Day 11. Oslo
On your way to the airport and flight home, you smile, looking through the photos of your Arctic expedition. You know that your friends and family will ask, “How was your trip?” to which you will have to reply, “You’ve got to see it for yourself!”
(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner