Join the three-masted schooner Linden for a five day sailing adventure in the pristine Arctic wilderness on Svalbard. Keep your eyes peeled for spectacular wildlife, including polar bears!
Leaving from Longyearbyen, Linden will set sail to discover the cold glacier coasts of Spitsbergen. This is an excellent way to combine Arctic adventure with sailing, and Linden’s crew will take you to the hidden gems of the west coast of Svalbard. As the wind picks up and the sails fill, get comfortable with a book, help with hauling ropes or scale the mast rigging – it’s up to you. The ship will navigate sea ice easily with her strengthened hull, and you’ll need to keep your eyes and ears open – it is on the sea ice that the polar bears are most likely to be seen. Migratory patterns change seasonally, even daily, and we may encounter blue whales as well as Svalbard’s Big Five; the polar bear, walrus, arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer and ivory gull. In a bid to create the most opportunities to see wildlife, and adhering to the Arctic weather conditions, we’ll decide where to sail at short notice so a detailed itinerary isn’t often possible but here is a guide of what to expect.
Meet your guide at 15:00 at Basecamp Hotel in Longyearbyen who will take you to our wooden 3-mast Schooner Linden. If you have extra luggage, you can leave this in the luggage storage at the Basecamp hotel. We will gather in the ship lounge for some snacks and a safety briefing. This is a good time to get to know the staff and your fellow voyagers. Checking the last ice charts and the weather, your Captain and Expedition Leader will finalise our route. If the wind is favourable it’s time to hoist the sails and head into the pristine Arctic waters!
Our crew can’t wait to teach you the sailing skills and show you how elegantly Linden can sail. With the help of our professional team, you can become a true seaman yourself! Linden is made for the Arctic waters with her ice-strengthened hull. The midnight sun sits high in the sky as we gather for the captain’s welcome dinner as we continue to sail towards our next destination. The sun will not set at all during the summer months so this is something to get used to during your voyage. After dinner a non-stop noise from the towering bird cliff greets us and we head ashore. Thousands of female Brünnich’s Guillemots are to lay a single egg each on the narrow cliff ledges above us, and these big black and white auks busy around and fill the air. As we hike across the tundra we need to watch out as the Arctic skuas don’t want us near their nests. The Svalbard reindeer is rather interested in getting a closer look at us. With a bit of luck on our side, we may find the Arctic fox foraging for bird eggs below the cliffs.
On Tuesday morning we wake up surrounded by wild landscape and glimmering glaciers. Our excursion is all about frozen rivers of ice. First, the surreal scene appears silent, but you will discover there is a constant fizz, snap and pop of melting ice releasing trapped air bubbles. Millions upon millions of bubbles are continually released as the glacier melts away underneath the ocean surface. And then it happens. The glacier calves in front of us with loud roars and tumbles down into the ocean.
We enjoy lunch as we watch the frozen landscape around us. Less than 7% of the land has any vegetation at all in Svalbard. We take a close look at the surroundings as we head ashore. From a distance the land looks immensely barren but stepping onto a thin layer of thawed permafrost, shining specks of flowers appear. As we savour dinner we head to our next destination and watch the continuous mountains and shores without any roads, buildings or infrastructure. This is what makes Svalbard a unique wildlife spot in the world. We are in the Arctic kingdom where polar bears rule on land and sea-ice.
Waking up surrounded by sediment slopes and pointy peaks we continue to search for wildlife and good hiking possibilities. Weather permitting, we hike across the tundra and the polar deserts. Along the way, we find time to sit down and listen to the Arctic silence. It’s a marvellous sound of nothingness. On our hikes, we may also catch sight of the only bird overwintering in Svalbard, the well-feathered ptarmigan. Born a carnivore, the chicks eat insects while their vegetarian parents forage for plants and seeds. Our chef will serve us another great meal as we sail to our next destination.
In the afternoon we explore glaciers fronts plunging down into the sea. There might be seals in the water or hauled up on the ice and if you keep your eyes closely on the water you might see flashes of white passing by. In Svalbard, there are often groups of white Beluga whales patrolling in front of glaciers, where the prey is easier to catch being slightly dizzy in the altered salt content of the seawater mixed with fresh water from the ice.
On Thursday we wake up within reach of beaches where tusked walrus may haul out. And we’ll pay a visit to see if they are home. Will our search for this bewhiskered beast pay off? It’s never possible to know for sure beforehand, but walrus don’t like wind or fog as it makes it easier for polar bears to approach and attack. So for once, we are hoping for less wind! After 60 years of protection, the numbers of walrus are finally rising in Svalbard. If the walrus are out, their beach is an excellent location to go beachcombing. Scour the beach for timbers from ancient shipwrecks and other treasures!
After lunch we find ourselves next to Basecamp’s outpost, Isfjord Radio Adventure Hotel. Indulge in unexpected luxury and genuine hospitality at this old radio station packed with history. Just like the former station manager hosted and served the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, Isfjord Radio’s own Michelin star trained chef will prepare and serve us a treat. If you like, join one of your guides for a 2-3 hour hike around the station and the surroundings. After the walk, you can enjoy the new scenery sauna at the Isfjord Radio – what a way to finish a hike! Bordering Isfjord Radio is a bird sanctuary, providing new opportunities to spot that Arctic fox egg and bird hunting! Step back on board Linden for evening drinks and the Captain’s farewell dinner.
On our last day, we sail back to civilization. Enjoy breakfast on the ship before you head back to Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world. Even when closing the settlement, keep your eyes for white flashes of up to 4,5 meters of lean blubber crossing our paths. There can be groups of white beluga whales in the fjord as we get close to Longyearbyen to drop you off!
|Voyage||Set Sail||Days||Cost p/p|
|Discover The Deep Fjords||24 June 2019||5||£2,300||Enquire now|
|Discover The Deep Fjords||29 July 2019||5||£2,300||Enquire now|
|Discover The Deep Fjords||12 August 2019||5||£2,300||Enquire now|
Guest berths: 12 Rig: 3 Masted Schooner
The magnificent Linden was built in Mariehamn, in the Åland Islands – an autonomous archipelago off the west coast of Finland. This three-masted white sail schooner was a joint venture between residents of the Åland Islands, the Finnish government and established ship owners in an attempt to create a vessel that was a worthy representation of the traditional maritime culture of the islands. Because of this, Linden was built in pine – how the Åland and Finnish traditionally built their ships. In order to meet modern standards, the DNV required that a reinforced steel superstructure was put inside the hull, with watertight bulkheads to meet the safety requirements for passenger vessels.
Until 2006, Linden sailed the Baltic Sea, proudly representing Åland, before being sold to a restaurant in Helsinki that turned her into a day cruiser, where she barely left Helsinki harbour. Now fully restored she was bought by her current owners in 2017 to offer sustainable charter, environmental experiences and cargo transport, working with local businesses and enterprises to ensure efficiency.
Today, she sails her guests in the Arctic, sailing around Svalbard Norway. Slicing through the water and between the ice in order to give her passengers the chance to experience the breathtakingly beautiful artic world.
Life under sail in this remarkable location gives guests the chance to witness polar bear, arctic foxes, Beluga whales, bearded seals, reindeer and an abundance of seabirds, with careful consideration to the fragility of this environment.
More about Linden
- Do I need experience?
No sailing experience is necessary as we have a competent crew who can sail the ship. However, we do encourage the guests to get involved as much or as little as they wish.
- What should I bring?
We have limited luggage storage space and typically guests bring more luggage than they need. A kit list will be provided before you board.
- Will I get sea sick?
It is not uncommon to get sea sick in rough weather so the skipper will try to plan a route to avoid it. If you do begin to feel unwell, just let a crew member know so that we can look after you accordingly – especially if you are on medication.
- What is the accommodation like?
There are 4 separate cabins, most of which have en-suite bathrooms. 3 cabins have 4 single beds in them, and 1 cabin has 3 beds in it. There is a large dining area with a bar, with a full catering kitchen, and even a sauna too!
- Are all meals included in the price?
Yes - however drinks with meals are not. They are available to purchase from the on board bar.
- What bathroom facilities are provided?
There are 5 twin cabins with private shower and toilet, and 2 single cabins with shared bathroom. There are several other bathrooms dotted around the ship.
- Are dietary requirements catered for?
Yes, the chef will be glad to help you with your dietary requirements. Please make sure you complete the section on diet when booking.
- If I have a medical condition, will it be a problem?
Please telephone us for advice, but take a look at the questions on the booking and medical form so that you can see the sort of questions we will need to ask. Please note any medical information given is totally confidential.
- Do I need to be very active?
No, a normal level of fitness will be adequate; you need for emergency circumstances to be able to climb a 6ft (2meter) vertical ladder unassisted.
- Can I charge my phone or digital camera?
Yes - just make sure you bring an adaptor for EU sockets.
- If there are so many berths on board, why can Linden only take 12 guests?
This is all she is licensed to carry at the moment. It also means everyone has plenty of room, and there's not too much strain on the kitchen so everything can be the best quality possible.