Arctic Circle sailing; Svalbard Expedition
- Vessel: Valiente
- Where: Svalbard, Norway
- Duration: 8 days
- Embark: Longyearbyen, Svalbard - 1 July 2023, 14:00
- Disembark: Longyearbyen, Svalbard - 8 July 2023, 14:00
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Explore the fascinating fjords and glaciers of the fragile Arctic archipelago of Svalbard with expedition yacht Valiente.
Join expedition vessel Valiente in the heart of the Arctic circle as she takes guests on an adventure sailing holiday to explore the fascinating fragile archipelago of Svalbard.
On this expedition you will have the opportunity to see and experience Svalbard in a way that few have done before. The main focus of this trip will be the fjords and glaciers, and by bringing with us a knowledgeable glaciologist onboard, we can offer exciting and up-to-date knowledge of the glaciers in the past, present and future, and the effect of climate change on the ice.
- SKIPPERED SAILING
- PRIVATE CABINS
- ALL-INCLUSIVE BOARD
- BUCKET LIST LOCATION
- POLAR BEARS!
- Hands-on Experience
- Sustainable Travel
YOUR SAILING AREA
High in the Arctic circle sits the the world’s most northernmost town, sitting halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard is one of Europe’s last great wildernesses, often referred to as the “land of the midnight sun” when from mid-May to late September, the archipelago sits in 24hour daylight.
With more polar bears than people, this epic terrain is not for the faint hearted but perfect for the adventure traveller. Ice covered fjords, colossal glaciers and soaring mountains really hit home how wild, rugged and fragile this beautiful landscape is. Discovering Svalbard under sail is by far the best and most sustainable way to see the very best of this Arctic archipelago. Svalbard has strict tourism policies in place with travellers unable to leave the main town of Longyearbyen without a registered guide. Valiente has been given special permission to sail and explore this magical landscape with a registered guide onboard meaning guests are in safe hands at all times.
The main focus of this voyage is to dive deep into the fjords and glaciers that make up this fragile landscape reaching the northernmost island of Sjuøyane. Explore with a mixture of expedition sailing, hikes through the fjords and glacier walks with crampons, ice axes and rope. Learn about the formation of the fjords, the movements of the glaciers, the inner life of the ice, and not least the glaciers’s’ challenges and future in a time of warming and changing climate. Few other places on earth is climate change as evident as in Svalbard. A warmer climate affects both the permafrost, glaciers and sea ice, and the whole ecosystem is under pressure.
Our itinerary will be entirely dependant on the wind and weather, to ensure guest safety, a good experience and to be our travel as sustainable as possible. The itinerary below is only to be used as a guide of what to expect.
The first evening we will spend getting to know one-another, familiarizing with the boat and reviewing the plan for the week. Make the most of the midnight sun as we set sail for Alkehornet, a mountain across Isfjord, and navigate through Prins Karls Forland’s inner waters at night.
Day 2: Explore the World’s Northernmost Settlement
With luck, we may spot a walrus colony in Forlandsundet early morning. Further north, we reach Kongsfjorden, home to Ny-Ålesund, a research town. Capture the beauty of Kongsfjorden, with three pyramid-shaped mountains: Dana, Nora, and Svea.
Day 3: Cultural Treasures in the Northwest
We’ll continue sailing north to the northwest corner of Spitsbergen, sailing into Smeerenburgfjord, named after 17th-century Dutch whalers. Discover well-preserved cultural remnants from “Blubber town” before heading to Virgohamna.
Days 4-5: Towards the Ice Edge and Rossøya
Set a course for Rossøya, Svalbard’s northernmost island and Norway’s northernmost point, and begin your search for ice. Follow the ice edge eastwards and watch for bears, seals, and whales. When we reach the northernmost point, celebrate with cold champagne and a daring polar plunge!
Days 6-7: Exploring Sjuøyane and Heading South
Explore the far north around Sjuøyane and, if time allows, visit nearby islands. Perhaps go ashore on a hike for spectacular views of Nord-Austlandet’s grand glaciers and the archipelago. Eventually, we’ll set our course south, passing Verlegenhuken, Spitsbergen’s northernmost point, and possibly stopping at the trapper station in Mushamna.
Days 8-9: Returning to Civilization
As we head back toward Isfjorden, we’ll adjust landings and shore visits based on time and distance. Revisit some intriguing sites along the northwest coast. Near Isfjord’s entrance, pass Isfjord Radio, a converted radio station turned into a welcoming hotel. If time permits, explore the unique Russian mining town of Barentsburg, with a potential shore visit and dinner ashore.
All voyages for Valiente
Guest berths: 12 Rig: Gaff
Expedition yacht Valiente has been designed to withstand tough icy conditions so it’s little wonder she makes a great boat for Arctic sailing adventures.
From exploring the fjords on the West coast of Norway, to crossing the Arctic circle to Svalbard or Barents Sea sailing to Greenland, Valiente offers a unique, safe and comfortable way to explore sailing territories far off the beaten track.
Joining Valiente will see you become part of the crew, taking part in all aspects of sailing. From the day to day running of the boat, to cooking up meals with your fellow guests, the crew of Valiente will be on hand to guide you in this bucket list experience.
Tough on the outside, soft on the inside. With her steel hull made to withstand icy waters, below decks is a welcome contrast. Central heating runs continuously throughout the boat so you’ll be wonderfully cosy! The saloon and well-equipped galley are set mid ships with 360° windows at deck level with plenty of storage space.
All cabins have heating, comfy beds, thick duvets and wool blankets. The cabins are a mix of double beds and twin bunks but cabins are not allocated until all guests are on board so that everyone is matched with the right size bed and right facilities for their needs!
The Arctic sailing grounds are a vulnerable area increasingly under pressure from climate change. The owners of Valiente are committed to taking care of the environment as much as possible and believe that small boats with less people, are considerably less harmful to the environment and local wildlife, than larger cruise ships.
Deck planMore about Valiente
Life on Board Valiente
You don’t need any experience to join Valiente’s expedition sailing holidays, just a love for the natural world and a real sense of adventure.
Sailing with Valiente is a real hands-on, humbling experience as you work with the crew and fellow guests to navigate the Arctic wilderness together. Get stuck into all aspects of life on board, from taking the helm, setting & trimming the sails, basic sail theory and domestic duties.
The skipper and first mate, (plus a dedicated guide for Svalbard sailing voyages) will be onboard for the duration of Valiente’s sailing holidays. Along the way, preferably by sailing but sometimes under motor, we will include all guests in the sailing experience.
The physical sailing of Valiente is relatively straightforward so she’s a great boat to learn on if you haven’t sailed before. Her simple rig has three sails; the main, genoa and jib, all working off a winch system. The wheelhouse is set at deck level, with a modern navigation system. You can take the helm, working with the skipper to watch your course. The crew that sail in these waters are wildly skilled, resourceful and calm and they are always on hand to guide guests.
The boat works on a relaxed watch system, usually 4 hours on and 8 hours off. This gives guests a real chance to have some focussed sailing time but equally have the time to just be. To sit, watch the world go by, to relax, nap, read a book in your cabin, play cards in the saloon or just simply sit at the bows, watching, reflecting as the world glides by. If Valiente spends time on anchor, the watch system will run overnight, but with all guests and crew participating, you wouldn’t be on watch on consecutive nights.
There is always a thorough safety briefing and introduction once guests have settled onboard, followed by a “man overboard” procedure (don’t worry – this is a fender not a real person!) and a fire safety drill.
Central heating runs continuously throughout the boat, (there’s even heated towel rails in all bathroom and a heater in the wheelhouse) so she is wonderfully cosy! The spacious saloon and galley are set mid ships with 360° windows at deck level – perfect for cooking with a view. The galley is really well equipped with an induction hob, two domestic ovens, two fridge drawers and plenty of storage space.
All cabins have heating, comfy beds, thick duvets and wool blankets. Cabins are not allocated until all guests are booked and on board so that every is matched with the right size bed and right facilities for their needs! A small bath towel is provided per person but you’ll need to bring an extra hand towel or swim towel if you wish.
There are full size domestic showers with plenty of hot water although as with all sailing experiences, guests are asked to be respectful with their water consumption. It may not be possible to shower every day, but more or less every other day we are either in a harbour with fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or enjoy a sauna. A morning swim in the sea is free and is available all year round!
Naomi from the VentureSail team sailed with Valiente in Norway – you can read her blog here for an insight into her experience!
Aside from setting the sails and taking the helm, the next most important aspect of Arctic sailing on Valiente is definitely the food! Once you’ve boarded the boat, a crew member will split all guests into pairs, who are then divided over a rota for breakfast, lunch and dinner duties. With an average of 10 people on board, you’ll normally end up doing one of each service over a week’s voyage.
If you’re not much of a cook, fear not! There will be a menu plan for the whole voyage already planned out with all the provisions on board. The menu plan is entirely flexible depending on the plan for the day, maybe you catch a fish or maybe the more confident cooks will want to experiment a little! Alongside the menu plan, there is a correlating recipe book, especially made with ingredients, quantities and cooking methods to match the meal plan.
Cooking on board is an integral part of how a sailing ship operates. A hearty feed after a sailing adventure, a chance to bring everyone together, for confidence to grow and cultural culinary tips to be shared.
- All inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet) and wash towel
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
- Fishing equipment
- Use of the on board small sailing dinghy for extra practice!
- Survival Suit and Search & Rescue insurance for everyone on board
What’s not included
- Waterproofs > Guests can rent oilskins from us for 500NOK per trip, per person
- Swim towel
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
- Any meals ashore
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will be not more than 12miles offshore.
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals and soft drinks are included. Guests work on a rotation basis to cook together onboard.
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Yes - please specify at time of enquiry
What language is spoken onboard?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
3x double cabins, 1x twin bunk cabin, 1 x quad bunk cabin
How many toilet/showers does she have?
4 for guests
Is there WIFI?
Can I charge my phone/Camera?
12v charging under sail, 220 EURO 2pin when connected to shore power/generator
Are there life jackets provided?
Are Waterproofs provided?
Guests can rent oilskins from Valiente for 500NOK per trip, per person.
Do I need sailing experience?
No, absolutely not! Just a lust for adventure.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
Is bedding included?
Yes, all bedding and a towel is provided.
From: Longyearbyen, Svalbard
To: Longyearbyen, Svalbard
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Fly into Oslo or Tromsø to get a connecting flight to Svalbard. There are several flights a day into Longyearbyen airport from Oslo and Tromsø in Norway. Your easiest route from the UK to Longyearbyen (LYR) Airport for Svalbard is from London Heathrow via Oslo with airline SAS.
Taxis and buses meet each incoming /outgoing flight, even the ones in the middle of the night and will stop at the marina on request, and the airport shuttle service stops at all hotels in the centre.
STAY IN SVALBARD:
There are plenty of places to stay in Svalbard. Try Gjesthuset 102, Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg or Funken Lodge.
Please note that you need a guide to travel anywhere outside the town of Longyearbyen due to the risk from polar bears.