Norwegian Fjords and Svalbard
DATE: JULY 06, 2018
DURATION: 13 DAYS/12 NIGHTS
EMBARK: KRISTIANSUND, NORWAY
DISEMBARK: LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY
SHIP: Silver Cloud Expedition
With thousands of miles of coastline, vast wildernesses and lush forests, this journey is a joy for all adventurers in search of unforgettable birds and wildlife. Set within unrivalled beauty, this seldom visited part of the world is a melting pot of flora and fauna and every opportunity is optimised so that you make the most of your wildlife sightings. Don’t forget your camera!
Kristiansund is a thriving community of 23,000 which prides itself on a strong cultural life, ecological purity, natural beauty, and excellent fish. Ever-increasing numbers of tourists are discovering this as well and are taking full advantage. Silver Cloud departs at 1600.
Nes, Vega Archipelago, Norway
The Vega Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a myriad of islands scattered in the Norwegian Sea and home to one of Norway’s largest eider duck colony. Of the 6,000 Vega islands, 59 were once inhabited by families that made their living from fishing and from eider down harvesting. Today, there are no year-round residents, but the population returns in the summer to continue the 1,500-year-old tradition of caring for the eider ducks and harvesting their precious down.
Silver Cloud will then head north to cruise Vistenfjord and the Visten National Park. Much of the park’s bedrock is gneiss, which absorbs very little water, and the water flow in the streams and rivers may vary greatly –causing many cascades and waterfalls to exist. There are some trails at the outskirts of the national park, and depending on conditions, we will hike or take our Zodiacs to explore this enchanting area.
Værøy and Reine
At the very southern end of the Lofoten Islands are bird cliffs that hold Norway’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffins, and also good numbers of kittiwakes, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, shags, Northern Fulmars and White-tailed Eagles.
Silver Cloud will continue north just a short distance to reach Reine. This village with only 307 inhabitants was once selected as the most beautiful village of Norway. We will go ashore and explore the village and the area.
The morning will be used to explore the area of Tysfjord by land or Zodiac. A long hike might lead to a gigantic waterfall, while others might simply walk up to a beautiful cascade in this “alpine” area. This is the narrowest part of Norway and was formerly used by Sami reindeer herders of Sweden and Norway.
Gjesværstappan Islands, Norway
During the morning Silver Cloud will head for the Gjesværstappan Nature Reserve –one of Europe’s most accessible and largest nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. In the late morning Silver Cloud will anchor off the Gjesværstappan Islands. We will use our Zodiacs to circumnavigate Storstappen, the largest of the islands, looking for European Shags, Common and Brünnich’s Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, White-tailed Sea-eagles and Europe’s largest Atlantic Puffin colony. In the evening Silver Cloud will sail north, rounding North Cape with its impressive cliffs.
Once we arrive in Kirkenes –the end of the famous Hurtigruten-Coastal/Postal service- one option will be to drive southward into the Pasvik Valley sitting between Russia and Finland. There we can go for nature walks to observe the valley’s unique birds and plants. The Pasvik Valley is one of the last wilderness areas in Europe and has Norway’s highest concentration of brown bears. The tour also includes a visit to Høyde 96, a former military observation tower dating from the Cold War affording good views of the Pasvik Valley. Another option might be heading west along Munkefjord to visit.
Bear Island (Bjørnøya), Norway
Almost half way between Tromsø and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna. Because of the large numbers of birds and the isolated location, Bear Island has been.
Cruise & Explore Svalbard
Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea.
There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the northern hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Longyearbyen is the biggest settlement in Svalbard. Seat of the Norwegian administration, it also has the best services and infrastructure in the archipelago. Located deep in the Adventfjord, a sidearm of the Isfjorden (Icefjord). Longyearbyen’s airport can be used all-year round, but its harbor is blocked by ice in winter.