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Discover the mythical landscapes of Spitsbergen combined with a spectacular exploration of the east coast of Greenland. Zodiac cruise past calving glaciers amidst a labyrinth of gigantic icebergs in the world’s largest fjord at Scoresby Sund, spot polar bears hunting and thousands of seabirds nesting in the majestic Spitsbergen cliffs. Walk amongst tundra abundant with wildlife, keeping watch for reindeer, musk oxen and arctic fox and experience remote Inuit settlements.
Day 1: Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Days 2-3: Spitsbergen
Days 4-5: Greenland Sea
Days 6-8: Greenland
Days 9-11: Greenland
Day 12: Greenland
Day 13: Denmark Strait
Day 14: Iceland
Arrive at the colourful town of Longyearbyen, famed for being the world’s most northerly town. You will board the Polar Pioneer in the late afternoon, and receive a warm welcome from the expedition team.
Sail along the spectacular northwest coast of Spitsbergen. This region features stunning glacial landscapes, steep cliff faces where thousands of Brunnich’s guillemots, kittiwakes and little auks nest, ancient whaling stations and trapper’s camps. The expert crew will arrange unique itineraries based on local weather and ice conditions, that may include venturing aboard Zodiacs to Monacobreed (one of the largest glaciers in Spitsbergen), setting foot on land amongst the Arctic tundra to spot reindeer, walrus and possibly the infamous polar bear.
Crossing the Greenland Sea, keep watch for fin whales and seabirds. Onboard, the expert guides arrange fascinating talks about the animals, plants and exploration history of Greenland, to prepare for your arrival. Conditions permitting, you may make your first landing on the northeast coast of Greenland, on the lookout for Arctic hare, polar bear and the majestic (albeit skittish!) musk oxen.
81% of Greenland is covered by an ice cap, and even in summer, the pack ice can fill northern regions. Your Captain and expedition team evaluate conditions locally and will guide you to the hidden gems of eastern Greenland. You may visit Kaiser Franz Fjord, a trekkers paradise featuring historic trapper’s huts. Enjoy tundra walks through wildflowers, where you may spot eider ducks, Arctic hare and musk ox. Further possible landings include Kap Humboldt with its hanging gardens, and the glacier-carved mountainous vistas surrounding the crystalline waters of Kong Oscar Fjord.
The ship continues along Greenland’s rugged east coast on a southerly heading, conditions permitting, you will arrive at the extraordinary Scoresby Sund – the largest fjord in the world. Zodiac cruise through the labyrinth of towering icebergs and ice sculptures created here calved from the enormous glaciers. Surrounding mountain peaks rise dramatically to 6500 feet above sea level, creating the perfect backdrop for endless photographic moments. Keep watch for arctic fox, muskox, arctic hares and reindeer in this region, attracted to the fertile volcanic soils. Opt to explore the endless icy passages by kayak, keeping watch for the possible sighting of narwhal and polar bear. Visit Ittoqqortoormiit, home to a charming Inuit community that rely on hunting and fishing to survive in one of the most remote locations in the world, cut off by ice for nine months a year.
Heading south along the Blosseville Coast, you will search for musk ox and narwhals with the possibility of making further landings at the beautiful Rømer Fjord, weather permitting. This deep fjord is the site of some otherworldly thermal hot springs, encircled by lush flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for seals popping their curious heads out of the water, and for polar bears which are known to roam in the area.
En-route to Iceland, you cross the Denmark Strait, keeping watch for dolphins, orcas, northern fulmars and black-backed gulls. Relax and enjoy the final night celebrations with the team and your newfound friends, sharing stories, photos and looking back on the amazing adventure you have experienced.
Following breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow explorers as you disembark in Reykjavik where you will be transferred to the airport or downtown for your onwards voyage.
The Greg Mortimer is named after the Australian polar explorer, mountaineer and Aurora founder, Greg Mortimer. Its the first ship in a series of landmark, purpose-built Polar Expedition ships for Aurora and features a state-of-the-art 'x-bow design', which has a piercing effect on smaller waves, making for a much smoother voyage.
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