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This expedition will explore 3 wildly unique and captivating destinations. Discover the stunning otherworldly landscapes of Iceland, before heading to the mystical seldom-visited volcanic island of Jan Mayen keeping watch for many whale species. This formidable adventure reaches its climax as you explore the mesmerising wildlife mecca of northwest Svalbard, using Zodiacs to witness towering bird cliffs, giant glaciers and icebergs up-close, and to search for the majestic polar bear, whales, walrus and arctic fox.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Days 2-3: West and North-West Iceland
Day 4: At Sea
Day 5: Jan Mayen
Day 6 -7: At Sea, Have some time in the Pack Ice
Day 8: Svalbard North, Pack Ice, Moffen, 80°N
Days 9-10: Northwest Corner of Spitsbergen and West Coast
Day 11: Longyearbyen
Your voyage will depart from Reykjavik late in the afternoon, which gives you some time to explore the capital and largest city of Iceland. We recommend you arrive a couple of days prior to your expedition to discover many of the secret delights of Iceland, including the famous Golden Circle tour.
You will head out to the Westfjords where you will see the Látrabjarg – the westernmost point in Europe and one of the continent’s most fascinating seabird breeding cliffs, an ideal location for bird lovers. You can spot birds such as the adorable puffin. Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula with 2,600 inhabitants. The main activity is the fish industry and tourism has grown in recent years. The expedition will take you nearby Hornstrandir nature reserve, a peninsula accessible by boat or by foot where you can observe Arctic fox, seals and birds.
You will navigate through the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island. Head out on deck, and keep an eye on the ocean as whales could make an appearance at any time, as well as many different seabirds. You can also go to the gym or get a massage while traversing the sea and enjoy fascinating presentations from the expert guides.
While approaching the volcanic island, the huge Beerenberg volcano will certainly be the first thing that will appear. It is 2,277 metres in height and the world’s northernmost active volcano. Its last eruption was in 1985. If the weather conditions are on your side, you could visit the weather station on the west coast of the island. You will then commence the journey in a three-hour hike through the island. The Zodiacs will be waiting and will transport you back to the ship. Also, the northern part of the island is a great spot to see whales, dolphins, and majestic glaciers reaching the sea for some of them.
You will sail to Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago. On your departure, the sea around Jan Mayen is a great location for whale-watching as you can encounter the bottlenose, the fin and possibly the bowhead whales. As we approach Svalbard, you will find a large walrus colony and perhaps, the majestic polar bear.
You will cross 80 ° North to reach Moffen Island, a small island on the northern coast of Spitsbergen, where it is likely to see a large walrus colony.
We will navigate to the Northwest of Spitsbergen - the main island of Svalbard and we may explore the majestic Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay). Depending on the weather and sea ice conditions, you could spend time ashore and go hiking on the lush tundra and observe the flora growing in this beautiful scenery. Polar bears and Arctic foxes can be spotted in the region and you may observe the fascinating bird cliffs like the puffins near the 14th July Glacier, a glacier named after the National Day of France. These stunning sites will also bring you a sense of history with the 350-year-old remains of Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya. The visit of Raudfjord has remarkable glaciers and bird cliffs. You will have the opportunity to go hiking on Ytre Norskya where you will admire a stunning view of the north coast of Spitsbergen.
You will cruise into Longyearbyen early in the morning, giving you the opportunity to visit the fascinating Arctic town before a transfer to the airport in the afternoon.
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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