From the lush green mosses and bustling bird cliffs of Iceland to the stark, sublime beauty of Jan Mayen and the High Arctic wonderland of Svalbard, embrace the breathtaking contrasts of the arctic on this singular expedition. Zodiac-cruise through glacier-filled fjords, take a guided hike across the arctic tundra, search for polar bears and walruses, and embrace a rare opportunity to visit the world’s northernmost active volcano.
After making your own way to Reykjavik pier, embark the Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon and depart Reykjavik.
Discover Iceland's staggeringly beautiful Westfjords region, home to the cliffs at Látrabjarg - the Westernmost point in Europe, and one of the best places in Iceland to photograph puffins, an opportunity you'll have on a Zodiac cruise. Visit the tiny town of Ísafjörður, the largest in the Westfjords with some 2,600 inhabitants. It is an ancient church site and has been a trading post since the 16th century. At nearby Hornstrandir, a peninsula accessible only by boat or by foot and inhabited by Arctic fox, seals, birds and the occasional hiker, we plan to Zodiac cruise along the shoreline and attempt a landing, subject to approval by the park ranger.
Cross the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen island accompanied by sea birds while keeping a look out for whales. Enjoy a presentation from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners.
The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. We will attempt to land on this remote, mist-shrouded and rarely visited volcanic island – the Northernmost island on the mid-Atlantic rift. The Northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers.
The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities (bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice). Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue North. It's breeding season for the harp seals and we hope to see them breeding on the sea ice. As we approach Svalbard, all eyes will be focused on spotting polar bears in the pack ice.
We plan to cross 80° North, always on the lookout for polar bears on the pack ice, to reach Moffen Island, famous for its large walrus colony. In the coming days, depending on the weather and sea ice conditions, we may explore sites including the incredibly scenic Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay), a fjord headed by two giant glaciers. Perhaps spend time ashore to hike on the lush tundra amongst the early summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs. Keep watch for polar bears and Arctic fox and feel a sense of history at the 350-year-old remains of a Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya. We may visit Raudfjord which features fascinating geology, glaciers and bird cliffs. A possible hike on Ytre Norskya offers splendid views to the north coast of Spitsbergen and maybe even to the North Pole in clear weather!
During the early morning we cruise into Longyearbyen. Farewell your expedition team and fellow expeditioners as we all continue our onward journeys. Enjoy a town tour of Longyearbyen before an onward transfer to the airport. End of arrangements.
Maximum number of passengers: 126
We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
-Zodiac cruise under dramatic bird cliffs in Iceland's Westfjords
-Be one of a few people in the world to visit remote Jan Mayen island
-Search for the polar bear in Svalbard, the Arctic's apex predator and most beguiling creature
-Hike through a marvellous, diverse terrain: ice caps, tundra, polar desert and rocky hillsides
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Optional activities: The following activity packages are available on this expedition at an additional cost and may require previous experience. These must be pre-booked/pre-paid at time of booking.
Sea Kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world is an experience guaranteed to refresh your soul. Paddling in small groups, you'll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife.
Photography FREE. All expeditions offer fantastic photography experiences. On selected expeditions, a photography expert will offer lectures and presentations.
About the vessel, Greg Mortimer
This 104m ship is purpose-built for expeditions to world-class polar standards and capable of negotiating strong winds/waves. Accommodating 100 landing passengers plus kayakers and divers (in the polar regions), with an average of 120 per voyage, the ship is not only bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, but its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean.