Over the next six days, you’ll explore the Svalbard archipelago. This is one of the northernmost inhabited areas in the world (around 3,000 people live here; two-thirds of them in the town of Longyearbyen), sitting halfway between the mainland of Norway and the North Pole. Historically the islands’ economy revolved around trapping and whaling. Today most of the archipelago is protected—as nature reserves, national parks, and bird sanctuaries—and sustainability is the new focus.
The stops described here are an example of ones you might call at. The captain of Silver Cloud
and expedition leaders will adjust it according to weather conditions and to optimize opportunities for wildlife sightings.
Hornsund is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island, the largest in Svalbard and the only one that is inhabited. In the shadow of soaring jagged peaks, you’ll be able to spot little auks, beluga whales, bearded seals, and ringed seals. Since 1973, Magdalenefjorden has been part of the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park. Weather conditions permitting, you’ll be able to land at Gravneset to explore some of the park, including the ruins of a 17th-century British whaling station. On the northern coast of Spitsbergen, Liefdefjorden is one of the island’s most scenic fjords extending for almost 20 miles into the interior.
Wherever you call in the Svalbard Archipelago, you are guaranteed dramatic landscapes and opportunities to spot some of the many animals that inhabit the region.