Jewels of the Arctic Expedition Cruise with Tom Grove
Oslo – Reykjavik
- Get up-close with Spitsbergen’s dramatic fjords
- Sail along East Greenland’s magnificent coastline
- Marvel at the world’s largest icebergs in Scoresbysund
- Interact with the friendly Inuit communities share their culture
- Explore the wildlife-rich Arctic – polar bears, walrus, seals, reindeer, sea birds, musk oxen, arctic fox, arctic hare and whales
- Visit the world’s largest national park in North East Greenland and the world’s largest fjord system, Scoresbysund
- Celebrate near-endless sunlight under the glistening midnight sun Cruise among the fantastic shapes and colours of Greenland’s famous giant icebergs
- Visit a small isolated Greenlandic village, Ittoqqortoomiit
Tom Grove, Managing Director of Coates Wildlife Tours is excited to be escorting a small group of Coates’ guests in 2020 to discover the wonders of Svalbard’s northwest coast, Greenland’s spectacular east coast and a touch of Iceland on board the new Greg Mortimer Expedition Ship, a modern and custom-designed ship at the cutting edge of nautical technology.
As Aurora Expeditions share our ethos of providing genuine natural history experiences whilst preserving and protecting the environment, we have worked with them to put a package together exclusively for Coates’ travellers on this voyage, which includes the 15 day cruise plus the airfare from Oslo to Kirkenes as well as pre and post cruise accommodation and activities at no additional cost.
Our days will be jam-packed with unforgettable moments: while cruising the icy waters of the Greenland Sea between Iceland and Spitsbergen, keep an eye out for whales, sea ice and countless sea birds. We will Zodiac cruise amongst gigantic icebergs, revel in gorgeous tundra walks, spot Arctic foxes, musk ox, walrus and polar bears. Greenland’s breathtaking mountainous landscapes will leave you speechless and Inuit communities will make you feel at home whilst we stop by their small settlement, Ittoqqortoormiit. These are the jewels of the Arctic!
Join Tom and 12 fellow Coates travellers on this once in a lifetime adventure.
Day 1 Arrival in Oslo
Meet Tom and your fellow Coates passengers this evening for a welcome dinner and drinks at the hotel. Accommodation: Thon Hotel Opera including breakfast.
DAY 2 Oslo to Kirkenes
Transfer to Oslo Airport for your flight Kirkenes on the northern coast of Norway.
Upon arrival, enjoy a half day excursion or activity. Late afternoon sees us warmly welcomed on board the Greg Mortimer.
DAYS 3–4 At Sea
Over the next two days at sea, enjoy informative and entertaining lectures from our expert expedition team including naturalists and historians before reaching Svalbard’s southeast coast.
DAY 5 East Coast Svalbard and Hinlopen Strait
As the Greg Mortimer passes between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya, we cross a major polar bear migration route and the beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset. The spongy ground is richly covered with bright green mosses, a variety of delicate and colourful flowers, particularly the yellow marsh (bog) saxifrage, various mushrooms, fungi, clear bubbling streams and small tarns. Tiny (micro) flowers such as Mouse Ears grow in Spitsbergen creating faerie like mossy rock gardens. We look for polar bears hunting on pack ice and we may explore this beautiful terrain on foot, marvelling at the contrast between the colourful soft ground and the barren, rocky terrain from further north. Reindeer antlers lie scattered along the ground. If conditions allow, we will pass through the narrow Hinlopen Strait. The strait is flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils. We may visit Alkefjellet in the Strait, where a series of one-hundred-metre-high dolerite towers are home to nearly a million nesting Brünnich’s guillemots – the penguins of the north – that occupy every available nook and cranny. Elsewhere we seek out eider ducks and geese, and hope to spot walrus, Arctic fox and the beautiful ivory gulls.
DAYS 6–7 Greenland Sea and Pack Ice
As we cruise west across the Greenland Sea – the main outlet of the Arctic Ocean – we may encounter whales feeding in the productive waters of the north. Sightings of fin whales are common and blue whales have been seen in more recent years. As we begin to approach Greenland, we will likely encounter the East Greenland pack ice, and if we are lucky we will see polar bears hunting for prey. The strong icy currents have isolated East Greenland from the Polar Basin, attracting large numbers of fish, seals and whales. Climatic conditions and the concentration of ice in the vicinity often create thick morning fog that vanishes with the onset of the midday sun. Our experts will inform and entertain us with fascinating discussions on plants, animals, ice, and early explorers like Nansen, Andree and Scoresby. Conditions permitting, there may be a chance for kayakers to launch their sea kayaks and the rest of us to cruise in the sea ice with Zodiacs. Perhaps if we have had a good crossing, we may even have the opportunity to make our first landing on the Greenland coast, weather permitting. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months each year. Home to polar bear, snowy owl and musk ox, it’s the world’s largest national park, covering 972,000 square kilometres; most of which is inland ice and the rest a composite fjord landscape.
DAYS 8–14 East Coast Greenland including kaiser Josef Fjord and Scoresbysund
We will attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord we will marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains and land in a few places to explore the landscape and wildlife of Greenland. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions. We aim to reach Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord and a favourite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers dump into this fjord, the birthplace of the famous big Greenland icebergs.
We hope to visit the remote Inuit community of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresby Town) and to hike across the tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Paleo-Eskimos.
This area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking in its maze of calm, interconnecting waterways. We will keep a sharp eye out for musk oxen, Arctic hare and seals, and maybe if we are very lucky even a polar bear or narwhal. Scoresbysund offers many opportunities for walking cruising and kayaking so we will spend our days exploring the land, the ice and the sea. Other Landings along the coast may include:
Cape Humboldt – a beautiful point on Ymer Island. There is a good chance to take a tundra walk and witness musk oxen grazing. We will also keep a lookout for Arctic fox and ptarmigan. A lone trapper’s hut looks over the bay and magnificent icebergs.
Blomsterbugten – An important site for paleo-eskimoes and more modern trappers, we may have a great opportunity to walk in the tundra with musk oxen or Arctic hare to a spectacular overlook onto Lake Noa which is pink with fine sediments.
Sefstrom Glacier adorns the narrow- peaked waterway in Alpefjord. We will Zodiac cruise (and kayak) around the snout of the glacier and deeper into the fjord behind. We can return along magnificent cliffs that are festooned with small colourful gardens of Arctic flowers growing wherever water is
available. Ittoqqortoormiit is Scoresbysund’s colourful Inuit community of approximately 500 people. Feel free to explore the village, fascinating museum or sit quietly in the beautiful Lutheran Church. The people are friendly, and the young children vie for our attention from underneath their Arctic fox-fur jackets. Sydkap in Scoresbysund offers good walking and delightful views up Øfjord and into Hall Brednung. Kayakers will have good opportunities to explore the lonely beaches. We may explore the ancient gravesites on shore, or nearby giant icebergs that offer hours of enjoyment for kayak and Zodiac excursions.
Røde Ø – one of the most remarkable collections of beautiful icebergs in the world. A combination of shallows near the island and tidal currents strand hundreds of large iceberg in a small area around Røde Ø, or Red Island. The contrast between the magnificent blue of the ice and the red sandstone landscape is breathtaking.
Other possible landing points in the area include: Rømer Fjord, Rypefjord, Ø Fjord, Fonfjord, Bjornøya, Milne Land, Hekla Havn, Denmark Island, Nordvestfjord and Eskimobugt.
DAY 15 Denmark Strait
In the Denmark Strait, we sail towards Iceland. Keep a lookout for whale blows and the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever present Arctic winds. Enjoy the time to reflect on your recent adventures, share and exchange photos, and soak in the fresh ocean air. As we near Iceland, you will find we are returning to the rest of the world as we encounter fishing vessels working the coastal waters.
DAY 16 Disembark Reykjavik
During the early morning we arrive into Reykjavik. Disembark the Greg Mortimer and enjoy a full day Golden Circle Iceland tour.
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavic including breakfast
Day 17 Depart Reykjavik to home port.
Itinerary is guide only. Itinerary is subject to ice and weather conditions.
The embarkation point for this voyage may be impacted by the finish point of the preceding voyage. We will be able to provide you with firmer details 12 months prior to departure.
25th July 2020 – 10th August 2020
TOUR FULL – Please contact us
- Escorted by Tom Grove
- 1 night at a centrally located accommodation incl breakfast and dinner๏Flight from Olslo to Kirkenes
- Group transfer from Kirkenes airport to ship
- Half day tour or activity in Kirkenes
- Fully-serviced accommodation in your chosen stateroom
- Daily shore excursions, guided walks, Zodiac cruises
- An experienced team of destination specialists and activity leaders
- An informative and entertaining lecture program by our team of experts
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner.๏House wines, beers & soft drinks with dinner.
- Afternoon tea and snacks
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non- alcoholic beverages
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Pre-dinner drinks including canapes and bar snacks
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket๏Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Complimentary use of fitness centre๏Comprehensive pre-departure information๏Complimentary access to on board expedition doctor and medical clinic๏Personalised photo book from your voyage)
- Entry fees to historic or tourist sites๏Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your bill. Please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed
- Port, pilotage charges and landing fees๏Full day tour in Reykjavik
Trip Dossier (PDF)
To make a booking please contact us to enquire about availability