The encounter with the animals and the magic of the landscapes of the arctic. The mining villages and the centre of scientific studies. The emotions of a journey in the Great North, from the discover sailing among the fjords and coast ice, between the silence and the wild nature
The archipelago of Norwegian islands of Svalbard is the Arctic possible. Baptized Spitzbergen, “Terre sharp”, from the Dutch captain Willem Barents, who discovered them in 1596, is a land of wild, rugged, and weather conditions are often extreme, but now organized to offer tourism evolved and respectful manner the possibility of exploring, perhaps with a cruise on a sailing boat, “a world apart”.
How to visit the Svalbard Islands
Virtually no roads, apart from those few kilometers that develop inside and around population centres, Svalbard, one of the most remote places of the Earth, does not allow you to move around in freedom, even in the presence of the polar bears that require a whole series of behaviors and equipment suitable to ensure your safety, and that of the entire group of hikers: to be clear, we are not in Iceland. Depending on the season, and if you are not lucky enough to be part of a real scientific expedition, you will have to rely on tourist organisations specialised in excursions of one or more days, constructing, piece by piece, their personal itinerary. Given the few available places, the board, is to book well in advance, enjoy the journey to Christmas and summer.
Cruise to Svalbard on a sailing boat
Small boats, fast “zodiac”, snowmobiles, sleds pulled by teams of nordic dogs are the means that allow you to explore in the archipelago, but also if the places reached, and the different experiences are really unique, remains unsatisfied that sense of “journey of discovery” made by the stages that follow one another day after day with a sense of the unknown and surprise. A trip of this type is possible only on board of a boat, better still a sailing boat, an opportunity that, even in this corner of the world, as well as the 74° parallel, begins to be proposed. Us of Where we had the opportunity to do this project with Globe Sailor.
Navigation in the arctic
We embarked on a ketch of 21 metres, theAztec Lady, equipped for navigation in the arctic to reach and exceed the 80° parallel. With eight companions and three of the crew, we departed from Longyearbyen, the capital of the archipelago and the seat of the airport, up along the west coast and sail toward the north in search of the polar icepack. The boat is comfortable and the wooden bridge is warm and welcoming. Maps and books devoted to the Great North are at your disposal for moments of relaxation. During the cruise to the Svalbard sailing in solitude, along glacial tongues which extend towards the sea, entering between the fjords and close to the coasts to board two small boats that allow landings to do land excursions.
Reindeer, seals and walruses
The observation of colonies of marine birds, arctic foxes, reindeer, whales, seals and walruses absorbs a great part of our time, as long as we are trekking in the interior, always in a group and accompanied by the crew. The security is guaranteed by a responsible behavior and a couple of rifles of large caliber that necessarily must be taken during the land excursions, to defend themselves in case of animal attacks.
Meetings with the polar bears
Encounters with bears are a possibility for real, as it has happened to us on more than one occasion during the cruise at Svalbard, and the emotion of those moments remain forever. The landscapes that you encounter are of a disarming beauty, but the journey will conclude after discovering other realities, such as the mining towns of Russian Pyramiden and Barentsbourg, almost uninhabited, and the scientific centre of Ny-Ålesund, outpost for nordic shared by the international scientific community, the places where the human presence, albeit respectful of the environment in some way appears to me to be strident in these lands of the great cold.
Boat with Globe Sailor
The cruise to Svalbard is only one of the possibilities offered by Globe Sailor, an organization based in Paris specialising in the research in the world of boats for hire. The company has developed a search engine that offers boats and hundreds of owners and professionals in more than 150 destinations, for a total of 9500 boats, with or without a skipper.
Globe Sailor also offers the possibility to participate in cruises all over the world, offering places in the cabin for travel details, embarking as passengers without any experience or knowledge of seamanship. There you enjoy then the winter sea to the Seychelles, to the Grenadines or the Virgin Islands, getting on a cruise at affordable prices. Or you begin to think about summer, to explore the islands of Greece and Croatia in the boat.