Iceland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard – M/V Greg Mortimer

Resort:Iceland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard - M/V Greg Mortimer
Operator: Explore
Destination: Arctic, Europe, Norway
Price From: £4800.00

Over View

Discover the staggering beauty of Iceland’s Westfjords. Visit the remote and seldom-visited Jan Mayen island, the world’s northernmost active volcanic island and enjoy Svalbard’s northwest coast, at the culmination of your voyage. See dramatic bird cliffs and puffins nesting on ledges, marvel at volcanic geology or Zodiac cruise through impressive glacier-filled fjords and witness walrus hauled out on the pack ice, as you keep a watchful eye out for polar bears and their offspring.
Sail through the pack ice – keeping an eye out for breaching whales and enigmatic walrus
Zodiac cruise – under dramatic bird cliffs in Iceland’s staggeringly beautiful Westfjords
Be one of fortunate few – to visit remote Jan Mayen Island
Sail within 600 miles – of the North Pole


Day 1 Embark the M/V Greg Mortimer in Reykjavik

After making your own way to Reykjavik pier, embark the M/V Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin, before the important safety briefings begin.

Day 2 West and North-West Iceland

One third of Iceland’s coastline is in the Westfjords, and the entire peninsula is carved and cut by long fjords. The Westfjords region is home to Latrabjarg; the westernmost point in Europe, and one of the continent’s most remarkable seabird breeding cliffs – a delight for birdlovers. It is one of the best places in Iceland to photograph puffins, which you will have the opportunity to enjoy, depending on weather conditions. Over the next two days, we will explore this magnificent coastline. Our first stop will be the small town of safjorur, which is infact, the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula, with some 2,600 inhabitants. It is an ancient church site and has been a trading post since the 16th century. The growth of the town was triggered by salt fish production and the fishing industry still remains the town’s main activity, along with tourism.

Day 3 West and North-West Iceland

Today, we visit nearby Hornstrandir Nature Reserve which is a peninsula only accessible by boat or by foot and is inhabited by Arctic foxes, seals, birds and the occasional hiker. We plan to Zodiac cruise along the shoreline of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and will attempt a landing, subject to approval by the park ranger.

Day 4 At Sea

Cross the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island accompanied by sea birds, while keeping a look out for whales in the waters below. Enjoy a presentation from our team of experts and get to know your fellow expeditioners.

Day 5 Visit Jan Mayen

The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge Beerenberg volcano (2,277 metres) is the world’s northernmost active volcano, which last erupted in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach as far as the sea. If the weather is on our side, we will try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land to the front of the Norwegian station at Olonkinbyen, visiting the weather station, before embarking on a three-hour hike to the other side of the Island, where the ship will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta. Our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship from this point.

Day 6 At Sea

The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities, with the possibility of seeing bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice. Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue north, retracing the route of Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who discovered Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea, which is named after him.

Day 7 At Sea

It’s breeding season for the harp seals and we hope to see them breeding on the sea ice as we continue to sail towards north. As we approach Svalbard, all eyes will be focused on spotting polar bears in the pack ice or roaming the tundra.

Day 8 Northern Svalbard, Moffen Island, Crossing 80 North

We plan to cross 80 North, always on the lookout for polar bears on the pack ice, to reach Moffen Island which is famous for its large walrus colony.

Day 9 Northwest Corner of Spitsbergen and West Coast

In the coming days, depending on the weather and sea ice conditions, we may explore sites including the incredibly scenic Kongsfjorden, or Kings Bay, a fjord headed by two giant glaciers. Perhaps spend time ashore to hike on the lush tundra among the early summer flowers and observe the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier. Here, puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs.

Day 10 Northwest Corner of Spitsbergen and West Coast

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 Amsterdamya. 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 .

Day 11 Arrive Longyearbyen

During the early morning, we cruise into Longyearbyen. Enjoy a tour of Longyearbyen, before an onward transfer to the airport in the early afternoon.