This ten to twelve day voyage from the Netherlands to Spitsbergen offers the chance to observe a wide and amazing variety of wildlife. Along with the many different species of whales, you may also see dolphin, seals and a variety of seabirds. You are also given the opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty and mystique of the volcanic island of Jan Mayen. Depending on the position of the sea-ice, we sail into Raudfjord or one of the other majestic fjords in Northwest Spitsbergen, where we have chances of seeing Polar Bears as well as seals who can be caught sunbathing on the fjord-ice. Visiting Fuglehuken, the northern tip of Prince Karls Forland, rounds out this trip offering more beautiful seabird-colonies and wildlife including Reindeer and the Arctic Foxs.
North Atlantic Odyssey Whale Safari itinerary:
Passengers will board the ship in Aberdeen.
The Scottish waters offer excellent possibilities to spot Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including Orcas (Killer Whales), are also native to these waters.
At Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, we are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants (famed for their knitwear, examples of which we will see) to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Later, on Mousa, one of the smaller Shetland Islands, we visit one of the best preserved brochs in Scotland. Brochs are circular stone towers probably built by the Picts. During a night excursion we will watch thousands of Storm Petrels return to their burrows or crevices.
By day we view Grey Seals, Black Guillemots, Red-throated Divers, Arctic Skuas and a wonderful Spring Flora.
Days 3 & 4
We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During our two days at sea there will be plenty of time to watch for the blow of a Minke, Fin or Blue Whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps we might run into a pod of Orcas, who can often be quite curious about boats such as ours.
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island of breathtaking beauty and mystique, dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities we hope to visit the weather station. We will also walk across the island to Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of Fulmars. We also plan to sail by Koksletta where thousands of Little Auks and Brünnich's Guillemots breed close to a glacier, watched over by Glaucous Gulls.
Days 6 & 7
In the midnight sun we sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for different species of whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of seabirds, until the sea-ice stops us, then we will sail to North Spitsbergen.
Depending on the position of the sea-ice, we sail into Raudfjord or one of the other fjords in Northwest Spitsbergen, where we have chances of seeing Polar Bears at the heads of the fjords, where seals are sunbathing on the fjord-ice. At Fuglesangen we have an opportunity to see thousands of Little Auks on their breeding grounds.
Fuglehuken the northern tip of Prince Karls Forland is probably the place where Willem Barentsz made the first landing in Spitsbergen. It is an area with beautiful seabird-colonies and many remains of the Polar Bear hunting period of a century ago. Later we will look for Walruses at Sarstangen, Engelskmansbukta or Poole-Pynten. In the evening we could land at Alkhornet another seabird colony where at the slopes we can find Reindeer and Arctic Foxes.
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for flights south to Oslo and onward home.
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 91 meters
Beam: 18 meters
Speed (average): 12 knots
Built / Refurbished: 1989 / 2007
Capacity: 106 (in twin & triple cabins)
The ice-strengthened vessel “Ortelius” is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing us with possibilities to adventure remote locations such as the Ross Sea.
“Ortelius” was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named “Marina Svetaeva”, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed “Ortelius”. Ortelius was a Dutch / Flemish cartographer. Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598) published the first modern world atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Theatre of the World in 1570. At that time, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed.
The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. “Ortelius” is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to the passengers. The vessel is manned by 34 highly experienced Russian nautical crew, 15 international catering staff, including stewardesses, 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.
”Ortelius” offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 100 on the “Ortelius”, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.