Sailing area: Spitzberg
Adventurers, explorers and sailors looking for nature, this destination is for you! Wait no more to book your boat in the northernmost region of Norway, the kingdom of the Vikings. Svalbard - literally meaning "cold coast" - is an archipelago formed on one side by rocks that have been cracked by the frost, which create typical landscapes with pointed and steep peaks and coal-rich layers of sediment. Throughout the 20th century, this resource has provided the main economic basis for the island stimulating the neighbouring countries such as the former URSS and leading to the creation of the first towns and villages in these distant lands. Today, only two of the thirty islands are inhabited: Spitzberg and its capital Longyearbyen, 2,321 habitants, where the only airport in the archipelago can be found, and Bjørnøya (in Norwegian "the island of Bears"), which only has nine residents. Relatively unknown, these islands will delight budding explorers with their untamed and mysterious appearance. This isolated archipelago covered with ice holds many wonders to be discovered by sea.
Located less than 1,100 km from the North Pole, the archipelago enjoys a relatively mild climate compared to other zones located at the same latitude. Although the thermometer falls to less than 20°C in the winter, temperatures are positive in the summer, with an average of 4°C in August. Although more moderate, summer temperatures may drop very quickly once the sun is hidden behind one of the region's pointed mountains. Therefore, it is necessary to bring the right clothing adapted to extremely cold temperatures.
Two-thirds of this archipelago's land is constantly covered by ice and its northernmost waters are frozen more than eight months a year. The perfect time for sailing in this zone is from the end of April to September. At this period, the midnight sun lights up the sky and a tributary of the Gulf Stream warms the waters of the western coast enough to melt the ice.
Although, in reality, this season is the only possible option for leisure boats, it is nevertheless very difficult to sail there. Indeed, apart from drifting icebergs, the proximity with the North Pole scrambles navigation instruments. Therefore, you will not be able to count on your compass or your GPS because there is no satellite coverage. Therefore, navigation is visual. We strongly recommend that you take to the sea with a skipper who knows the area and will ensure your safety and take you to visit the most beautiful places in the archipelago.
If you love nature, you should sail in Svarbald. 80% of its territory is protected land: 15 bird reserves, 1 geotope protection zone, 7 national parks and 6 nature reserves await you! Rent your boat now in order to take advantage of this virgin and protected space. You will discover a perfectly preserved and amazing ecosystem.
In Spitzberg, set sail aboard your boat rental and set out on an adventure towards Isfjord, the largest fjord in the archipelago, which measures almost 105 km long and 12 km wide. You will never forget the magnificent entry to this fjord. Then, continue your route along the western shore of Trygghamna fjord where you will find the Alkhornet Cliff. The rock of this monumental cliff measuring 423 metres high is more than a billion years old. It is home to thousands of birds that will welcome you with a magnificent aerial display.
Next, sail in Kongsfjorden (Bay of the King), surrounded by two imposing glaciers, the Konebreen and the Kongsvegen. Famous for being one of the most beautiful fjords on the island, it has an extremely rich marine life. Seals, whales and polar bears are just some of the animals you will be able to see in this bay. Continue your cruise in the neighbouring fjord of Krossfjorden (Cross Bay). Try kayaking in this wild setting of plutonic rocks in order to get as close as possible to the foxes and reindeer that roam the tundra.
Then, set your sights on the north and visit Madeleine Bay and the Monaco glacier, two other exceptional sites not to be missed at any cost. Along your route, you are invited to stop and visit inland areas. Ski touring, hiking, dog-sled rides, you will be spoiled for choice.
And for those still hungry for adventure, make your way to Bear Island, a few hundred kilometres south of Spitzberg. The landscapes are similar to those of its larger relative but the peace and quiet is even more apparent. With just nine inhabitants all year round, you will definitely feel alone in the world. The perfect place for a spiritual retreat or for writing a book!
Longyearbyen, Spitzberg ...