With Valiente across the Barents Sea!

The Barents Sea Crossing

Welcome on board for a completely wild experience! A chance to join a voyage far outside your comfort zone. An experience miles away from everyday life, so different that coming home may never be the same again. An adventure most sailors don’t even dream of making. We are crossing the Barents Sea in April and you are invited!

You get the opportunity to join the adventure and arrive to Svalbard in a way few even think is possible. This is by no means the trip for the average Svalbard tourist, but the trip for you who are looking for genuine and real travel experiences. For those who want to struggle, live, laugh, explore and enjoy. And not least arrive to Svalbard by sailboat! We will have wind in our sails, salty water in our hair and experience an Arctic ocean crossing at its most spectacular!

Across the ocean

The voyage is a total of 600 nautical miles. The crossing of the Barents Sea is a fantastic experience, and we sail through the bright polar night. With the sailboat as a means of transport, we come close to the forces of nature across the sea. We depart in the end of April, and during this time of the year we can get quite some weather and strong winds out in the Barents Sea. Our expedition boat Valiente is an exceptionally seaworthy boat that can withstand Arctic conditions. A boat we are completely confident in and which is made for ocean sailing. The perfect opportunity to really get to feel the weather, wind, cold, heat, sea, sense of achievement and team-work! The question will rather be if all of us manage to build strong sea legs? 

To Bjørnøya and Svalbard

As we leave the mainland, we only have the sea in front of us until we reach Bjørnøya, a little more than halfway to Svalbard. If conditions allow, we hope to land here, but as always when sailing; the weather decides.

As we reach the southern tip of Svalbard, we’ll be greeted by the typical Svalbard nature with its iconic mountains, deep fjords and massive glaciers. We sail past the fjords on South-West Spitsbergen; Hornsund and Bellsund, where glaciers meet and calve in the sea. A spectacular sight! 

Our expedition vessel, Valiente

It’s not any sailboat we use on this trip, but our 70-foot expedition boat Valiente. She is a very sturdy and comfortable boat built in steel for sailing in arctic waters. The boat is amply equipped and has large outdoor areas, a wheelhouse, and a saloon with a 360-degree view. Here you can see pictures and read more about Valiente.

Be part of the crew on board

Our skipper and co-skipper on board will include everyone in sailing the boat and all tasks on board. From standing behind the helm and hoisting sails, to cooking, cleaning and planning of the legs. We mostly sail around the clock and divide everyone into watch teams, where we rotate with 4 hours on and 8 hours off. In addition, we add a few shorter shifts each afternoon, so that the night shifts also rotate between the watch teams throughout the expedition. Nevertheless, it is often the bright polar night when you only hear the sounds of the wind and lapping waves, that create the best memories! When we arrive at Bjørnøya and to Svalbard, we adapt the watch rotation for everyone to join the exploration ashore.

Whether you want new sailing experiences, or learn more about ocean crossing with a relatively large boat, this is an excellent opportunity! The sailing comes in addition to the adventure along the way, which makes this a great nature experience!

Environment & Sustainability

The Arctic is a vulnerable area under pressure from people and the climate. In SeilNorge we are committed to taking care of the environment to the greatest extent possible. We believe that small boats with few people and little pollution and waste are significantly less harmful to the environment, climate and local wildlife than larger vessels and cruise ships. Along the way we try to clean up rubbish. We only take memories and pictures with us back home, and avoid leaving any traces behind. 

Keeping the lowest possible carbon footprint is important to us. We sail as long as there is wind, and we work purposely with food, purchasing and waste management. Even if we have to use our engine for propulsion when there is no wind, our trips are among the most sustainable ways to experience the Arctic.

In Svalbard, we follow AECO’s guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, cultural heritage sites and for visitors and operators in the Arctic

 

Across the Barents Sea!

Buckle up and join the refreshing adventure across the Barents Sea!

Fantastic trip - rain, wind, midnight sun, glaciers and polar bears. Good team spirit on board and a skilled captain who ensured that icebergs only ended up in our glasses.

Anne-Ma Frimannslund

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome on board in Tromsø

 

We meet at the dock in the city centre of Tromsø at 16:00. Here you’ll meet the other participants, and we start by getting to know our new home for the coming week and fill up the boat with necessary provisions and equipment for the journey. Life on expedition requires cooperation, and before departure we go through safety routines, the plan for the trip, weather forecast and how the boat works. Then we slip lines and sail out from Tromsø. On the way north we get a panoramic view of the mighty Lyngen Alps. Before we get out to sea, we practice man-overboard as well as other manoeuvres. At this time of year, the nights have become light, and if the conditions are good, we go straight out into open waters, heading for Bjørnøya.

Day 2-3: Past fishing boats and oil rigs to Bjørnøya

 

The first part of the Barents Sea is actually quite busy, and we usually pass at least a couple of fishing vessels here. It takes approximately two days from we leave the mainland until we have landfall on Bjørnøya. Of course depending on the wind and sea. The distance is about 220 nautical miles, and there is a large stretch of open sea, but with abundant wildlife below the surface. We hope to see whales, maybe have dolphins around our bow and the seabirds are with us all the time. Around the evening on the third day we will begin to hear the sweet music from the bird colonies at the southern tip of Bjørnøya.

Day 4: Bjørnøya: the misty island in the middle of the sea

 

There is fog around 300 days a year here in the middle of the Barents Sea, so the island is not easy to spot. Neither for those who come by sea, nor flying over. So it will be exciting as we approach; who will spot Bjørnøya first? If conditions permit, we go ashore, and we will try to catch Barents cod on our secret fishing spots around the island. We generally find a sheltered harbor for the prevailing wind conditions, on either side of the island, so that we can have a good night rest at anchor.

Day 5-6: From Bjørnøya to Sørkapp

 

The stretch from Bjørnøya to Sørkapp on Spitsbergen is slightly shorter than the leg from the mainland to Bjørnøya. North of Bjørnøya we also have few other vessels in sight before we arrive in Longyearbyen. We spend about a day sailing to Sørkapp and continue further north along the coast of Spitsbergen for around half a day more. Here we arrive at the entrance of Bellsund, where both Van Mijenfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden cut into the country. With the characteristic layered Svalbard mountains split by the glaciers calving into the sea. We find a well-protected and ice-free anchorage at some point during the night, for a well-deserved rest!

Day 7: On land in Svalbard!

 

We plan to find a place in Bellsund where we go ashore and stretch our legs. Most likely we’ll find enough firewood to make a fire on the beach for breakfast, and maybe we’ll aim for a little hike to one of the nearby peaks?!

From Bellsund, it’s a short day’s sail on to Isfjorden, where we pass Isfjord Radio on Kapp Linnè. This radio station was the Svalbard community’s only contact with the outside world in the past. Today this is an attractive place to stay. Once inside Isfjorden, we will hopefully have time for a stop in the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; a special place with its own rhythm and atmosphere.

Day 8: Bye for now in Longyearbyen.

 

We set off for the last leg early in the morning and arrive in Longyearbyen latest after breakfast this last day. We clean, pack and tidy ourselves off the boat and say goodbye by 10.00. Thanks for the ride and wonderful experience!

In Longyearbyen


We recommend everyone to stay a few days in Longyearbyen after the expedition. Longyearbyen is an exciting place, with a pleasant small community in the middle of the raw Arctic wilderness, with good opportunities for fun activities or culinary experiences. On the evening after the trip ends, we aim to meet for dinner on land in Longyearbyen.

Changes to the program

 

The program should be seen as a starting point, which we adapt depending on weather and conditions underway. We reserve the right to constantly improve the program for the better. With us along the way, we always have dinghies for beach landings and small expeditions. We have fishing equipment for the cod, and hiking equipment for bonfires and summit climbs – we are ready for adventure, are you?!

What is included?

  • A trip experience with sailboat – experienced skipper with local knowledge on board
  • Co-skipper and crew/guide on board
  • All food we eat on board during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package, which consists of accommodation onboard in a shared double cabin (bunk or double bed) with a ready-made bed (warm and nice duvets and pillows!)
  • An environmentally friendly, local, sustainable, unique, exotic and exclusive Norwegian adventure holiday
  • A shared experience and friendship with like-minded adventurers from around the world
  • A lot of time outdoors – raw and honest nature experiences
  • Use of our shared equipment: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc. when possible
  • All boat-related costs such as diesel, propane and harbor fees
  • Personal safety equipment; Helly Hansen inflatable lifejacket
  • Survival suit and Search and Rescue (SAR) Insurance for everyone onboard
  • Instruction, advice, guidance and practical training in boating and sailing

What is not included?

  • Travel to and from the start/end location
  • Optional meals at a cafes/restaurants during the trip
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, or other alternative activities that you/we may come up with
  • Rental of equipment and/or activities from external operators, ex. paddling, glacier hiking or surfing where possible
  • Drinks such as wine, beer or exclusive apple juice and other luxuries (yes, we drink beer and wine on board, bring your own)
  • Travel insurance and/or cancellation insurance – (up to you, but recommended!)

Important info

Travel

This trip start in Tromsø and ends in Longyearbyen.
You find more info on travel, equipment and other tips under Practical info.

Deposit and payment

You only pay a deposit (NOK 6000) upon registration, the remainder of the payment is due 60 days prior to departure.

Safety and risk onboard

We are all about people, and so we also take safety very seriously. On our trips we practice sail- and boat handling also for safety, and we spend time going through various situations that can arise at sea, how to handle them and how to avoid them.

Onboard a boat everyone must know what to do in critical situations and in the event of an emergency. Our philosophy is that partaking and participation builds safety. It is important for the safety of the whole boat that you are a participant onboard, not just a passenger.

Therefore all our trips are to be considered sailing courses in addition to being great  holidays and adventures: You are trained to make up the crew onboard and so we build a capable team onboard.

Feel free to contact us for a chat about safety and risk on our adventures.

Level of the trip

No sailing experience? No problem! Our sailing adventures welcome both novices and seasoned sailors for an inclusive and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re new to sailing or a salty sea dog, our trips cater to all levels.

We aim to transform beginners into sailors quickly while offering experienced participants greater responsibilities and challenges. Our mainland sailing journeys involve 44-50 feet boats navigating coastal and protected waters, occasionally crossing open stretches for excitement. Route adjustments based on weather and conditions ensure a safe and adaptable voyage.

Trips are not overly strenuous; with rotating positions, participants can balance sailing and relaxation. Active engagement minimizes seasickness, and if it occurs, it passes swiftly. Weather, however, is unpredictable, with the potential for stronger winds and various conditions in northern Norway and the Arctic, making each trip a true sailing adventure. Be prepared for calm winds and rough weather—embracing the elements for an unforgettable experience.

What we expect from you

Our trips require a little effort from you who are joining – everyone on board must be ready to contribute and to give of themselves also socially; the more you open up, share and interest yourself in the others onboard, the more enjoyable it gets. 

When you’re sailing with us you are invited to take part in the running of the ship and all that comes with it. You will be sailing, docking, navigating, looking out for whales and icebergs, but also making food, serving others, doing dishes and helping clean the boat during the trip, and contributing in other ways when needed. Onboard we are all in the same boat and when all help out, the ship is most happy. 

Our experience is that doing things together with others out in nature, and not least cooperating and doing activities with new people and different personalities than you might have around you normally, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable moments and stories:)

Equipment and packing

As with all activities, there is plenty of special equipment and clothing for sailing. If you don’t have any of this, you will get very far with normal hiking/outdoor equipment. You do not need to buy a lot of new equipment to join our trips. Use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last! What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered warm clothing underneath.

Some jackets may not be waterproof “enough”, or might not perform too well in salt water, so you can consider a set of oilskin for the wettest days (available for rent or purchase onboard). A pair of higher rubber boots for disembarking from the dinghy is very good to have, as well as indoor shoes below deck. Out at sea and in the Arctic it can be cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. Well before departure, we will send you a detailed recommended packing list.

Read more and see our packing tips here:

PS: In a sailboat, you pack in a bag or sack, not in a rigid suitcase. 🙂

Food & cooking onboard

On our trips, you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all tasks for the operation of the boat. This includes cooking and preparing food – everyone take turns in the galley! Skippers and crew assist as much as they can along the way.

We have great menus with tasty, healthy and “boat-friendly” food, and for each trip we order provisions for all meals onboard. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account as best as we can. You are also most welcome to bring any special food or drink with you. Why not bring some specialities from your country or region for the boat to enjoy? 

During a weeklong trip we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we can have dinner on land. Some places we need to pre-book and we will then need to choose a menu before we arrive. More about all of this when you come onboard!

Life onboard & accommodation

Life on a sailboat is super social and fun, but it might feel a bit intimate at first. No worries though, that vibe usually fades after the first hour. Everyone chips in to run the boat, and we’re all part of the crew, which means quick bonding.

We’re keen to get to know you and hope you’ll connect with the rest of the crew. It takes some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but soon you’ll be focused on making new friends and enjoying raw nature experiences once sea life feels like home.

Sleeping arrangements in shared cabins with double or bunk beds can be a bit of a puzzle, but we’re pretty good at figuring it out. Let us know if you have preferences. You’re on your own for land accommodations before or after the trip.

The boat provides heating and good food, but fresh water isn’t always abundant. Water conservation means not showering every day, but when near freshwater sources, we make the most of it. But nothing beats a morning sea swim for that fresh feeling.

Safety and risk on our expeditions

As mentioned, we take safety very seriously. Even more so on our expeditions, as we then explore really remote waters and terrain, cross open oceans and sail into areas with additional risk factors such as sea ice or poor charts and uncharted waters. We deal with this by having an extra focus on the situations we may encounter among everyone onboard, for each expedition. We sail in these remote areas only in the most optimal seasons; and we use larger and very solid boats for our expeditions. Which are both equipped and sized to cope with this type of expedition trips and waters very well.

We are absolutely certain that sailing is the safest and most accessible way to visit these very inaccessible places we go on our expeditions. However, all sailing in general, and particularly sailing in arctic regions and over open seas, involves a certain risk that you must be aware of when joining.

Level of the expedition

Some have their first sailing experience ever, joining us on an ocean crossing! Please note that our expeditions require a certain physical health and mobility level.

The boats we sail on our expeditions are larger, robust and sit well in the sea. On our sailing expeditions we both sail in more coastal, sheltered waters, and cross open stretches of waters. On some of our expeditions even ocean crossings over several days at sea. An incredibly wonderful and special experience!

Weather dictates our journey, and we adapt each expedition’s program accordingly, often allowing extra days for flexibility in assessing and choosing optimal weather windows. Despite planning and preparations, we can’t control the weather, so be prepared for various conditions. The proximity to nature’s forces on such expeditions is a rare and rewarding experience.

On expeditions, we sail with many participants, forming watch teams for a solid onboard team spirit. Rotating watches around the clock ensures active involvement without overwhelming fatigue.

As everyone participates actively during the week or more onboard, seasickness is rare. If you anticipate seasickness, consider bringing remedies, such as seasickness plasters, often effective for longer expeditions. Consult your doctor for advice on seasickness and any necessary medications. Feel free to ask us about seasickness as well.

Any questions? Need travel tips? Practical information?


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