To East Greenland with Valiente

Svalbard - Greenland - Iceland

This is an exciting expedition combining ocean crossing from Svalbard to Greenland, and exploration and discoveries along the coast of East-Greenland. One of the world’s most inaccessible places! During the crossings, we really get to experience the open ocean, and we sail into waters where we often encounter sea ice, even in late summer. Arriving in Greenland we will get close to huge icebergs, ice floes and glaciers. It takes us a short week of sea crossing to get to the east coast of Greenland, 4-6 days depending on weather and wind.

From Longyearbyen to East-Greenland and Iceland

This trip starts in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and ends in Isafjordur in Iceland. During the expedition we get to experience Greenland’s greatness. Among fjords, mountains and glaciers on the east coast. We’ll get close to the huge inland ice cap that calves icebergs as big as skyscrapers right in the fjord. And 2000 meter high granite walls towering up to alpine peaks straight out of the sea. 

Among the world’s most inaccessible places

Greenland’s east coast is a very inaccessible area, only visited by very few before us. The inland ice blocks access from the west, and for up to 10 months a year the sea ice blocks access from the east. We are vulnerable, far from civilization and quite alone. So we’ll have to be careful and manoeuvre slowly, but get to experience some of the most spectacular landscapes our planet has to offer.

Exploring together

Along the way, we’ll go ashore and explore. Hike some of the mountains surrounding us where perhaps nobody has set foot before us. And have bonfires on the beach in deserted bays in this majestic landscape. We will visit the small Inuit settlements, their hunting cabins and cultural monuments we sail past. In addition to learning about the indigenous culture. We will sail a lot and learn a lot. About ocean sailing, sea ice, the sun and the stars, whales and the seabirds that fill the days on the high seas. Not least, we will explore the fjords on Liverpool land and the world’s largest fjord system Scoresbysound (Kangertittivaq)!

Scoresbysound and Ittoqqortoormiit

At the entrance to Scoresby we are firstly met by a disturbingly isolated settlement. The village is called Ittoqqortoormiit, and has just over 400 inhabitants. We go ashore in this settlement, which rarely gets visitors, – a big event both for us and the local population. In Greenland their settlements and villages are not connected by any roads, so all transport takes place by ship only in the summer, or by small aircrafts and helicopter. Everyone lives in small wooden houses in bright, cheerful colours. We arrive on the warmest days of the year, when the inhabitants are out enjoying the sun, before the harsh winter returns.

After a couple of days exploring along the east coast and inside Scoresbysound, we again set sails heading for Ísafjörður in Iceland. The crossing takes around 2 days, before we arrive in the Westfjords on Iceland’s north-west coast and can celebrate a successful and unforgettable expedition!

Be part of the crew on board

From SeilNorge we will provide skipper, co-skipper and crew/guide. All good sailors, of whom at least one of us will have solid sailing time and experience from similar expeditions. The guide and remaining crew on board also take responsibility for being polar bear watch on land. En route for sail or motor, we include everyone in the sailing and all tasks onboard. From standing behind the helm and hoisting sails, to cooking, cleaning and planning the sailing 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.

This expedition is primarily a great voyage of discovery, but also an excellent opportunity to learn about sailing and navigation. Not least about using the boat as our base for discoveries and experiences on land. We are all adventurers – and we explore together. Are you ready for your lifetime sailing adventure to Greenland and Iceland?

Our expedition vessel, Valiente

It’s not just 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.

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 at the places we visit, we try to clean up rubbish. We only take memories and pictures home, and avoid leaving any traces behind. 

Keeping the lowest possible carbon footprint is important to us. Therefore 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 and Greenland, we follow AECO’s guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, cultural heritage sites and for visitors and operators in the Arctic

I have been lucky enough to have traveled widely all over the world, but this trip will live with me for the rest of my days unlike the others. It was very special. A real expedition - a super rare chance to fully participate in a wonderful adventure. This gave us the opportunity to explore places we had only dreamt of being able to get to, and that not many, if any, do get to. An absolute treat that we will always remember. Thank you.

Peter G, Svalbard - Greenland - Iceland 2023

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome on board in Longyearbyen

We meet at 12:00 on the dock in Longyearbyen. We start by getting to know each other, before going through the plan for the week. We familiarize ourselves with the boat and equipment, and stow the boat with provisions. Life on expedition requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures on board, for sailing and for emergency situations. We leave harbor and sail out off Isfjorden on the first evening.

Days 2-6: From Svalbard to East Greenland

 

It will be quite an ocean crossing from Svalbard to Greenland. We cross the Greenland Sea heading for Liverpool Land, the peninsula north of Scoresbysund. The crossing itself is around 700 nautical miles and we will spend around 4-6 days. Of course depending on the weather, wind and waves. In addition, the east coast of Greenland can have quite some sea ice even in late summer. So whether we get all the way into land north of Scoresby, clearly depend on the year’s sea ice conditions.

Day 7-8: Exploration of uncharted fjords on Liverpool Land

It’s a wonderful experience to see Greenland’s jagged east coast rising out of the sea along the entire horizon. As we approach land after many days at sea. If we are not blocked by ice, we spend some time among the fjords on Liverpool Land. An area very few people have been to, and a place almost nobody has ever been sailing. This area is such a remote place, that there are almost no maps here. We will go hiking, have bonfires on the beach and enjoy the desolate landscape!

Day 9-11: Scoresbysund

Scoresbysund is worth several days of exploration. With icebergs as big as huge building, and mountainsin every direction. The entrance to this fjord itself is 27 kilometers wide, and beyond layes an enormous system of fjords and glaciers. At the entrance of Scoresbysund do we also find the northernmost settlement on the east coast: Ittoqqortoormiit. The place has just over 400 inhabitants who all live in small wooden houses in the coolest colours. We arrive at the village during their hottest days of summer, when the inhabitants are enjoying the sun outside before the harsh winter returns.

Day 12-14: Sail from Scoresby to Isafjordur in Iceland

We leave the huge fjord massif Scoresby in time to arrive at Isafjordur, Iceland in time. The crossing of the Denmark Strait is about 230 nautical miles and will take us around 2 days depending on the weather and wind. Along the way, we can expect to see several icebergs, but also whales, maybe dolphins and hopefully great sunsets in the sea. Reaching Isafjordur we meet a charming harbor town on the north-west tip of Iceland. And when we’re well moored we find hot springs and swimming pools that soothes both body and soul. The town also have a few good restaurants and bars that we’ll check out. Good job, well done!

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 Longyearbyen and ends in Isafjordur, Iceland.
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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