Join us on the three-masted schooner S/V Linden for a five day sailing adventure in the pristine Arctic wilderness on Svalbard. We head out from Longyearbyen to discover the cold glacier coasts of Spitsbergen. This is an excellent way to combine Arctic adventure with sailing, discovering the hidden gems of the west coast of Svalbard, whilst learning how to sail this beautiful ship. We nav...
An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country.
In 1981 Toni moved to Namibia with her family and from then on her love of the outdoors and all things nature grew and grew. Her father was an exploration geologist who travelled extensively around Southern Africa, living in small mining towns and managing bush camps where Toni would spend her school holidays camping in the bush, or visiting private farms and reserves. Toni’s father passed on to her his unparalleled knowledge of all things Namibia, and she carried this with her as she became a manager and guide at some of the most remote lodges in the extreme North West of Namibia. Toni has travelled expansively across Namibia and its neighbouring countries, making regular visits to all of the National Game Reserves and developing her photographic skills which she takes great pleasure in passing on to visitors to the region.
Her deep love and knowledge of the Namibia, coupled with her infectious passion and enthusiasm to want to share it, make her one of the country’s top guides and ambassadors for this beautiful country. More than just a guide who simply points from a vehicle, Toni becomes fully involved in the experiences of her fellow travellers and places a great emphasis on finding the best adventures, wildlife encounters and photo opportunities for her tour groups. As a Managing Tour Consultant she plans safaris for a wide range of interest groups but her main focus is on birding and photographic small group tours, where she delights in each visitor gaining an up-close and personal experience of all that the country she loves and knows so well has to offer.
Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. She spent 11 years on Sea Lion Island as Manager of the Lodge, Warden of the Nature Reserve and as the principal tour provider, meaning her knowledge of Sea Lion Island in particular is second to none. Having spent so much time here, as expected her wildlife speciality is Elephant Seals, but she is also well versed in the ways of the seabirds, penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions that call the Falklands their home.
After her time on Sea Lion Island Jenny moved to Stanley to work for the Falkland Islands Government and became manager of a local travel firm assisting with travel arrangements for incoming visitors, before taking semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and enjoy more time further exploring the lands she knows so well. Jenny is extremely passionate about sharing the hidden nature secrets of the Falklands with those who come to visit her homeland and will be looking forward to accompanying you and passing on her unsurpassed knowledge of the areas you will be visiting.
You will meet your guide at 3pm at Basecamp Hotel in Longyearbyen who will take you to the wooden 3-mast Schooner S/V Linden. If you have extra luggage, you can leave this in the luggage storage at the Basecamp hotel. We will gather in the ship lounge for some snacks and a safety briefing. This is a good time to get to know the staff and your fellow voyagers. Checking the last ice charts and the weather, your Captain and Expedition Leader will finalise our route. If the wind is favorable it’s time to hoist the sails and head into the pristine arctic waters!
Your crew can’t wait to teach you the sailing skills and show you how elegantly Linden can sail. With the help of your professional team, you can become a true seaman yourself! Linden is made for the arctic waters with her ice-strengthened hull. The midnight sun sits high in the sky as we gather for the captain’s welcome dinner as we continue to sail towards our next destination. The midnight sun will become normal to you…the sun will not set at all during the summer months!
After dinner the non-stop noise from the towering bird cliff greets us and we head ashore. Thousands of female Brünnich’s Guillemots are to lay a single egg each on the narrow cliff ledges above us, and these big black and white auks busy around and fill the air. As we hike across the tundra we will need to be cautious as the Arctic skuas don’t want us near their nests. The Svalbard reindeer is rather interested in getting a closer look at us. With a bit of luck on our side, we may find the Arctic fox foraging for bird eggs below the cliffs.
Read More2 - 3Days
On the morning of day 2 we wake up surrounded by wild landscape and glimmering glaciers. Our excursion is all about frozen rivers of ice. First the surreal scene appears silent, but you will discover there is a constant fizz, snap and pop of melting ice releasing trapped air bubbles. Millions upon millions of bubbles are continually released as the glacier melts away underneath the ocean surface. And then it happens. The glacier calves in front of us with loud roars and tumbles down into the ocean.
We enjoy lunch as we watch the frozen landscape around us. Less than 7% of the land has any vegetation at all in Svalbard. We take a close look at the surroundings as we head ashore. From a distance the land looks immensely barren, but stepping onto a thin layer of thawed permafrost, shining specks of flowers appear. As we savour dinner we head to our next destination, and watch the continuous mountains and shores without any roads, buildings or infrastructure. This is what makes Svalbard one of the most unique wildlife spots in the world. We are in the Arctic kingdom where polar bears rule on land and sea-ice.
On the morning of day 3 you will wake up surrounded by sediment slopes and pointy peaks and we will continue to search for wildlife and good hiking possibilities. Weather permitting, we hike across the tundra and the polar deserts. Along the way we find time to sit down and listen to the Arctic silence. It’s a marvellous sound of absolute nothingness. On our hikes we may also catch sight of the only bird overwintering in Svalbard, the well-feathered ptarmigan. Born a carnivore, the chicks eat insects while their vegetarian parents forage for plants and seeds. Our chef will serve us another great meal as we sail to our next destination.
In the afternoon we explore glacier fronts plunging down into the sea. There might be seals in the water or hauled up on ice and if you keep your eyes closely on the water you might see flashes of white passing by. In Svalbard there are often groups of white Beluga whales patrolling in front of glaciers, where the prey is easier to catch being slightly dizzy in the altered salt content of the seawater mixed with fresh water from the ice.
On Thursday we wake up within reach of beaches where tusked walrus may haul out. And we’ll pay a visit to see if they are home. Will our search for this whiskered beast pay off? It’s never possible to know for sure beforehand, but walrus don’t like wind or fog as it makes it easier for polar bears to approach and attack. So for once, we are hoping for less wind! After 60 years of protection the numbers of walrus are finally rising in Svalbard. If the walrus are out, their beach is an excellent location to go beachcombing. Scour the beach for timbers from ancient shipwrecks and other treasures!
After lunch we find ourselves next to Basecamp’s outpost, Isfjord Radio Adventure Hotel. Indulge in unexpected luxury and genuine hospitality at this old radio station packed with history. Just like the former station manager hosted and served the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, Isfjord Radio’s own Michelin star trained chef will prepare and serve us a treat. If you like, join one of your guides for a 2-3 hour hike around the station and the surroundings. After the walk you can enjoy the new sauna at the Isfjord Radio – what a way to finish a hike! Bordering Isfjord Radio is a bird sanctuary, providing new opportunities to spot the Arctic fox egg and bird hunting! Step back on board S/V Linden for evening drinks and the Captain’s farewell dinner.
On our last day we sail back to civilization. Enjoy breakfast on the ship before you head back to Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for white flashes of up to 4,5 meters of lean blubber crossing our paths. There are groups of white beluga whales in the fjord as we get close to Longyearbyen to drop you off!