Sail into the Arctic
Crossing the arctic circle under sail. This is a real ‘must do’ experience for any adventurous sailor. Starting from the spectacular Orkney Islands, we will make the crossing to Norway. Pointing our bows north as the water becomes colder, the arctic sun extends the days and we become surrounded by arctic wildlife is an experience like no other. We will follow centuries of explorers before us as we follow the “Way North” that Norway is named after, soaking up the stunning fjordland scenery and passing into the arctic circle. This expedition will involve some offshore passages, sailing through the night in a watch system for two or three days at a time as well as some shorter sails with the opportunity to stop off in some truly spectacular anchorages and explore the scenery. The Svartisen glacier is one of our favourites.
Dates: 7th - 21st May (15 days)
Departure port: Kirkwall, Orkney | Destination port: Bodo, Norway
Total distance: 700nm
Prices: Individual crew place £2200
Availability: 2 places remaining
Kirkwall, Orkney islands to Bodo, Norway
7th - 21st May
7th May: Joining the expedition
You will join our expedition yacht in the historic town of Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands. The Orkney Islands have regular ferry and flight links. You will be met at the yacht by your skipper who will give you a warm welcome, and most likely a cup of tea. You will then have the opportunity to settle in and be shown around the boat as well as to explore the town and get a first taste of Orkney life. Dinner will be provided onboard on the first evening, a great opportunity to get to know your fellow crew mates.
8th May: Setting sail
Following initial safety briefings we will be heading out of port and setting sail for the first time. The sheltered but tidal waters of the Orkney islands provide the perfect opportunity to get used to the boat, the skipper will take you through everything that you need to know about how sailing and life work onboard an expedition yacht. There will also be opportunity to simply soak up the scenery and watch the wildlife. We will then find a nice secured spot to anchor and cook up a heart dinner. Maybe we will even be overlooked by one of Orkney’s many ancient historical landmarks.
9th - 10th May: Orkney to Shetland
When the weather looks good, we will make our first short crossing to the Shetland Islands. The total crossing is a distance of around 100 nautical miles which we will expect to take about 24hrs. This will be our first experience of working in watch systems. This means that the crew will be divided in to groups of 2 or 3 called ‘watches’, each supervised by a member of our crew, the watches will take it in turns sailing the yacht across the ocean throughout the day and night. At this time of years the days are lengthening quickly so the ‘night’ watches will be pretty short. During our journey we can expect to be accompanied by sea birds and if we are lucky we may even find ourselves encountering the local pod of orcas. On the way we will pass the small islands of Fair Isle, of shipping forecast and knitted jumper fame.
11th - 14th May: Crossing to Norway
We will be looking carefully at the sea and weather conditions to choose a good time to make our crossing to Norway. The total crossing is a distance of approximately 200 nautical miles which we will expect to take around 48hrs. We will return to our watch systems for this crossing as we get to experience the joy of sailing through the night out of sight of land, one of the most magical and unique experiences of ocean sailing. With sea birds as our constant companions we will be firmly on the look out for whales who also inhabit these waters. We will likely choose Alesund as our landfall port in Norway. It is a beautiful town and a great place to rest, stretch our legs and savour our arrival in Norway.
15th - 19th May: North across the arctic circle
As we work our way north, following the routes travelled by the vikings before us we will be able to slow the pace and take more time to savour the amazing and rugged scenery around us. The myriad of fjords and islands means that we will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding and anchorage to explore ashore or rest for the night. Some of the highlights of this part of the voyage include the rite of passage, crossing the arctic circle, the stunning Holandsfjord glacier and the spectacular mountains of Treana.
20th May: Arrival in Bodo
This will be you final opportunity to fill your memory cards with the spectacular scenery as we weave between islands on the way into Bodo. We will moor up for the night in the bustling city of Bodo and enjoy our final evening onboard with a nice dinner and time to swop stories, highlights and pictures from the expedition.
21st May: Leaving the boat
Breakfast will be provided on board with the final chance to swop stories before either heading home or arranging your own extra days experiencing arctic Norway.
Please note that the itinerary provided above is provide to illustrate the general areas the we will visit on the expedition. The exact itinerary that we follow will be chosen each day by your skipper in order to make the best use of the weather conditions. Since we operate with just a small number of guests onboard, we can tailor the areas that we explore based on your interests.