Greenland is the largest island on the planet, and the least populated country in the world. Most of the island is within the Arctic Circle, and the majority of the island is covered by the Northern Ice Cap, so the waters surrounding the northern shores remain frozen all year. Ice as thick as two miles can be found in the middle of the island, creating incredible mountaineering opportunities.
The history of the island goes back as far as Eric the Red and his band of Vikings who settled on the southwestern coast. There is evidence of Norse habitation for 500 years, but during the Little Ice Age their settlements disappeared. The inhabitants of the island are now mostly the Inuit peoples who have populated the region for nearly 1000 years.
The seat of power was formed in the area now known as Qassiarsuk, while other members of the group headed north and established themselves near present day Nuuk, now the country’s capital.
Northern Norway covers about one third of the country as a whole. The lands boast mountains which hide surprising sweeps of green farm and grazing lands in the interior. The coasts are notable for their numerous fjords that come in a wide range of sizes and shapes.
The Northern Norway winters say good-bye to daylight. From the middle of November through to the middle of January the sun does not rise above the horizon. Conversely, from early May through to late July the sun does not fully dip below the horizon. The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are visible on clear nights from mid to late September through to the middle of April.
The seas surrounding the area are rich in a wide variety of sea food, most notably cod. Fishing has played a major part in the region’s economy for hundreds of years. The waters are home to all sorts of whales – Humpbacks, Minkes, Orcas, Pilots, and Sperm. Our North Norway voyages will be mostly dedicated to meeting Orca’s and Humpback Whales, which feed on the wintering herring in the fjords of Troms.
Svalbard (Spitsbergen) is the land of the Polar Bear. A Norwegian Arctic archipelago 600 miles south of the North Pole, it features rugged mountains and rolling tundra that offer plenty of opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing. It is the largest wilderness area in Europe, and the you will find amazing scenery, and wildlife experiences that you will not find anywhere else on the planet.
Svalbard is surrounded by three seas – The Norwegian Sea, the Greenland Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. Tours in this region may include circumnavigation (or nearly so, ice pack dependent) or cruises based entirely around Bow Whales, and opportunities to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).