Are you tempted by a summer voyage in the High Arctic, or wilderness coastlines like Iceland or Norway’s Lofoten Islands that sit on the Arctic Circle?
How do you choose the best voyage?
Debbie and Adam at Classic Sailing have explored Iceland and Greenland by sail and ashore, and we have listened to the feedback from the skippers and customers who have sailed there. Debbie has written this article to help you make a more informed choice if you decide an Arctic sailing holiday is for you. It includes her considered view on which is best for wildlife, winds, walks, polar bears or whales.
If you are one of the many that doesn’t quite understand why so many of our charter vessels are being lured ever Northwards towards the Arctic Circle and deep into polar regions, then is the article that could sway you.
First – Three myths we need to bust.
MYTH 1: Will I Get Stuck in the Ice ?
There are two magic words involved here – ‘Arctic Summer.’ This glorious window of light and warmth and tundra flowers is the time to go. Unless you are a masochist with an icebreaker, you can only enjoyably go sailing in the high Arctic to locations like Greenland, Jan Meyen Island or Svalbard in the summer, when the sea ice melts.
All our vessels leave well before the ice starts building again.
(Likewise in the Southern Hemisphere, the fjords and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula are locked in ice until the start of the Antarctic summer from November to March.)
MYTH 2: Far too cold for me?
If you love to maximise your outdoor time on holiday, then the natural response for most sailors and holidaymakers is to head South for reliable sunshine, wine and beaches. Yes, we all need a bit of that, but you could be enjoying ‘some of that,’ and a whole lot more incredible outdoor experiences in Iceland or Greenland.
Firstly the daylight hours go on ‘for-ever’ up here in midsummer. It is amazing how your stamina increases to make the most of the Land of the Midnight Sun. Secondly, the further North you go, the more stable the weather. East Greenland enjoys light winds and cloudless sunshine for much of the summer due to the almost static Greenland High Pressure system. Regarding your sunset tipple, our vessel crews are far too canny not to have an expedition season supply of affordable wine and beer stashed below decks.
MYTH 3: Too Expensive to Get There?
Iceland is actually remarkably cheap to get to from the UK, Europa and North America with several budget airlines flying there. ( Flight quote if you booked today 13 Dec with WOW Air – Gatwick to Reykjavik £57 each way with hand luggage only or £99 each way for seat with checked in hold luggage for the May 2018 dates of Blue Clippers first Iceland Voyage). However it is expensive to live and eat there, but if you are on a visiting sailing ship then your holiday includes all meals, accommodation, outdoor activities and professional crew as your guides.
In contrast to Iceland, East Greenland is NOT a cheap place to get to by plane. Don’t be deceived by the fact that it looks like it is on Iceland’s backdoor. It There are only 2 human settlements along the whole of the East Greenland coast and they are cut off by the sea ice for most the year. The only airport serving Scorseby Sound is an earth runway between the mountains with a portacabin rest room and a barn for aircraft servicing.
If you are ‘time-poor’ and can afford to fly into Greenland from Iceland then schooners Opal, Donna Wood or Hildur can be there anchored beneath you as you fly in over Hurry Inlet. Our Icelandic flight brokers can reserve your Greenland flight as soon as you book the voyage. They pack a lot into their 7 day Scorseby Sound voyages and the fjord system has the benefit of flat water everywhere.
If you relish a more challenging option, and alternative to flying in, then we have a 3 week long expedition sailing Tecla to Greenland across the Denmark Strait to Scorseby Sound, a week of anchoring and exploring Greenland ashore and the sea voyage back. The advantages of the Tecla Arctic experience are:
See the best bits of Iceland and Greenland and a lot of Icebergs and wildlife in between
You will get more Arctic sea time for your money
It avoids the expensive flight hop to Greenland
You will have achieved some impressive sailing and earnt proper Arctic sailing experience.
Skipper Gijs has navigated tall ships in Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica and South Georgia
Tecla – 3 week expeditions to Greenland 25 July – 15th Aug 2018 – last few places.