RCGS: Norway Arctic Lights & Whales with Jill Heinerth
Departing on March 19, 2020.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Inspired by the very first Arctic explorers, journey to the far reaches of Norway’s northern tip led by RCGS Explorer-in-Residence, filmmaker, photographer and world-renowned underwater explorer, Jill Heinerth. A veteran of over thirty years of exploration, Jill has made TV series for PBS, National Geographic and the BBC. On this exclusive RCGS departure, you’ll have the opportunity to hone in on your photography skills with tips and tricks from Heinerth herself all while exploring the Arctic wonders of the Vesteralen Islands.The otherworldly archipelago sits within the Arctic Circle and offers an intoxicating cocktail of fjords and mountains all teeming with wildlife, from soaring eagles to sea otters and reindeer. Venture out to the more remote islands and visit local fishing villages, then try your hand at ice fishing. Bring science to life during a visit to the Andoya Space Center – which regularly launches rockets to study the aurora – and attempt your own mission simulation. Suit up in arctic oversuits and head out on a whale watching excursion in search of Humpbacks, Fin, and Killer Whales. Watch a dazzling light display in the sky as the Northern Lights dance above you in the evenings. As your adventure comes to an end, you’ll enjoy a traditional meal around a roaring fire – a fitting goodbye to this remote region.
* All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* Flights from London (if booking inc. flights)
* Airport transfers
* Tour leader throughout
We meet at the Friluftssenter on Buksnesfjord for a warm welcome before settling in to our accommodation and heading to the restaurant for dinner.
Morning exploration of local area on foot; trip to the nearby valley for
outdoor lunch and ice fishing on Lake Kringelvann.
Weather in the Vesteralen is unpredictable, and we may well re order some of the activities to better suit the conditions, however we often start our trips by exploring our immediate surroundings. The Friluftssenter enjoys a fanstastic location, just 50m/164ft from the shores of Buksnesfjord with views over the surrounding mountains. Our main focus today will be nearby Lake Kringelvann which sits a few kilometres from our accommodation in an impressive valley. This area is home to moose, reindeers and many species of bird. The lake itself can be reached on foot or in an adapted trailer pulled along by Nigel on his quad bike.The track is easy to follow for those that wish and winds through the forest and down to the shores of the lake itself, at the head of the valley. We can head out onto the lake, try some ice fishing or explore the valley a little further, trying to spot wild moose amongst the trees. Lunch is taken outdoors by a fire and consists of a simple but satisfying soup with locally made bread. Should the ice fishing go well there may be an arctic char or two to add to the grill!In the evening, a professional photographer joins the group to share some photography tricks!
Tour of Andoy passing through fishing villages on the arctic coast, including
northern Europe's longest beach and to the world's largest Northern Lights
research base. Evening meal in the lavvo.
Though our base on Buksnesfjord is spectacular, it is well worth exploring these islands further. Today we take to the bus and drive across the main bridge to the next island, Andoya. This island is home to some of Norway’s most beautiful beaches including northern Europe’s longest, by the village of Bleik. We will also see the fishing village of Nordmela, one of those at the heart of the island’s fishing industry. If conditions are with us we may see seals and eagles from the road.Our journey includes a stop at the dramatically named Andoya Space Center which launches rockets regularly to study the Aurora. On arrival we watch a short film on the science behind the Aurora and the work done on Andoya to study it. Then we take part of a guided tour round the visitor centre where we see the telemetry station, the science centre and range control, and get a unique insight in how northern light research is done at the centre.
Drive to Andenes for whale watching excursion; return to Friluftssenter for
free time before the evening meal in the lavvo.
We have introduced a whale watching excursion this year, and for our last full day we drive up to Andenes at the northern tip of the Island. Here we are issued with Arctic oversuits and get ready to board the boat. In winter these waters play host to Humpbacks, Fin and Killer Whales and the whale centre itself has plenty of information and displays to complement the trip. This excursion in particular may be changed to another day if conditions dictate.We will take a packed lunch to eat once back on dry land, after which we transfer back to the Friluftssenter for free time to explore and enjoy further photographic opportunities, as Nigel fires up the outdoor hot tub for those that wish.Larger groups will have to split into two ‘shifts’ for the hot tub. Other options include a short walk to a small frozen lake just behind the Friluftssenter. The lake feels totally secluded as it is surrounded on 3 sides by steep slopes and a walkway has been installed to allow easy access. Alternatively the shores of the fjord are just over the road, and worth exploring to enjoy the views across and behind it.For our final night we head up to the Friluftssenter’s Lavvo for a traditional meal around a roaring fire, a fitting end to our time in the Arctic.
Transfer to Evenes.
Our trip ends at Evenes Airport.**