Viking Saga Rally

Launching into the majestic West Highlands of Scotland for their first adventure the fleet will then head to Norway, exploring the fjords and slowly acclimatising as they reach the northerly region of Lofoten. Once adapted to the conditions and having fully explored they will ascend to Svalbard, briefly becoming the most northerly people in the world. 

Heading south once more, the fleet will stop briefly in Jan Mayen to climb the volcano and meet the weather researchers based there before heading down to Iceland to explore and make use of helicopters and Arctic ready trucks. 

Once Iceland’s Troll Mountains and Westfjords have been thoroughly conquered, they will re-provision in Reykjavík before heading to the West Coast of Greenland. As they cruise up to Disko Island they will be able to get a feel for the country without the changeable and sometimes dangerous weather they would face in the east. 

The vessels will culminate this 6 month Viking Rally by cruising the Labrador Coast, finishing in Halifax, chosen as it has facilities for a variety of vessel sizes, as well as shipyards that will enable them to switch from Arctic to summer configurations.

Scotland

Experiences: 

Scotland may be small in size, but it is incredibly rich in rugged beauty and unforgettable experiences. 

  • Anchor in sheltered sea lochs to climb craggy mountains, looking out for deer and eagles along the way
  • Cold water surf in head-height waves
  • Fly fish for wild Atlantic salmon in the many remote rivers that weave through desolate moorlands to the sea
  • Stalk red deer with local ghillies
  • Learn about the history of Fort William and the Battle of Inverlochy, accompanied by a local historian
  • Hike the rugged Scottish landscape, spotting wildlife species such as golden eagles, otters, hen harriers, red deer and seals
  • Forage with a naturalist and unearth wild crops before dining
  • Try your hand at lobster potting in The Isle of Skye and have your onboard chef prepare your catch for dinner
  • Join master blenders and mixologists for private distillery tours and tastings
  • Enjoy exclusive access to the most remote British settlement of St Kilda, accompanied by archaeologists 

Conservation:

  • Set camera traps in osprey nesting areas and contribute to research on these birds of prey
  • Carry out population and productivity counts for kittiwake, fulmar, guillemot and razorbills
  • Help save Scotland’s declining red squirrel population, providing vaccines and habitats
  • Assist in reinforcing Scotland’s wild beaver population, relocating them to suitable habitats 
  • Carry out research into the benefits of leaving decommissioned oil rigs where they currently are, providing refuge and habitats for marine life
  • Spot killer whales as they hunt seals along the shore. Identify both known individuals and new members of the resident pod

Norwegian Fjords

Experiences: 

The Norwegian Fjords showcase the most dramatic results of the ice age, with some of the deepest fjords in the world and many glaciers still carving high in the mountains. The best way to experience this region is by yacht, allowing you to navigate deep into the heart of the country. The longest fjord stretches 205 kilometres inland and two others are on the UNESCO World Heritage natural site.

  • Hike behind waterfalls and explore the mountains with local guides before paragliding back down to the sun deck
  • White water raft from high upriver, right down to the swim platform of your vessel
  • Ebike or classic motorbike along the famous Atlantic highway
  • Heli to a constant glacier to hike, climb and traverse the summertime snow
  • Hike up to the overhanging rock Flydalsjuvet for the most extraordinary views of Geiranger, with the exhilarating option to abseil down the 80m drop
  • Explore wrecks of whalers and transport vessels in a submarine

Kayak and paddleboard through the Norwegian Moldives

Conservation:  

  • Gather data for research into rockslides and avalanches, helping scientists to develop methods to predict and prevent 
  • Measure water and air pollution in the fjords, with attention to cruise ship routes
  • Join the hunt for suspected wrecks, not just from the world wars, but as far back as the 17th century. With so many suspected along this stretch of coast, there are good odds for discovery into the past

Lofoten Islands

Experiences: 

Scattered across the rough waters of the Norwegian Sea, far above the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands are some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on Earth, with the deserved reputation of being the ultimate adventure playground. 

  • Take a heli to experience glacier kayaking. Have lunch on the ice, with stunning views in every direction, before heading out climbing in the afternoon. Descend the mountain via helicopter once again, or for the more intrepid, opt for mountain bikes or a paraglide
  • Visit the home of a renowned Polar Explorer before trekking and learning about his exploits in the Arctic
  • Jump back into a heli  and head into the wilds to a luxury mountain lodge – here you’ll come face-to-face with habituated wolves; a truly unforgettable experience
  • Feel like you are flying as you climb and leap between high altitude rock formations, under the watchful eye of your guides and instructors
  • Dive for king crabs in the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea, with your catch cooked and prepared by your chef

Conservation: 

  • Head out in the tenders with a specialised naturalist to lie in wait for sea eagles. Watch them as they dive into the water for their prey and learn about this protected bird
  • Monitor the health of the resident orcas and wildlife with local scientists
  • Take part in local awareness programs, helping redesign the fisheries of the area
  • Join wildlife conservation ashore and spend time at Wolf Lodge, encountering the creatures and assisting in their protection

Svalbard

Experiences: 

The isolated archipelago of frozen tundra, Northern Lights and midnight sun; Svalbard’s imposing terrain, stark glaciers and incredible wildlife offer a diverse and unparalleled yachting expedition. An intimate knowledge of the pack ice movements and climate within this tough environment, however, is essential for a successful voyage. Working with the most competent and reliable experts, it is possible to explore regions that, until recently, were considered wildly off limits. 

  • Experience the thrill of crossing vast open expanses by dog sled and snowmobiles and join internationally recognised experts to traverse the ice in search of Polar Bears
  • Get up close and personal with walrus colonies
  • Kayak among icebergs the size of houses, abseil into deep crevasses, and BBQ on the pack ice in utter seclusion
  • Further north, a dive master will lead you underwater in dry-suits to watch guillemots smashing into the water at great speeds to catch fish – this really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience
  • Cruise into glacial valleys and wide fjords where a guide will take you ski touring on virgin slopes
  • Get close to an ice cap with hundreds of glacial waterfalls crashing from the edge into the ocean. You can opt to get closer still in a submersible to see the scale of the ice shelf on a whole new level

Conservation: 

  • Join experts monitoring the polar bear population of Svalbard
  • Place camera traps in less accessible areas, near where the polar bears are known to den
  • Visit the Global Seed Vault 
  • Deploy moorings to read the inflow of warm, nutrient rich Atlantic waters and collect existing moorings for maintenance 
  • Collect data from black carbon detectors at observatories and carry samples back to Longyearbyden
  • Monitor mass balance on glaciers 
  • Deliver supplies to the deep sea observatory Hausgarten

Jan Mayen

Experiences: 

Jan Mayen was recorded in early manuscripts from Norse and Irish travellers but was first occupied in the 17th century by English and Dutch whalers. It was visited infrequently till the 1900’s and then in 1906 Norwegian trappers and hunters inhabited the island seeking the blue arctic fox for its fur. 

In 1921 a meteorological station was established and since then, the island has been continually occupied. It was officially annexed to Norway in 1930 and shortly after was the only part of Norway not under German occupation, despite a number of attempts. Now, it is run by the Norwegian military and supports meteorological science year round.

  • Hike to the remains of a 17th century whaling station
  • Watch out for puffins, fulmars and kittiwakes
  • Head out in the tender to look for minke whales, known to frequent the area
  • Trek to the summit of Mount Beerenburg – the northernmost active volcano in the world. Encounter a plane wreckage on the way and learn about the history of this remote island

Conservation: 

  • Visit the weather station – here you will see how scientists monitor the weather at the top of the world and carry out important Arctic Research 
  • Contribute to citizen science projects, logging the wildlife in the area

Iceland

Experiences: 

Iceland is one of the most remote, volcanically active and sparsely populated countries on the planet. It rests on the edge of the Arctic Circle and has an incredibly diverse topography that includes mountains, lava fields, glaciers, farmlands, fjords, lakes, and rivers.

  • Heli ski in the Troll Mountains. These mountains are the perfect mix of steep to very steep couloirs and faces, to wide open, low-angled glacier runs. What really sets the Troll Peninsula apart from any other heli ski destination is the fact that you can ski 1300m runs all the way down to the ocean
  • Explore the national parks of Iceland in specially modified 4WD vehicles designed for use in challenging environments; in the mountains or on glaciers
  • The Silfra Fissure runs through Thingvellir National Park which is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iceland. Discover this spectacular underwater landscape as you float in crystal clear water
  • Helicopter to Vatnshellir lava cave located in the Snæfellsjökull National Park. As you explore Vatnshellir you‘ll descend into a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites, and strange lava formations
  • There are hot springs all over Iceland. Edge into the cold water, walk upstream to where the two flows mix, find a spot where the temperature is perfect, and settle back to admire the dramatic scenery

Conservation: 

  • Accompany glaciologists in their research into the vast ice formations in Iceland. You will reach the foot of the glacier by helicopter and meet a world renowned glaciologist, who will bring you into the heart of the tunnels under the icecap and into the heart of the glacier 
  • Collect data for research into exploring volcanic paroxysmal explosive activity
  • Conduct research into climate change in Iceland

Greenland

Experiences

According to Icelandic legend, Greenland was named by the Viking, Erik the Red attempting to entice settlers to its green and fertile shores. Despite 80% of its land area being covered by thick ice sheets, the islands coastlines are interspersed with lush valleys, intricate fjord systems and picturesque villages made up of colourfully painted houses. 

  • Outstanding heli skiing and kiteboarding can be experienced in Greenland, made possible not just by the incredible terrain and snow but by the stunning untouched landscape
  • Take part in Inuit Games, learning skills from professionals who train the national team
  • Go dogsledding and hunting with local Inuit guides before finishing the day ice fishing and relaxing in natural hot springs whilst you cook your catch on an open heather fire
  • There is an option to camp overnight on the glacier to spot stars in a real exploration experience 
  • Learn to ice climb and snowshoe on the permanent glaciers
  • Try fat biking across the tundra in complete isolation
  • Whale spot and visit the resident Narwhal population, high above Disko Island or go deep sea fishing for capelin

Conservation: 

  • Monitor marine wildlife populations of seal, whale and coldwater coral
  • Visit local schools and take part in conservation awareness programs for the children
  • Travel to the remote American DYE 1 research station and take supplies to the scientists at the base
  • Join the Greenlandic polar bear institute and assist in tracking these elusive predators

Labrador Coast

Experiences: 

  • Visit the World Heritage-listed Tablelands. This incredible location is notable for its unique geology and exceptional scenery. Explore the boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, and white-throated sparrows. You may also encounter the iconic moose as we explore the park.
  • See evidence that the Vikings discovered North America five hundred years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus as you explore L’Anse aux Meadows with a resident archaeologist
  • Watch polar bears hunt seals along the coast, and see caribou herds cross paths as they migrate to and from their calving grounds
  • Climb Canada’s highest mountains east of The Rockies, go mountain or fat biking over the snowmelt and forested landscape
  • Kayak near seal colonies in the fjords of Torngat National Park
  • Lookout for walrus in Frobisher Bay, living in uneasy truce with the bears
Southern Seas
2020 – Launching soon