5 days Billefjorden Kayak expedition: Pyramiden and Nordenskiold Glacier
with Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions
During the summer, the long fjords constitute the life nerve in the Arctic nature of Svalbard. This is where the seabirds nest in mountain cliffs, where the fox hunts for goose eggs in the beach zone, and where the polar bear hunts for seals on the ice floes by the glaciers. Billefjorden in the innermost part of Isfjorden is precisely such a fjord with a buzzing animal life in the summer. At the same time, Billefjorden offers a fantastic mountain and glacier landscape, as well as many cultural monuments from previous human activities on Svalbard. In the course of this trip, we will explore the fjord from the sea route, just like the old Arctic discoverers. Four entire days of kayak paddling will guarantee you a rich Svalbard experience.
Arrival day – 1st Meeting
Good planning, nice tour mates and careful preparations are half the trip! It is therefore important that all participants are in place in Longyearbyen on Monday afternoon. The guide will pick you up at your choice of accommodation at 4 pm. During the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the other participants and to make sure you brought the necessary equipment. The guide will brief you on the planned route and give you an updated weather forecast. We will pack and prepare the kayaks for the next day before we end the meeting. Those who need to supplement their equipment will have time to do so before the sporting goods stores close at 6 pm.
Departure from Longyearbyen by boat. A two-hour voyage lies ahead of us before we arrive at Skansbukta (Skans Bay). Here, we will go ashore and prepare the kayaks for our trip into Billefjorden. Skansbukta has a rich plant and bird life and also features remains of Svalbard’s trapping history. We will take an easy walk in the area before we get into the kayaks. The goal is to reach the abandoned Russian mining town of Pyramiden. The town was founded because of the coal seam in the area, but the town was abandoned in 1998. We will set up our camp with a clear view of the Nordenskiöld glacier, named after Gustav Adolf Nordenskiöld. The length of this journey is about 15 km.
We will kayak a short distance in the morning before we reach Pyramiden. Pyramiden has a modern architecture and housing, a cultural centre, a sports hall, a school and an abandoned mine. The town is completely deserted, and a walk through this settlement is a
unique experience. Our trip continues after a couple of hours of urban experience, and we will paddle over Petuniabukta (Petunia Bay) to the Nordenskiöld Glacier. We will set up our camp overlooking the mighty glacier front and a rich variety of birdlife. In this area it is also possible to see Svalbard’s biggest seal, the bearded seal, which can weigh up to 350kg – an exciting sight when sitting in a kayak. The length of this journey is about 18 km.
We will take our time kayaking in this area. Large chunks of ice continually calve from the glacier, which limits how close to the glacier we can get. Seals are usually very curious about the kayaks, so there can be many exciting photographic opportunities here. This camp is set up in Brucebyen (Bruce town), which was founded by the Scots in 1919. Like many others, they discovered that mining for minerals on Svalbard is an expensive business, and the cabins were abandoned after a few years. The length of this journey is about 12 km.
In front of us lies Billefjorden and the horizon. We paddle towards the sun, out to Phantomodden, which is the last stop on the tour. On the way, the landscape begins to open up, and wide tundra plains dominate the coast. We will have time to discuss the events of the previous days, and enjoy the silence of travel in the kayaks. We will be picked up in the afternoon and will return back to Longyearbyen around 7 pm. The length of this journey is about 18 km.
General information: Be aware that the length per day, the trip and the activities may change due to weather conditions and the composition of the group. Bad weather and wind might cause us to shorten or lengthen the trips from what is described here. If the group makes good time, we will change the pick-up place, thus enabling a longer trip. There will be time for the group, together with the guide, to plan some hikes. The area where we will kayak is filled with exciting and interesting history, and offers some really great wildlife experiences. We will meet birds and animals up close and hopefully get some good photo opportunities. All equipment and food will be brought with us in the kayaks, and we will establish a new camp every day.
Demands of participants: It is advantageous that you are experienced in kayaking, but not necessary. However, if you have no kayaking experience, you must like challenges and be in good physical shape. We use stable double kayaks and keep close to the shoreline where possible. The tour is medium demanding and the participants should not have any problems with arms/shoulders. Daily distance in kayaks is approximately 15 – 20 km.
If you need sport equipment: www.arctica.no/en/
Get 10% off accommodation with us when you book overnight trips!
Please arrive at the latest the day before departure in the afternoon
Period: July – August
13.07.2021 and/or 27.07.2021 – Packing in kayak day
Duration: 1 + 4 days
Price NOK 13.950,- pr. person
NOK 3.000,- extra pr. person if only three participants
Demanding Level 4 of 5
Included in price: Transport to/from your accommodation, double kayaks, kayak clothing, food, tent, sleeping mat, experienced guide with necessary safety equipment. The price does not include sleeping bag.
Minimum 4 and maximum 12 participants.
Map: Norwegian Polar Institute map; C8 Billefjorden