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ocean voyaging







satellite data to the mainland; vessels and especially those

Svalbard boasts outstanding of the power variety. Other 

Internet connectivity), super- than tourist charters, we 

market, phone booth, coal encountered no others during 

mine, etc.
our sojourn. Under special 
Svalbard, Norwegian for and seemingly peculiar trea- 

“cold coast,” is also known ties established in 1920 and 

by its former Dutch name 1925, Svalbard belongs to 

Spitzbergen (also an apt title, and is administered by Nor- 

it means “sharp mountains”). way, although other countries 
The islands are located are permitted to, and have, 

roughly midway between established settlements and 
Under power in the frozen North
Norway and the North Pole commercial concerns here. 

and are well off the beaten No visa is needed to visit, 

path, particularly for cruising
and anyone can come here to

A one-month circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago


Story and photos by Steve D’Antonio
work without the usual per- 
10° E 15°
20° 25°
SEA ICE EDGE
mits. Technically, while part Above, the 
of Norway, it’s not part of 
Mcrew of 
igration’s stainless ing fate amid this much
winter it never rises. The the European Union.
ARCTIC OCEAN
Northernmost Migration 
latitude steel-clad stem ice. Shortly after turning archipelago carries a host of celebrate 
81°27.7’ N
came to rest gen- about and pointing our bow “the northernmost” superla- Built for high latitudes
their furthest 

Migration’s tly against the polar ice pack, southward, however, our tives: continuously inhab- Our vessel, the late model north mile- 
route
a mere 520 miles from the jubilation turned to dread as ited civilian settlement, post Nordhavn 68 Migration, is 
stone. Below 
80° N
North Pole. To memorialize it became obvious that our office, railroad, chain hotel owned and operated by cli- 
NORDAUSTLAN
DET
left, pas-
the moment, I photographed plan was flawed: The path (a Radisson with excellent ents and longtime friends,
sage began

the GPS display’s latitude we took through the ice was Wi-Fi, thanks to an undersea a couple from Georgia. at Tromsø, O
Above, the G
A
Nordhavn readout: 81° 27.7’ N. The no longer there. The leads, as fiber optic cable used to relay
Experienced cruisers, they, Norway, then L
E
SPITSBERGEN
crew shared a round of con- they are wont
along with their golden- P
68 Migration continued to I
H
Pyramiden
gratulations and posed for a to do, had
doodle Gulliver, took deliv- C
at the edge Bear Island, R
A
photo on the bow, it being closed.
ery of the vessel in Florida
the West 
of the polar 
Longyearbyen
that much closer to the pole. The Sval- in 2010 and then cruised
Coast of 
ice pack as While there were leads that bard archi-
to the Bahamas twice. Later 
EDGEOYA
far north Spitsbergen, D
would allow us to venture pelago is a land they voyaged from Florida
R
as possible. north to the A
further north, the vessel’s of extremes — to Newfoundland (where I ice edge and B
L
Right, Steve A
master and crew agreed that extreme cold, cruised with them in 2011), then south V
D’Antonio S
in the once- we would go no further; we extreme light circumnavigating the island along the East 
were confident we had set a and extreme as a shakedown in prepara- 
booming Coast.
record for the highest north- darkness. tion for a subsequent trans- 
Soviet mining 
Norwegian ern latitude achieved by a During our Atlantic crossing. Their route 
Sea
colony of Bar- 
75°
fiberglass power vessel, and month-long included Newfoundland, 
entsburg, now 
Bear Island
a ghost town.
would ask no more. With
passage, the Labrador, Greenland (where 
a fiberglass hull, regardless
sun never set, I also cruised with them in 

of its heft, we were tempt-
while in mid-
2014), Iceland, the Faroe



26 OCEAN NAVIGATOR
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
www.oceannavigator.com
www.oceannavigator.com
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
OCEAN NAVIGATOR 27


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