The 'Noorderlicht' was originally built in 1910 in Flensburg, Germany as a three-masted schooner. For most of her existence she served as a light-vessel on the Baltic. In 1991 the present owners purchased the hull and re-rigged and refitted her thoroughly, under the rules of "Register Holland". The 'Noorderlicht' (46 metres (153 feet) long and 6,5 metres (22 feet) in breadth) now has a well-balanced two-masted schooner rig and is well capable to sail the seven seas.
Below deck the ship has a spacious saloon, while in the deckhouse there is a cosy seating area, from which passengers can enjoy the views in comfort. All 10 double cabins have upper and lower berths, a wash basin with hot and cold running water, and a cupboard. The ship has four showers and five toilets. The modern galley is equipped with a microwave and dishwasher and the ship is both well insulated and centrally heated.
Noorderlicht has a Dutch crew of three, plus a cook and an expedition leader, who has a thorough knowledge of the area. Though the crew are in charge during sailing and will bring us ashore, passengers are expected to help with handling the sails and taking the helm. Duties will also include being on watch during night sailing. On board there are a maximum of 20 passengers of different nationalities but the main language used is English.
Our main destination is the archipelago of Spitsbergen, which is the northernmost permanently inhabited area in the world. Some three thousand Norwegians and Russians live here in three settlements, working mostly in research institutes or the coal-mining industry. Outside of the settlements Spitsbergen is still a pure wilderness area, vast parts being protected as Nature Reserves. Despite the northern position of the islands (76 - 81° N), the climate is relatively mild due to the influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Summer temperatures range from 0°C to 10° C. Occasionally there will be rain and fog, but many days will have sunshine - and many nights as well due to the midnight sun. Winds can be variable in direction and force.
** NOORDERLICHT IS CHARETERED BY OCEANWIDE BETWEEN NOVEMBER AND APRIL EACH YEAR TO PROVIDE A SERIES OF ARTIC CRUISES SAILING FROM LONGBEYEREN**