Sjuøyane (Seven Islands)
When Arctic cruises pass through the Sjuøyane region they are visiting the Seven Islands that make up the northern-most part of the Norwegian archipelago. The three biggest islands are Martensøya, Parryøya, and Phippsøya, with the four smaller islands being Nelsonøya, Tavleøya, Vesle Tavleøya, and Waldenøya.
The islands are markers for many of the great explorations of the Arctic. Some of the islands are even named after famed explorers – Parryøya for Parry, Phippsøya for the British explorer Phipps, and Nelsonøya for the renowned British admiral Horatio Nelson, who, legend has it, was almost eaten by a polar bear when he visited the area as a young naval midshipman.
Part of the Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve, the islands reward those who take time to explore. While sharing the Arctic region’s overall rugged and stark beauty, the islands also have little treasures waiting to be found – clinging plant life, stubborn small flowers, and a variety of colourful geological treats beckoning passengers ashore.
Many of the islands’ mountains and hilltops have acquired a coat of green moss thanks to the abundant fertilizer provided by thousands of roosting sea birds. Along with the auks, guillemots, gulls, and penguin-like puffins, the islands are also home (or at least stopping-off points) for walruses, reindeer, Arctic foxes, and the occasional polar bear.
If you’d like to explore the remote beauty of the Seven Islands take a look at our Spitsbergen cruises below.