Starting in Iceland sail the Faroe Islands, Shetlands, Orkneys and onwards to Ullapool. Mix hands on sailing with cultural exploration and wildlife spotting on this magical tall ship voyage.
Breathtaking coastal scenery, fascinating historical sites and rare wildlife will all be commonplace on this trip to sail the Faroe Islands and other wild island groups between Iceland and Scotland. See standing stones and spitting geysers, golden eagles, otters, arctic foxes, whales and of course puffins! Witness a geological transformation as you leave the Mid Atlantic Ridge with its volcanic wilderness and arrive at the gentle basaltic slopes of Scotland. No experience is needed to join this sailing voyage and you’ll learn everything you need to know on the go.
Once you’ve got acquainted with the ship and settled into your comfy bunks your first stop after leaving the mainland of Iceland will be the nearby Westman Islands created only 12,000 years ago with fascinating geology and a large Puffin colony. Then its time to experience the real North Atlantic as you join the watch system and sail over 400nml over the open Atlantic to the Faroe Islands – voted top destination by the readers of National Geographic Traveller in 2015. This group of 18 wild islands are fully exposed to the raw power of the ocean giving them a truly isolated and untouched feel.
Sail the Faroe Islands
If the weather is fair the cliffs off Slaettaratindur will be visible from a great distance. These are Europe’s highest sea cliffs at 882 mtrs above sea level. First port of call will be Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe’s. After clearing customs and immigration we will explore the Islands and magnificent fjords. You’ll take in the Viking excavation site at Kvivik, Gannets dive bombing at their largest colony at Vestmanna, a hike to Ambadalur valley, then on to Mykines to the west with its bird colonies of Puffins, Gannets, Fulmars, and Black Guillemots.
Explore the Shetlands
Leaving this north Atlantic archipelago another 190nml stretch of open water lies ahead of you to reach the Shetlands. Likely to take up 36 hours of non stop sailing, its a great opportunity to practice key skills and contemplate the world as you look out on to the ocean. Keeping the ship on an south easterly heading, Lerwick is your next stop, a famous old herring port. Lerwick is a good base from where to start exploring the mainland with sites like Jarlshof-Prehistoric and Norse settlement and Unst with the Hermaness National Nature Reserve which has a great variety of wild live, birds as well as mammals.
Discover the Orkneys
Depending on the wind and weather Westray or Sanday will be your first stop on the Orkney’s. Both Islands offer great cultural history as well as unspoiled beaches with a large range of wildlife. Navigating between the rocks, Stromness is your next port of call from where yo can visit sites like Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe. That evening you’ll make the short hop to Hoy. Orkney’s second largest Island rises dramatically from the sea with Ward Hill towering 480 mtrs above sea level. A day in Stornoway will be your final stop before you set sail for Ullapool and come to the of end of your epic journey.
Birdlife you’re likely to spot on the trip includes, Skuas, Puffins, Razorbills, Guillimots, Auk, Gannets. Sailing among these Islands also you’re likely to stumble across sea mammals include common and grey seals, otters, orcas, dolphins and porpoises. Whales are commonly spotted as you sail out of Reyavik – some Minke Whales or Humpback whales are easy to see. Even a Killer whale can be spotted along the coast of Iceland and around the Scottish Islands.
Why We Love This Adventure
- This small, intimate tall ship has a family-led crew who give their heart and life to sailing and will ensure you have a fantastic experience on board
- Combine a hands on sailing adventure with lots of of time to explore ashore as you sail from island to island
- Wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities - see puffins, whales, seals and dolphins
From Reykjavik, the voyage will visit many of the islands between Iceland and Scotland.
This voyage is all about setting sail and discovering new places together. The voyage takes 21 days. The distance could be covered in half this time, but the crew like to take their time to use the wind to sail and explore as many islands as possible.
Sailing through the night, you will get involved in steering the ship, help setting and adjusting the sails. You will divided into watches, which means you will take turns in sleeping and being on watch, under the guiding eye of the crew. You do not need any sailing experience to join, the crew is there to help you find your way on board and teach you as much as you want to know.
Leaving Reykjavik customs and immigration will have to be cleared. But you will not yet leave Iceland. There is one stop you can not leave un-explored. The Westman Islands. Apart from its large Puffin colony, the Islands have much to over in ways of geology. This group of Islands is only 12000 years old! In 1973 a volcanic fissure opened up the main Island and a new volcano, Eldfell gushed out lava streams. As a result the Island became two square miles bigger.
Leaving Heimaey sail will be set for another group of Islands, The Faroe Islands. In between you will feel the real Atlantic, the group will be split up in watches and a course will be plotted for the Faroe’s. The Faroe Islands are way out there in the North Atlantic current. This group of 18 islands is fully exposed to the fury of the Ocean. It is wind swept being right in the path of the depressions moving North East. This makes it isolated and therefor untouched. It is raw and rough, home to some of the world’s most awesome views. The first sight of land after a 400nml sail over the North Atlantic open water.
If the weather is fair, the cliffs off Slaettaratindur will be visible from a great distance. These are Europe’s highest sea cliffs at 882 mtrs above sea level. First port of call will be Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe’s. After clearing customs and immigration it is time to explore the Islands and magnificent fjords. The Faroe Islands where chosen number one destination 2015 by the readers of National Geographic Traveler. Criteria’s being, sustainable, culturally minded, authentic, superlative, and timely.
The Islands have much to offer. Places like the Viking excavation site at Kvivik. Gannets bomb diving at their largest colony at Vestmanna. Take the steps down to Gjogv natural harbour and be overwhelmed by the nature surrounding you! Make the hike to Ambadalur valley and gaze at the marvelous site of Bugvin, the tallest freestanding cliff column in the Faroe’s. And there is more! Mykines to the west with its bird colonies of Puffins, Gannets, Fulmars, and Black Guillemots. Take the walk up to the light house over the challenging free hanging bridge towering 35 meters above the Atlantic Ocean.
Leaving this north Atlantic archipelago another stretch of open water lies ahead of you. The 190nml would normally take no more than 36 hours, a good time to contemplate thoughts. Keeping the ship on an south easterly heading, Lerwick is the next stop, this famous old herring port used to be filled with herring drifters of all sorts. The Dutch also used this port to land their catch and take in new provisions. After clearing customs and immigration, Lerwick is a good base from where to start exploring the main land. Sites like Jarlshof-Prehistoric and Norse settlement are a must when visiting the Shetlands.
Unst with Hermaness National Nature Reserve has a great variety of wild live, birds as well as mammals. If you are lucky you will even get to spot an otter. Making your way south, Fair Isle is the last stop on the Shetlands. Lying halfway between the Orkneys and Shetland, it is one of Britain’s most successful remote communities and known for the warmth of its welcome to visitors.
Depending on the wind and weather Westray or Sanday will be the first stop on the Orkney’s. Both Islands offer great cultural history as well as unspoiled beaches with a large range of wild live. Sailing among these Islands you will stumble across sea mammals include common and grey seals, otters, orcas, dolphins and porpoises and the occasional lost sperm whale. Navigating between the rocks and stacs, Stromness is the next port of call.
From Stromness we will set out on an excursion around the main Island, visiting sites like Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe. That evening a short hop to Hoy could be made. Orkney’s second largest Island rises dramatically from the sea with Ward Hill towering 480 mtrs above sea level.
Leaving the “Old men of Hoy” on the horizon you will soon spot the Butt of Lewis. Leaving Cape Wrath well to port with Stornoway our new destination. From here you will have the next day to explore the sites of Gearannan black house village and the Callanisch standing stones. When sail is set for Ullapool you will end an epic journey. Passing the Summer Isles in the footsteps of ancient explores!
- Accommodation in a 2 person (shared) cabin, ensuite
- All meals
- Coffee and tea
- Blanket, sheets, pillow and covers
- 3-4 crew members guiding the group
What's Not included
- Soda and alcoholic drinks
- Paid excursions ashore
- Transfer to and from the vessel at the start and end of the voyage
- Visa if needed
- You can not wash clothes on board so please bring enough clothes for the duration of the voyage
Trip Duration21 days
Start LocationReykjavik, Iceland
End LocationUllapool, United Kingdom
Minimum Age15 years (if younger please contact us)
Average Group Size12
There are 6 cabins, each for 2 persons. The cabins are situated in the middle of the vessel, which makes them as stable as possible.
Your bunk is inside one of the two person cabins. Your bed will be either the high or the lower bed of a bedbunk. All beds are over 80cm wide and 2 meters long. Each bed has a reading light for the evening hours. The cabins are ensuite with a shower, (hot and cold water), and a toilet, that when possible flushes with outside water.
In the cabin itself you will find a sink and mirror. Your clothing can be stored in the closet and your bag or suitcase can be stored under the bed.
On board, there’s no set menu. The menu is developed on board with influences of her surroundings. The cook tries to use as many local fresh products as possible. Around the North Sea, when it gets colder you will find some ‘stamppot’ (Dutch mashes potatoes speciality) with smoked sausage on your plate.
During a longer stay on board you will hardly ever see the same dish twice. Most meals are served with a salad or fruit on the side. During longer trips they take good care of the vegetables and fruit to ensure that you will enjoy fresh food as long as possible.
Breakfast depends on the sailing situation. When underway breakfast is at 8, a buffet where you will find fresh baked bread when we are underway for longer periods, with cereals and sometimes even porridge. When the crew are anchored or in harbour you can eat breakfast outside in fine weather, or inside together on a table with an egg, or ‘wentelteefjes’ (French toast), or a fresh smoothie.
Lunch is almost always served with something warm or special, can be soup, sausage rolls, fresh fruit or special bread.
Dinner is at 18:00 hours when you are sailing. When the weather is good and it is still nice and light outside they will serve dinner in a buffet style outside. If this is not possible you will find a buffet downstairs with the possibility to eat inside or outside. When you are not sailing and eating inside you will find a set table where everyone can enjoy the meal together.
The cook on board is one of the crew.
When you go sailing, you will go on a culinary trip around the world. You will find influences of all the places they have visited and will be surprised with a beautiful meal every night.
Your voyage will start in Reykjavik harbor, minutes walking from the city centre. From Reykjavik Airport you can take the bus to central Reykjavik. The boat will be moored close to the fishing harbor.
Last port to call in is Ullapool, where you will leave the ship. Ullapool has a good connection in the morning and afternoon to Inverness where you can fly anywhere. Or you can take the train to Oban which connects to a destinations in the United Kingdom.
This Trip is Suitable For
Adventure seekers, sailors, nature lovers, solo travellers, couples, friends, families.
You should always bring
- The right clothes for the right weather – always expect rain!
- Swimming clothes
- Two pairs of footwear
- Sense of humour
- Open mind
The Watch System
The ship offers a hands-on sailing experience which means by joining a voyage you work as ‘voyage crew’ and help to sail the ship. There is a three watch schedule on board, which means you will working be on ‘watch’ for 4 hours, getting involved in everything required to sail the ship, and then have 8 hours off watch (sleeping, resting etc.) before you’re back on watch again for 4 hours. So within 24 hours you will be on watch for 8 hours.
The watches are divided into the Red, White and Blue watch, after the colours of the Dutch flag.
Red: 00:00 – 04:00 and 12:00 – 16:00 hours
White: 04:00 – 08:00 and 16:00 – 20:00 hours
Blue: 08:00 – 12:00 and 20:00 – 24:00 hours
Each watch has a watch leader, one of the permanent crew. The watch leader will give you instructions and your first watch will be filled with instructions on what watch keeping is. You will be told what is expected and you will be informed about the navigational equipment on board.
Watch keeping means being out on deck, awake and without music or books. You maybe be ‘looking out’ on the aft or the front of the ship, handling the sails or steering the vessel in turns and writing down the position of the vessel every hour. Three watches means that the watches are never bigger than 6 people. So all watch members will get a chance do some navigational work.
Every watch has an own set of chores to do on board. One watch is responsible for making the dinner and doing the dishes of the lunch, another will make breakfast and do the dishes of dinner and another watch will prepare lunch and do the dishes of breakfast.
We have a daily routine we work with and we will keep to this routine. This way you know what to expect and you know when to work or sleep. We do not change watches, so you will have the same routine every day.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the language spoken on board?
The ship’s crew is mainly Dutch, but sometimes international. The language spoken on board is English. The crew on board speak Dutch, English and German.
I am traveling with someone. Can we book the same room?
Yes, as long as there are two person rooms available, you can book your voyage on board and say you are traveling with someone. You will be placed in the same room.
What kind of clothes do I need?
The ship does not offer sailing clothes on board, you will have to bring your own waterproof clothing. This does not have to be a sailing suite, waterproof and warm clothing will suffice. Please be prepared for both rainy and sunny days.
Dates & Availability
- 11 May 2019 – 01 Jun 2019
An old Herring drifter (Logger) built in 1915, the ship is 28 meters long over deck (38 meters overall) and takes 16 trainees on her voyages. No previous sailing experience is needed and experienced and new sailors love her equally.
A family of four professional sailors have owned and run this vessel since 2006 and sail her with true passion. Built for the North Sea she’s a fast sailor and her rigging is as traditional as it gets.
We love that the boat’s appearance is kept as traditional as possible yet combined with modern techniques and equipment. Everyone on board is part of the informal sail training program that is designed to get the best out of everyone whether you join for 2 days or a longer ocean crossing.
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