Noorderlicht, or Northern Lights in Dutch, is a two-masted schooner that spends the summer taking tourists around the Arctic region, particularly the Norwegian islands of Svalbard, and other remote places in the archipelago searching for wildlife. Then just before the winter sets in, the ship is sailed to Tempelfjorden, a fjord at Spitsbergen, and allowed to freeze in the sea ice where it becomes a unique ice-bound hotel.
The SV Noordelicht was originally named Fs Kalkgrund II, and was built in Flensburg, Germany in 1910, as a three-masted schooner. She was used as a light vessel as well as a weather ship and pilot station. During World War II, she was renamed Flensburg and began to serve the German Navy. Her middle mast was taken out to improve stability, and an anti-aircraft gun was fitted. The ship retired from service in 1963, after which she served different purposes, once functioning as a worker’s hostel and another time as a sailing clubhouse. She was bought by her current owners in 1991 and given a thorough re-fitting, strengthening her bow to face the Arctic ice. The ship was renamed Noorderlicht, and since then she has been functioning as an adventure cruise vessel.
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