Picture yourself in Greenland, home to the world’s great fjords and most active glaciers outside of Antarctica. You’ll be dwarfed by the sheer size and scale of nature in Greenland, where wildlife and the forces of nature still reign supreme. Places like the Fjord of Eternity and Cape Farewell hint at the grandeur that lies ahead. From herds of Musk Oxen to towns that use dogsleds for transportation, a voyage to Greenland is unlike any other.
Day 1 - Reykjavik
Overnight in the city of Reykjavik at our host hotel.
Day 2 - Embarkation Day In Reykjavik
Today you’ll board the vessel in Reykjavik and set sail towards the east coast of Greenland.
Day 3 - Sea Day
We spend the day at sea in the Denmark Strait.
Day 4 - Skoldungenfjord
Skoldungen is the name of a fjord complex, an island and ghost town. We can see the remains of the abandoned town. In 1961, Denmark forced local inhabitants to settle in more accessible towns. A circumnavigation of Skoldungen Island is possible if ice is not blocking the northen extremities. A narrow waterway connects the southern part of the fjord to a neighbouring fjord and this offers an excellent kayak and Zodiac excursion also.
Day 5 - Prins Christian Sund - Passage
Our goal is to navigate the well monitored and sometimes ice choked Prins Christian Sund located at the most southerly cape of Greenland. If successful we will have ample access to magnificent views from the ship decks. If not, in the true spirit of expedition, we will have fun trying.
Day 6 - Herjolfsnes
The settlement at Herjolfsnes was founded c. 985 by emigrants from Iceland, under the leadership of Erik the Red. The settlement was named for Herjolf Baardsen who took the area of land for himself thus forming Herjolfsnes, which became a major settlement and trade port with Europe. The settlement lasted approximately 500 years. A dig at the church site in 1921 revealed a large graveyard.
Day 7 - Uunaartoq and Hvalsey (Qaqortoq)
Uunaartoq is the island site of geothermal hot springs, a favorite hangout of international vistor and the locals from the neighbouring Alluitsup Paa settlement. Enjoy this unique past-time, sitting in the hot springs, temperature of 34 to 38 degrees Celsius all year round, while watching passing icebergs. Nearby are the Inuit ruins of previous settlements from late 18th and early 19th centuries.
We plan to visit the 14th Century well-preserved ruins of one of the first Christian churches on the North American continent - Hvalsey Church. It was also here that we have the last accounts of the Norse settlers. The nearby town of Qaqortoq, with its 3000 or so inhabitants is South Greenland’s largest town and known as one of the most charming and beautiful towns in all of Greenland. It is populated with colonial buildings dating back to 1775.
Day 8 - Paamiut
In Paamiut, we’ll visit a Greenlandic community and partake in a glacial cruise – by ship and Zodiacs. We’ll also look for a variety of hikes to suit all fitness levels.
Day 9 - Nuuk
Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, has a population of less than 16,000. Humans first settled in the area as far back as 2200 BC, however Godthab (meaning Good Hope, now Nuuk) was founded properly in 1728 by the Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede. The Hans Egede Church, the Hans Egede Statue near the waterfront and other sites such as the Nuuk Cathedral and Herrnhut House offer something to those with historical interests. The Greenland National Museum also houses many artifacts related to archaeology, history, art and handicrafts, including the Greenland mummies.
Day 10 - Sisimiut
Sisimiut is Greenland’s second largest town, with a population of approximately 5500. Despite being considered too far south for dog-sledding, it still contains more sled dogs than humans and is actually the southernmost town where dogsledding occurs. Here we’ll see a kayak demonstration by some “World Champion” kayakers, take part in a guided tour, and visit an exceptional museum. There is also a solid hike across the tundra.
Day 11 - Equip Sermia
Located in Disko Bay, Equip Sermia is an impressive glacier with a five kilometre front. Calving is a regular occurrence and while we need to keep our distance, we are sure to enjoy a spectacular show.
Day 12 - Ilulissat
Ilulissat, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Sermeq Kujalleq is also one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world. It annually calves over 35 km3 of ice, i.e. 10% of the production of all Greenland calf ice and more than any other glacier outside Antarctica. The glacier has long been a source of important information to help us understand climate change.
Ilulissat is also the birthplace of Knud Rasmussen and the museum there has an extensive collection from his expeditions and the history of this place. We can also take a refreshing longer hike.We’ll also Zodiac cruise, from a safe distance, around icebergs several city-blocks long and reach more than 50 metres above the water 600 metres or more below the surface.
Day 13 - Itteliq
With a population of just over 100 people, this is an intimate and friendly Greenlandic community. The population of dogs is kept on a neighboring island. We often challenge the local people to a game of soccer. Later, we sail down the fjord of the same name and if time permits, set down the Zodiacs for an afternoon cruise.
Day 14 - Kangerlussuaq
Your Greenland adventure comes to an end at Kangerlussuaq. There is no pier here so be prepared to disembark by Zodiac. We have a charter flight scheduled for the return to Ottawa. An overnight in Ottawa at our host hotel is included.
Note: The reverse departure on August 28, 2013 includes a pre-night in Ottawa only. There is no hotel night provided at the end of the program.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy –and excitement – of expedition travel. When travelling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. The above is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this cruise – please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.