[September 17 - 29, 2012] If your bucket list includes frist-hand sightings of the majestic Aurora Borealis, this is the tour for you. Nowhere on Earth can nature's most spectacular light show be better seen than in the autumn and winter skies above Greenland's eastern coast.
This tour is also perfect for those who enjoy plenty of walking and hiking with their adventure travel. One of the best ways to experience new landscapes and cultures is by getting out on the land and exploring it. This tour offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hike some of the most pristine wilderness on the planeet.
Because Quark has been sailing this remote coast for decades, we know all the best spots for hiking, trekking and wildlife viewing. Our longstanding relationships with Greenlandic elders mean you'll be welcomed as new friends at Ittoqqortoormiit, known for its fascinating blend of native culture and modern life.
Join us in September 2012, for this very special northern lights cruise. Call 1.888.892.0344 for more information or to book your cruise of a lifetime!
When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team most allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This is a tentative outline of what you'll experience on this cruise - please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
Day 1 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Your adventure begins with an overnight stay in thoroughly-modern Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital city.
Day 2 - Embarkation day
After a liesurely morning exploring Reykjavik on your own, join Quark's group transfer to the port to board your vessel - polar adventure ship Akademik Sergey Vavilov. Linger on deck with your camera or binoculars. Scan the sky for seabirds, and the horizon for breaching whales.
Day 3-4 - At sea
Sail across the Denmark Strait en route to mysterious Greenland. Your onboard Expedition Team members keey you informed and entertained with presentations about Greenland's wildlife, history and geography. You'll also receive several important safety and operational briefings.
Day 5 - Kong Oscar Fjord and Ella Island
Rimmed by the majestic Fjord Mountains, Kong Oscar Fjord (named in 1899 for Sweden's king, Oscar II) offers plenty of opportunity for Arctic adventure.
Depending on conditions, we may hike the delciate flower-and-berry strewn tundra at Holm Bay; Zodiac-cruise through spectacular Alepfjord, and climb to the top of Ella Island. Be sure to pack both binoculars and camera: Ella Island offers unparalleled views of five fjords, beyond which you may also spot grazing musk oxen.
Day 6 - Sofia sound, Antarctic Sound, Ymer Island
Yes, there is an "Antarctic" Sound within the Arctic circle! Here, you'll see the beautiful blue and gold of layered sedimentary rock on the barren eastern side of Ymer Island, and the lush vegetation of Blomsterbugten (Bay of Flowers) on the west side. We may hike from this lovely bay to Noa Lake and onwards, climbing slightly for a spectacular view of neighboring Dusens Fjord.
Day 7 - Liverpool Coast
The jagged Liverpool Coast stretches southward from King Oscar Fjord to Scoresby Sund, the largest, longest, and - some say - the most beautiful fjord system in the world. This area was named for William Scoresby, a whaler, scientist and man of the cloth who charted the east coast of Greenland in 1822.
We'll let the elements decide our activities today. We may board the Zodiacs and cruise to Uunartoq Qeqertaq (the "warming island - so called for the discovery in 2005 after glacial ice melted to reveal an island.), or into nearby Storefjord.
Day 8 - Itoqqortoormiit, Hurry Inlet
Itoqqortoormiit is East Greenland's most northly community, and one of the world's last remaining examples of a living hunter society. It's also one of the best places in the north to view the Aurora Borealis - the northern lights - and boasts superb hiking opportunities in nearby Hurry Inlet.
We'll visit with traditional Greenlandic residents, and you'll be able to see unique handicrafts made from locally harvested materials by the area's multi-talented artisans. We hope to see sled dog demonstrations, and visit the "women's house", where many items are still made by hand, and animal skins are prepared for use during the long, cold winters.
Day 9 - Sydkap, Øfjord
Here we plan to Zodiac-cruise among massive icebergs, landing at an ancient Thule settlement once used as a winter camp. You may still see the centuries old subterranean homes, tent rings and discarded whale bones left behind by these nomadic ancestors of today's Greenlandic peoples.
The surrounding vistas are extraordinary, and include hundreds of icebergs, each the size of a large apartment building. The rich tundra supports herds of enormous musk oxen, and the fjord is ringed by soaring mountain peaks. Visitors sometimes say they feel they've entered some mythic land of giants, while they themselves have shrunk to the size of ants.
If the weather cooperates, we'll end this action-packed day with a festive BBQ on Vavilov's deck.
Day 10 - Rypefjord, Kap Hofmann Halvø
Sailing through the steep-walled Rypefjord, you may see a number of rare, blue icebergs. More normally seen in the Antarctic, these magnificent ice-castles seem to glow an iridescent blue. Birders should watch for Wheatears, Snow Buntings and Ravens.
At Cape Hofmann Halvø, we'll have our best chance of spotting grazing musk oxen, and also enjoy the delicate beauty of tundra wildflowers such as dwarf willlow and dwarf birch.
Day 11 - Røde and Danmarks Islands
Here's your chance to Zodiac-cruise among "grounded" icebergs through another of East Greenland's spectacular fjord systems. We plan to land on the curiously colored "Red Island," which takes its name from the island's beautiful hematite-colored sandstone.
On Danmarks Island, you'll have another opportunity to hike a beautiful, lush tundra; this time culminating in magnificent views over Scoresby Sund and Fohn Fjord. You'll also enjoy a visit to an ancient archeaological site, led by our ship's historian.
Day 12-13 - At sea
Our homeward journey takes us back across the Denmark Strait, where you may spot white-beakded dolphions, and whales - humpback or Minke. Birders should keep watch for kittiwakes, gannets, guillemots, fulmars and razorbills.
Day 14 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Your Greenland's Northern Lights tour ends where it began, in Iceland's vibrant capital. From here, you are free to fly home or extend your trip in Iceland.
Extend Your Stay
Want to stay longer, or arrive earlier? Contact our Polar Travel Advisers via email, live chat or phone (1.888.892.0334 or +1.802.735.1536) for seamless, worry-free booking of all trip extensions.
You may like to extend your stay.