Day 1 Keflavik
Arrive at Keflavik airport and make the short journey to the small port of the same name to join the ship. In the early evening we leave Iceland and sail west towards the Denmark Strait.
Day 2 Denmark Strait - Arctic Circle Crossing
At sea, sailing north through the Denmark Strait. This is a good area for spotting the Blue Whales, the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth. It is believed that there are just 600 or so (out of a world population of around 6,000) in the North Atlantic. We may also see Orcas (Killer Whales), and are almost certain to see Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets and rafts of Common Guillemots and Razorbills. We cross the Arctic Circle and continue north, perhaps seeing White-beaked Dolphins, Humpback Whales and Minke Whales.
Day 3 East Coast of Greenland - Scoresby Sund - Volquart Boons Coast
In the morning we will spot our first icebergs appear as we approach the east coast of Greenland, passing the huge cliff faces of Kap Brewster. We intend to make our first landing in Scoresby Sund. Since the mouth of this, the world's longest fjord, remains ice-free almost all the winter, it is an excellent place for viewing seals. The area is also home to the only large seabird colonies on the eastern coast of Greenland. Serious hikers can cross the valley and climb on to the plateau of Kap Brewster from where they will have an excellent view over the fjord, Liverpool Land and the sea. On their way they may spot the white Gyr Falcon, Wheatears and Snow Buntings, and Arctic Hares. In the evening we sail further into the Scoresby Sund making our way along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast, a good place for seeing Narwhal.
Day 4 Scoresby Sund - Danmark Ø
We continue along Scoresby Sund, taking a Zodiac cruise along the glacier front in Vikingebugt, a bay surrounded by basaltic mountains. Later we land on Danmark Ø where there are the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular tent rings of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites.
Day 5 Cape Hofmann Halvø - Eielson Glacier - Scoresby Land
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans and at sea Great Northern Divers. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change color. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colorful touch - the berries are tasty too !
Later, during a Zodiac cruise along the 3 km wide face of the Eielson Glacier, we will come close to huge icebergs and may also see Ringed Seals, as well as distant views of Musk Oxen on shore. In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, hoping to see Narwhal again and enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colors of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
Day 6 Scoresby Land - Sydkap - Jameson Land
On our way to Sydkap in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100 m high and a mile in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400 m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating, but the climate is harsh - sometimes snow lies throughout the summer - but some animals - Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meager vegetation. The lemmings are preyed upon by Long-tailed Skua, Snowy Owl and Arctic Fox.
Day 7 Illoqqortoormiut - Scoresby Sund
We land in Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement near Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of seals, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After lunch we will sail south, passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast where groups of Harp Seals can be spotted among the ice floes.
Day 8 Blosseville Coast - Nansen Fjord - Mikis Fjord
We continue along the Blosseville Coast with wonderful views of snow covered peaks - these are the highest mountains of Greenland, some of them reaching over 3000m. At the mouth of Nansen Fjord we spot Gunnbjørns Fjeld, at 3700m: it is both the highest peak in Greenland and also the highest mountain north of the Arctic Circle. Next we sail into Mikis Fjord, bounded by steep cliffs. The fjord is a good place to spot Narwhal, Polar Bear, Ringed Seals and Harp Seals. At Södalen at the head of Mikis Fjord we land in a marshy delta. There are good populations of both Common and Arctic Redpolls, as well as a chance of seeing flocks of Barnacle Geese and Pink-footed Geese.
Day 9 Kangerlussuaq Fjord - Skaergårdshalvø
In the morning, we head south for Kangerlussuaq fjord where glaciers reach the sea creating a fabulous landscape of glacier fronts, icebergs and cliffs. On shore there are the remains of dwellings of Thule culture people. The fjord is also a good place to see Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls. We conclude the day with a Zodiac trip to Skaergårdshalvø, a popular summer hunting ground for the people of Ammassalik. Most years a number of families arrive here in early summer and stay until the end of the hunting season and we might be able to meet them. In the afternoon we will sail south-east towards the Denmark Strait.
Day 10 At Sea
The whole day at sea offers excellent opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, at night the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 11 Keflavik
Arrive and Keflavik, and transfer for the airport for the flight home.
When East Greenland ice conditions are heavy,
(about 25 % chance each year): Ammassalik
Day 3 Nansen Fjord - Sødalen - Mikis Fjord
At the mouth of Nansen Fjord we spot Gunnbjørns Fjeld, at 3700m: it is both the highest peak in Greenland and also the highest mountain north of the Arctic Circle. Next we sail into Mikis Fjord, bounded by steep cliffs. The fjord is a place where we sometimes spot Narwhal, Polar Bear, Ringed seals and Harp Seals. In the afternoon, we will land at Sødalen in a marshy delta at the head of Mikis Fjord. This is a fine area for walking, both around the delta and further into the valley. There are good populations of both Common and Arctic Redpolls here, as well as a chance of seeing migrating flock of Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese.
Day 4 Kangerlussuaq Fjord
In the morning we sail into the Kangerlussuaq fjord where glaciers reach the sea creating a fabulous landscape of glacier fronts, icebergs and cliffs. On shore there are the remains of dwellings of Thule culture people. The fjord is also a place to see sometimes Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls. After several landings we sail out of the fjord in the evening.
Day 5 Tassilap Fjord - Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord - Sangmilik - Glacier de France
Today we explore the Tassilap and Kangertigtivatsiaq fjords, both hemmed in by towering mountains. We land at Sangmilik, one of the few landing sites in these fjords. On shore there is a chance to pick delicious Arctic Blueberries and Crowberries. We then take a Zodiac trip along the impressive front of the Glacier de France in Schweizerland. This is an area packed with huge icebergs and frequented by hunters from the Ammassalik area.
Day 6 Ammassalik
Ammassalik is the capital of East Greenland and the centre of an area of small hunting and fishing settlements, a population of about 3,000 living by hunting Walrus, Narwhal and Polar Bear, and fishing for Arctic Char. We will spend the whole day in and near this friendly village enabling us to experience modern Greenlandic culture.
Day 7 Køge Bugt - Husryggen - Umivik
In Køge Bugt (Ikeq) the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Though a true glacier the ice cap is not dangerous and easy to walk on. Those who have visited Antarctica will note the similarities of the landscape, with giant tabular icebergs calving from vast glacier fronts. We intend to land at Husryggen and abandoned settlement from the sixties. At Umivik we look for the place, where Nansen started his ascent of the Greenlandic ice-cap.
Day 8 Skjoldungen Island - Qoornoq - Dronning Marie Dal
The highlight of this days are the views of some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the whole of Greenland as we circumnavigate the fantastic Skjoldungen Island. Ringed Seals are frequently seen here. At the southern end we sail by a deserted Greenlandic settlement, while further into the fjord we land near the remains of a Thule culture settlement at Qoornoq. We make a landing in the Balder Fjord with its stunning geological formations. On the second day, at the head of the fjord we make an excursion to Dronning Marie Dal, strolling through a landscape made colorful by the autumn hues of different species of berries. Later we sail into Nörrevig and make a zodiac excursion along the front of Thryms glacier.
Day 9 & 10 Denmark Strait
We return across the Denmark Strait, again keeping a sharp lookout for whales and, at this time of year, hoping to catch sight of the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights).
Day 11 Keflavik
Arrive in Keflavik and transfer to the airport for the flight home.
Depending on weather conditions (specifically the ice conditions and direction of the wind on Day 1 we may decide to make this voyage in reverse, sailing first to Skjoldungen and departing from Nansen Fjord.
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