Greenland Explorer: Valleys and Fjords

Day 1

Reykjavik, Iceland

Fly independently to Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city, and overnight at the Radisson.


Day 2

Embark the Sea Spirit

Today we board the Sea Spirit in Reykjavik and set sail towards the east coast of Greenland. As we sail out to sea, get ready for a great adventure! Use spotting scopes to assist with seabird identification from the deck of our ship. Also watch for minke, humpback and blue whales. (B,D)


Day 3

Denmark Strait

Sail through the Denmark Strait en route for mysterious Greenland. The onboard Expedition Team will keep us informed and entertained with presentations about Greenland’s wildlife, history and geography. (B,L,D)
 

Day 4

Skoldungenfjord

Skoldungen is the name of a fjord complex, an island and an abandoned town. The fjord is a welcome shelter from the open sea, offering contrasting colors of bright green water and brilliant white ice. Waterfalls pour down the tall cliffs, and you will spot Thryms Glacier in the distance. The fjord was once home to the Skoldungen settlement, now a ghost 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 northern extremities. A narrow waterway connects the southern part of the fjord to a neighboring fjord, and is an ideal place for kayaking and Zodiac cruising. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5

Prins Christian Sund

Today on our Greenland cruise, the experienced ship captain will attempt 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 deck of the Sea Spirit. If not, in the true spirit of expedition, we will have fun trying! (B,L,D)

 

Day 6

Herjolfsnes

Nearing the most southern tip of Greenland, 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. In the early 1900s, rising sea levels exposed clothing and remains. A dig in 1921 revealed a Viking church and large graveyard. (B,L,D)


Day 7

Uunaartoq / Qaqortoq

Uunaartoq is the island site of geothermal hot springs, a favorite hangout of international visitors and the locals from the neighboring Alluitsup Paa settlement. Enjoy this unique past-time, sitting in the hot springs and chatting with locals while watching passing icebergs. Nearby are the Inuit ruins of previous settlements from late 18th and early 19th centuries. We plan to visit the well-preserved 14th-century 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. (B,L,D)

Day 8

Paamiut

In Paamiut, visit a Greenlandic community and enjoy a glacier cruise aboard the Sea Spirit and Zodiacs. The town is framed by towering blue-black mountains, and you can stretch your legs with a variety of hikes to suit all fitness levels. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

Day 10

Sisimiut

Sisimiut is Greenland’s second largest town, with a population of approximately 5,500. Inhabited for more than 4,000 years, Sisimiut offers a colorful history combining Saqqaq, Dorest and Thule cultures. The colorful wooden houses are typical of Greenlandic communities today, and our seasoned expedition staff points out what the various home colors symbolize. Despite being considered too far south for dog-sledding, it still contains more sled dogs than humans and is actually the southernmost town where dog-sledding occurs. Here, 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. (B,L,D)

Day 11

Equip Sermia

Located in Disko Bay, Equip Sermia is an impressive glacier with a three-mile front. Calving is a regular occurrence and while we need to keep our distance, we are sure to enjoy a spectacular show. In this remote area, the only sounds we are likely to hear are the loud rumblings of the glacier. (B,L,D)

Day 12

Ilulissat

Ilulissat, 150 miles 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 21 miles3 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. You can also take a refreshing longer hike. While here, we cruise aboard Zodiacs around icebergs several city-blocks long and reach more than 160 feet above the water 1,900 feet or more below the surface. (B,L,D)

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. Our staff is familiar to the locals, so we often challenge them to join us in a game of soccer. Later, sail down the fjord of the same name and if time permits, set down the Zodiacs for an afternoon cruise. (B,L,D)

Day 14

Kangerlussuaq / Disembark / Ottawa

Our Greenland cruise 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. Spend tonight in Ottawa at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. (B)

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.