Summary : East Greenland is one of the most isolated habitations in the world. Along the more than 12,427 miles of coastline you’ll only encounter two towns and five small settlements, inhabited by no more than 3,500 people. An awesome wilderness including the world's largest national park, East Greenland offers fantastic possibilities for great adventures. In East Greenland, steep mountains rise from the sea and giant white and blue icebergs float in deep fjords. Only 120 years ago, there was no connection between East and West Greenland. Therefore, the culture, traditions, and even language are different between inhabitants of the east and west. Discover the world’s largest fjord system in East Greenland. Zodiac cruise and kayak along sounds filled with spectacular icebergs calved from glaciers of Greenland’s enormous ice cap. Rock-climbers will thrill to the adventure of scaling some of the world’s least explored and dazzling mountain ranges while scuba divers plunge below the icy sea to witness a strange dazzling world seen by few where icebergs, catfish and lumpsuckers, and odd-looking sea cucumbers all vie for attention. On shore, encounter colorful tundra on hikes and meet friendly Inuit locals who still practice a traditional hunting and fishing lifestyle.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in Reykjavik and make your own way to the group hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast, check-out of your room and board your comfortable coach for your drive on the ring road north to Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest town, where your ship the Greg Mortimer awaits. Whatever the time of year, Akureyri is a lively and energetic town, and home to around 20,000 inhabitants. It is by far the most densely populated community outside the Reykjavik area, and is the center of trade, culture and services for the north of Iceland. It is a town closely associated with educational institutions and cultural events, all of those having strong traditional roots.
The 248 mile journey to Akureyri takes approximately six hours and you will get a glimpse of Iceland’s dramatic landscape along the way. Upon embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before important briefings. Spend some time out on the observation decks and say goodbye to Iceland as you sail across the Denmark Strait to Greenland.
As you cross the Denmark Strait to Greenland, enjoy informative and entertaining lectures from your expert expedition team including naturalists, historians and geologists.
As the ship approaches East Greenland, you may see pack ice and seals and a variety of seabirds, including northern fulmar and migratory Brunnich’s guillemots. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration. Home to snowy owls and musk ox, it’s the world’s largest national park; most of which is inland ice and fjord laced landscapes.
Over the next seven days there are a host of choices possible, depending on ice and weather conditions. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day. You will generally make up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface.
Over the coming days, be prepared to experience ice, lots of it. East Greenland contains some of the Arctic’s most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks up to 6,562 feet high. Glaciers create gigantic icebergs that drift throughout the fjord system creating breathtaking scenes. The landscape is filled with multi-colored tundra homes, musk oxen and arctic hare. Throughout the area are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers’ huts, and modern Inuit hunters’ cabins. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community boasts an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs, and the opportunity to meet Inuit people.
This is the largest fjord system in the world – a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund are, Kong Oscar and Kaiser Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in all of Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil mountains that protects areas from the strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from musk ox and arctic foxes to mountain hares and even reindeer near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds including glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.
Attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord
This remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord we will marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions. We aim to reach Scoresbysund, the world’s biggest fjord and a favorite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers dump into this fjord, the birthplace of the famous big Greenland icebergs.
Inuit community of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresby Town)
Visit the community and to hike across the tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by the Inuit. This area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking in its maze of calm, interconnecting waterways. If you are lucky you may see musk oxen, arctic hare and seals.
Places you may visit along the east coast include:
This is a beautiful bay on Ymer Island. There is a good chance to take a tundra walk and see musk oxen graze. We will also keep a lookout for arctic fox and ptarmigan. A lone trapper’s hut looks over the bay and magnificent icebergs.
This glacier adorns the narrow peaked waterway in Alpefjord. Enjoy Zodiac cruising and kayaking in this pretty area, where colorful Arctic flora adorns the tundra ground. Ittoqqortoormiit is Scoresbysund’s colorful Inuit community of approximately 500 people. Here you can explore the village, the fascinating museum or sit in the beautiful Lutheran Church. The locals are friendly and from underneath their arctic fox-fur jackets, the shy young children are keen to say hello and practice their English.
Sydkap in Scoresbysund
Here you are offered good walking and delightful views across the sound. Kayakers will have good opportunities to explore the lonely beaches. We may explore the ancient gravesites on the island, or the lakes with green tunnels and giant icebergs offer hours of enjoyment for kayak and Zodiac rides.
With its narrow channels and towering peaks, it is simply stunning, and lies roughly 104 miles south of Scoresbysund. There are great hiking options in the fjord where flowering tundra plants, scattered bones of whales and musk ox from centuries of hunting by the Inuit, and fumaroles can be found. These are areas where heated groundwater boil to the surface creating bubbling pools and mineral formations as the water reacts with the atmosphere.
Rode Ø Island
This is a glorious place for Zodiac cruising, hiking and kayaking, with its rich red Devonian sandstone geology. Discover the impressive mafic dyke that runs through the east side of Rode Ø. Glaucous gulls find perfect perches and nesting sites along the top of the basalt extrusions. Kayak along the maze of icebergs - pillars and arches, caves and peaks that look as though an artist had sculpted them.
The scenery here is breathtaking. Walk across the tundra alongside a ravine or Zodiac cruise where you might find musk ox, along with flitting shore birds, seals and a variety of colors in the lush Arctic tundra. Kayakers can enjoy sublime paddling in one of the most remote fjords in the world. Nearby is the spectacular and impressive Ø Fjord, a perfect place for small ship cruising.
With its mountains rising straight out of the water, its countless icebergs pour out of the Daugård-Gensen Glacier. It's a great place for kayaking and Zodiac cruising with plenty of gorgeous bergs while the glacier itself, seemingly small from a distance, proved to be a formidable river of ice snaking down the valley.
Here there is a neo-Eskimo site - subterranean winter houses designed with a tunnel that faces the sea where occupants would crawl through to the stand-up living chamber; at the opposite end is the sleeping platform. The walls were erected with carefully laid stones while the roof structure would be built from whatever material was available - driftwood, walrus bone, and available skin covering. Fire hearths were created by laying rocks in a circle with a bed of white quartzite stones. Learn from your historian about the incredible resourcefulness of the Inuit people whose men traveled formidable distances by kayak to hunt, and whose women crafted sophisticated garments from animal skins and fur – a people for whom survival in such extremes was paramount. Hiking here offers panoramic views, sightings of musk ox and, occasionally arctic hare.
See some of the most striking sedimentary sandstone, shale and siltstone formations imaginable. The alternating colors and patterns in the layers of rocks defied belief, and the layers of sediment here are estimated to have taken about 4,000 years to be laid down. You can also find the remains of a simple but highly effective wooden fox trap in use by Norwegian trappers in both Greenland and Svalbard from the early 1900s to 1960s. Skippendalen is also a marvelous place to hike and paddle in kayaks.
Other possible landing points in the area include:
Nordenskjöld glacier & Blomsterbugten
In the Denmark Strait, sail back towards Iceland. Keep a lookout for whale blows and the many seabirds that trail your ship in the ever present Arctic winds. Enjoy the time to reflect on your recent adventures, share and exchange photos, and breathe in the fresh ocean air. As you near Iceland, re-enter an inhabited world as you encounter fishing vessels working the coastal waters.
During the early morning, arrive into the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri. Upon disembarkation, farewell your expedition team, crew and fellow expeditioners as your buses will be waiting to transfer you back to downtown Reykjavik or to the airport.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $250,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Exploration by kayak is an ideal way to surround yourself in the sights and sounds of the Greenland in an unobtrusive manner. Some kayak excursions may be long in duration and on choppy water, so a reasonable level of kayaking experience is required to participate in this activity. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
Go beyond the average adventure and delve deep into the waters of the Arctic exploring dive sites where few have gone before. Available to experienced dry-suit divers only. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
No experience needed! This is your chance to don a dry-suit and take the ultimate plunge into the icy waters of the Arctic for an up-close underwater experience. Not for the faint-hearted! Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
Experienced climbers can explore the remote and rugged summits of East Greenland on a rock climbing adventure! Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
For the ideal vantage point to view wildlife in the world’s most beautiful places – just add a board and paddle. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Reykjavik; transfer from hotel to ship on embarkation day; transfer from ship to downtown Reykjavik or airport on disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; printed photo book from your voyage (post voyage, one per booking); gear to keep (expedition jacket); gear on loan (boots); all meals onboard ship; house wines, beers, and soft drinks with dinner onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; optional activity supplements; alcohol and beverages not mentioned as included; items of a personal nature such as Wi-Fi, laundry service, spa charges, medical expenses; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport arrival or departure taxes; gratuities (NOTE: Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your bill. Please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed); fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: ExpeditionTrips, Wolfgang Kaehler