Summary : With the arrival of September, Arctic weather patterns over Greenland quite often settle with clear skies and distant views—beautiful dusts of snow on mountain tops, frosty grass in the mornings – and the supernatural wonders of Aurora Borealis on the night skies! On this Ocean Atlantic voyage, you will enjoy all of that – plus Greenland, seen from both sides! From Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland to south for Nuuk, capital of Greenland. Onwards to the former mining town of Ivittuut and then through Prins Christian Sund to East Greenland. Skjoldungen Island is a place to marvel at majestic mountain scape – and possibly a tundra walk – before you enter the town of Tasiilaq. You'll traverse Greenland’s back side or “Tunu”, as the Greenlanders call it. Blosseville Coast rises 2,000 meters from the sea as you head towards the grandest fjord of them all, Scoresby Sund. Here, you will visit the Inuit settlement of Ittiqqortoormiit before venturing into the fjord for the island of Milne. Sheltered from the open sea, scout for wildlife, possibly narwhals, polar bears and muskoxen. And the elusive Northern Lights!
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$5,390 to $11,990
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Board your included flight in Reykjavik (or Copenhagen; TBD) and fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland where you will board the ship.
Listen to a lecture from your experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.
During the night, you will have cruised north to reach Nuuk in the morning. As the ship enters the fjord Nuup Kangerlua you'll have a fair chance of encountering the area's seasonal visitors: Humpback whales!
The world's smallest capital is in Greenland considered by many a mighty metropolis - a total of 17,000 people live here today, almost a third of the country’s population.
The area has been inhabited back to 2200 BC by pre-Inuit hunters. From year 1000 to 1350 AD, the Icelandic Vikings and farmers settled in South Greenland and in the Nuuk Fjord, while at the same time Inuit hunters of the Thule culture moved south from North Greenland. The Nordic settlers disappeared around 1350 AD, but the Inuit stayed, being far better equipped to hunt and survive in the tough Arctic nature.
Modern history of Greenland began in 1721, when the Norse missionary Hans Egede founded a permanent colony and trading station near Nuuk. In fact, Egede’s main purpose to return to Greenland was to convert the Catholic northerners to Lutherans, but soon after his arrival he realized the Norse had disappeared, a mystery yet unresolved.
In 1979, the Landsting (Parliament) was established in Nuuk, and the town was finally recognized as the country's capital.
In the afternoon, the ship will leave the capital and continue southbound.
Reach South Greenland and expect to reach Arsuk Fjord with the small settlement of the same name. But the important call here is the former cryolite mine at Ivituut, the only place in the world where this very special mineral was mined until depleted 30 years ago. Used in aluminum melting, the mineral became strategically important; the Americans set up bases in South Greenland to protect the supply during WWII.
Kap Farvel (Ummannarsuaq), or Cape Farewell, is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point, but also for its infamous, although mostly seasonal, gale-force winds.
But the ship will deliberately opt for a far more comfortable and at the same time more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound (Ikerasassuaq). This 60 km long waterway, stretches from the settlement Aapilattoq in the heart of the fjordlands of South West Greenland to the Atlantic in the east.
The island of Skjoldungen is without doubt one of most beautiful areas in East Greenland. Situated at 63° N, the island is surrounded by narrow, steep fjords and glaciers, and with plenty of the cool, crisp and clean air of the ever present and nearby ice sheet. Still, you will find and experience a lush landscape and a milder climate than most would expect. Acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen came here in late summer 1888 in search of a suitable ascension point for the first Greenland Icecap crossing.
Skjoldungen is also the name of an abandoned settlement, located on the southwest side of the island. Up to 100 people lived here until 1965, and some houses remain. Continue your journey to Dronning Marie Dal in the area's northwestern corner to get a closer view of its interesting flora.
Approach the island of Ammassalik and enter King Oskar's harbor with the Polhem Mountain (3,300 feet) on the starboard side. In front, you will see East Greenland's largest town of Tasiilaq (2,000 inhabitants), which is the name used today, formerly it was known as Ammassalik (like the island). Although massive ice floes surround Tasiilaq making shipping traffic impossible most of the year, it has well-functioning educational institutions and health services.
Ammassalik was established as a colony in 1894, 10 years after the famed Gustav Holm's Umiaq expedition (open skin boat). The place where the town is located originally had no permanent settlement, but it turned out to be a perfect place to live because of its natural harbor and easy access to open waters.
Visit the beautiful local museum with the old turf hut, which undoubtedly is the place with the very best opportunities to buy some of Greenland's best crafts.
From Tasiilaq, spend the rest of the day exploring the dramatic fjords and landscapes of the Ammassalik district.
The coastline from the Ammassalik area to Scoresbysund Fjord is among the most dramatic in the world. 2,000-3,000 meter mountains rise directly from the sea in Denmark Strait, which is often filled with pack ice from the Arctic Ocean. The coast was inaccessible to both Inuit and European whalers, and it was not until 1899 that a small group of Danes led by Captain Amdrup managed to cover the 500 dangerous miles in a rowing boat.
Ocean Atlantic will pass the coast towards Scoresbysund in approximately 2½ days. Local wind and ice conditions determine route and possible landings. The hope is to visit the abandoned settlement at the Kangerlussuaq fjord and go ashore at the dramatic Nansen Fjord.
Possibly the most dramatic coast outside of Antarctica, the Blosseville is guarded by Greenland’s highest mountains and steepest fjords – and a belt of pack ice which before global warming would keep out any adventurous sailor for years. The recent decade has had warmer summers and much less ice which enables ice strengthened vessels such as the Ocean Atlantic to venture along the coast, on lookout for stunning wildlife, abandoned Inuit settlements and otherworldly landscapes.
After passing Blosseville Coast, navigate the pointed Cape Brewster and arrive at the world's largest fjord, Scoresbysund.
Cross the huge entrance of Scoresbysund during the night and arrive at the Inuit community Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) in the morning. About 500 people live here, most of whom base a large portion of their households on hunting. Seal, muskoxen and polar bear skins hang to dry outside many of the houses, and the sled dogs are waiting for sea ice to be safe for the first hunts of the fall. The town is extremely isolated, and the inhabitants only receive ship supplies twice a year. Go ashore to experience this unique little community.
Tomorrow cruise further into the fjord and hope to do a landing before returning to the Denmark Strait and the open sea.
The amazing visual menu of the day is nothing less than the longest fjord in the world, Scoresby Sund. Explore this fjord and hope to be able to offer kayaking and landings weather and ice conditions permitting.
Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the Zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all passengers and staff.
For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, Ocean Atlantic has excellent public areas, such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for passengers to spend their spare time. The ship is staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.
The last day will be at sea getting glimpses of sea birds migrating south.
Your lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology. A captain’s farewell drink and a slideshow of your voyage will also be presented this evening.
Enter Reykjavík in the morning and bid farewell to the vessel and crew after breakfast.
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; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
All guests interested in Kayaking need to participate in Kayaking information meetings and safety briefing on day one. After the briefing they need to be approved by the Kayak Master. If they are not approved by the Kayak Master they are not allowed to participate. All kayaks are double kayaks (no single), and there are 6 of them on board. 12 guests per outing. They try to get 2-3 kayaking outings on one Expedition (subject to weather conditions). Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate when and where kayaking may be possible in order to ensure your safety and improve your experience. Kayaking is weather dependent.
Onboard Expedition Photographer:
Each voyage has a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and Zodiac cruises. Greenland is filled with mesmerizing landscapes, and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
One-way flight Reykjavik or Copenhagen (TBD)/Kangerlussuaq; transfer from the airport to ship; gear on loan (boots); shipboard accommodations; digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than mentioned as included; accommodations other than the ship; transfers not mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses; optional excursions; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions