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Travelling by sea is a magnificent way to experience Greenland and on this 6-day expedition with Albatros Expeditions onboard Ocean Atlantic, you'll visit the places most worth seeing, situated along its dramatic coastline. Marvel at spectacular views of small, colourful houses situated on the steep mountainsides surrounded by fjords, giant glaciers producing enormous icebergs and a stunning array of wildlife including whales and seals as they play in the sea.
You'll have opportunities to meet the hospitable Greenlanders and learn more about the Inuit culture, visit the colourful town of Sisimut, and the small settlement of Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island. You'll also visit the calving glacier at Eqip Sermia, the town of Ilulissat (iceberg capital of the world) and the settlement Itelleq where you'll experience Inuit hunting culture firsthand. Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland!
Day 1: Kangerlussuaq
Day 2: Sisimut
Day 3: Qeqertarsuaq
Day 4: Ilulissat
Day 5: Sarfannguit settlement
Day 6: Kangerlussuaq
0203 196 1000
Today you'll arrive in Copenhagen from Keflavík or Copenhagen on a charter flight.
Upon arrival in Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, you will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where your ship, Ocean Atlantic, will be anchored. Zodiacs will transfer you the short distance to the ship, where you will be checked in to your stateroom. After the safety drill, you will enjoy a dinner as Ocean Atlantic ‘sets sail’ through the 160-kilometre Kangerlussuaq fjord.
After breakfast, your ship will arrive into the colourful town of Sisimiut, where you will get an idea of what modern Greenland looks like. With 5,400 inhabitants, it is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut on and off since 2,500 BC. In 1756, Count Johan Ludvig Holstein, established a colony here and called it “Holsteinsborg”. The oldest part of Sisimiut’s historic quarter features townhouses from this “Holsteinsborg” era, and the oldest house in town dates back to 1756. One of the most culturally significant buildings is the Blue Church, built-in 1775.
Your city tour highlights include the historic colonial quarter, as well as the museum and the beautiful church. Additionally, you will pay a visit to the busy city centre for a glimpse of what daily life is like in 21st century Greenland. In the afternoon, your voyage will continue northward.
As evening falls, the Ocean Atlantic will pass the Sisimiut Isortuat Fjord, the Nordre Strømfjord settlements of Attu and Ikerasaarsuk, and the small town of Kangaatsiaq. During the course of the bright night, you will pass Aasiaat and proceed into the southern waters of Disko Bay. Next, the ship’s heading will be set for Disko Island, known for its distinctive 1,000-meter/3,280 feet layered crags.
At this point, you will be north of the Arctic Circle! Here, the nights are bright and early risers can enjoy the sight of the icebergs on Disko Bay as they squeeze out of the Ilulissat Icefjord and dance into the frigid ocean waters.
Ocean Atlantic will today anchor in a protected natural harbour, on the southern tip of Disko Island, which is named Godhavn (‘Good Harbour’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, means ‘The Big Island’.
Although topographically quite different from mainland Greenland due to the basalt characteristics of the Disko Island’s mountains, Qeqertarsuaq maintains a long, rich history and once served as one of the country’s important economic centres. From the 16th century, the community was relatively prosperous and, in fact, considered the most important town north of Nuuk until the mid-1900s, due in part to the area’s sizeable whale hunting population.
During your visit, you will wander through town, paying a visit to the characteristic octagonal church, nicknamed “God’s Inkpot”, as well as to a local community centre that will be hosting a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, which can be best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and traditional dances and music.
As the day draws to a closing, Ocean Atlantic will set a north-easterly course bound for a magnificent natural highlight – the enormous Eqip Sermia Glacier.
Situated approximately 50 nautical miles north of Ilulissat, the Eqip Sermia Glacier is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty. Legendary arctic explorers selected this location as a base for their studies. One such explorer, the acclaimed Swiss glaciologist, Alfred de Quervain, used the location as a base for his expeditions onto Greenland’s inland ice sheet over a century ago.
Your ship will sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge – but at a safe distance to avoid plunging blocks of ice and violent waves that often result from the calving glacier.
Ilulissat is possibly the most well-located town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic, and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘the Iceberg Capital’.
In Disko Bay, which is located just off the coast of Ilulissat, gigantic icebergs linger in the freezing waters. These icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km/43,5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km/6 miles-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica; Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a metre/three feet a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25m/82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tonnes/22 million us tons of ice per day! These facts, together with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, have secured the Icefjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
On this day, you will have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Icefjord (not included). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come – but be sure to have warm clothing on!
If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a helicopter ride over the Icefjord (not included).
In the evening, your ship will cruise southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind us as you part.
The settlement of Sarfannguit translates into ‘the place of the little stream", an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of the mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry. The settlement’s slightly more than 100 residents live off hunting, trapping and fishing, most often in pursuit of arctic char, reindeer and musk oxen.
Although Sarfannguit is quite remote, it lies within a few hours from Sisimiut, the second-largest town in Greenland. The accessibility to such a large town provides an indispensable economic benefit to a small community like Sarfannguit. A stroll here offers insight into rural life in today’s Greenland, where modern conveniences and technological advancements, such as internet and smartphones have become commonplace, yet locals still place great value on important customs and preserving their traditions and their Inuit heritage.
You will continue your journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondre Stromfjord. Especially the first part of the fjord gives a great opportunity to enjoy an impressive passage with panoramic views of high mountains and deep valleys.
During the night, you will have completed the passage through the 160-kilometer/100 mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, you will bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle you to shore.
0203 196 1000
Newly renovated in 2016, Albatros Expeditions' Ocean Atlantic is a ship purpose-built for expedition cruising in the polar regions, and one of the strongest ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctica. Her powerful engines are designed for extreme voyages, allowing her guests the opportunity to both witness and get up-close to the incredible polar wildlife and the regions' awe-inspiring scenery.
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