North Greenland - Thule
This exciting 15 or 18-day voyage explores in great depth Greenland's northern Thule region, as well as popular highlights along the western coast. Synonymous with "the True Greenland," Thule is revered for its untouched icescapes and sparsely populated Inuit communities. Encounter the region's rich culture and experience its magnificent nature.
Greenland and its surrounding waters are home to an impressive array of wildlife. There are about 50 bird species on the island such as Gyrfalcon, Snowy Owl, Barnacle and Pink-footed Goose.
Greenland is also home to quite some terrestrial mammal species: Arctic Wolf, Arctic Fox, Ermine, Collared Lemming, Muskox and the Arctic Hare. In the coastal waters of Greenland there are Fin, Minke and Humpback Whales, Narwhals and Belugas (White Whales).
Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Pilot Whales are also seen occasionally. Although ones hunted to the brink of extinction these giants of the ocean are nowadays frequently seen in the Greenlandic waters. Fin, Minke and Humpback Whale, Narwhal and Beluga (White Whale) are frequently seen.
Disclaimer: This itinerary is dependent on sea and ice conditions. The final itinerary will be decided by the ship's captain and your Expedition Leader to maximize opportunities.
Day 1We arrive in Aasiaat from Kangerlussuaq by chartered plane. Aasiaat is a settlement which was created in the 17th century to support the whaling at the mouth of Disko Bay. Its port is ice free from late spring to early winter. We depart the same evening.
Day 2On Hareøen we make a landing at the northeast side at Umivinguaq a lovely little bay with Thule houses.
Days 3 & 4
At sea, sailing north in Davis Strait, always with a view on the Greenland ice cap.
Day 5Cape York where, in 1818, the Inuit and White Men first met when Royal Navy ships under John Ross arrived. Today the small settlements on the eastern side of the cape are deserted. Just east of Parker Snow Bugt we cruise below the spectacular, ice capped Crimson Cliffs.
Day 6At North Star Bugt, we visit the old Thule settlement where we see Umanak and Thule Mountain (The American Base is off limits), later we land at Umivik at the northeast of Saunders Ø, with beautiful geological formations.
Day 7We call at Thule (Qaanaaq) the main settlement of the area. In the 1950s the inhabitants of Old Thule were forced to move to Qaanaaq when NATO created an air base at their former village. We will try to sail some way to the east into the Inglefield Bredning. Later we sail to Siorapaluk, the northernmost Greenlandic village. Behind it is a mountain with Little Auks. In Atikerdluq a valley more to the west we see Thule dwellings, graves and again Little Auks.
Day 8Qeqertarssuaq on Herbert Ø is one of the many deserted settlements in Greenland. At the Missumassoq Glacier (south of Hvalsund) we will have a zodiac glacier cruise, where we can come quite close to the front.
In Kaminski Bugt- Qarsuarssuk we can have a beautiful view on the Putigfik Glacier and again make a zodiac cruise along a glacier front.
On Meteor Island we land at Savigsivik, the southernmost Thule settlement. It was on this island that the famous York meteorite provided the Inuit with a source of iron - until Peary removed it and sold it to an American museum. We may try to visit the site at the east side of the island.
Days 11 & 12
We sail by the enormous Greenlandic icecap through Melville Bay south of the perimeter of the Nature reserve. The coast here is dominated by the vast Greenland ice cap which reaches the sea as a series of enormous glacier fronts, the largest outside Antarctica. We land at N.E. Balles Ø, Depot Øer. Cape Seddon and Red Head, areas completely surrounded by glacier ice, are other possibilities.
Days 13 & 14
In the maze of channels and straits between Melville Bay and Upernavik we will make some landings and zodiac cruises. Qavdlunat (8 miles south of Cape Shackleton) offers a colourful landscape. The settlement Tasisusaq is surrounded by icebergs and is nice for zodiac cruising, as is the Upernavik Isfjord. At Kingigtorsuaq, where 14th Century Viking Ruins were found, we will go ashore and try to walk to the top of the island and imagine how these Norsemen stood on the same island seven centuries ago. From there we sail to Upernavik, the main town in North Greenland.
Svartenhavn is a secluded bay in the Svartenhuk Peninsula where we can expect to see Musk Oxen.
At the western tip of Nussuaq Peninsula we land at Bjørnefaelden assumed to be named after a bear trap from the Viking period.
Depending on the weather we sail through Vaigat into Disko Bugt with a landing at Flakkerhuk, a tundra with a rich birdlife. Alternatively we sail west by Disko Island and land In Fortune Bay (Greenlandic, Kitdlit = whale bay) and Engkelsmanshavn near some warm (8 degrees C) springs, which create a lush vegetation. We have good opportunities to see Humpback Whales when we sail south of Godhavn.
We arrive in Aasiaat. In the morning we fly from Aasiaat to Kangerlussuaq by chartered flight, and onward by scheduled flight to Copenhagen (flights not included in the voyage cost).
Note: If on day 2 the prospects for a clockwise round trip are very adverse, we will carry out the programme in an anti-clockwise direction and sail directly back from Cape York to Disko Island