East Greenland - Scoresby Sund
DATES AND TRIP CODES
11-18 Sept 2017 - PLA16-17
18-25 Sept 2017 - PLA17-17
Columnar basalt in Viking Bay
White icebergs against the red sandstone of Rode Islan
Grundtvigskirche in Øfjord.
Day 1 - Transfer by bus from Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 in Reykjavik in the morning to the ship in Akureyri, where we arrive in the afternoon after six hours drive through North Iceland. In the early evening we leave Iceland and sail north towards the Denmark Strait.
Day 2 - At sea, sailing north through the Denmark Strait. We are almost certain to see Fulmar, Kittiwake, Gannet and rafts of Common Guillemot. We cross the Arctic Circle and continue north, perhaps seeing whales. In the evening we will spot our first icebergs appear as we approach the east coast of Greenland near Kap Brewster.
Day 3 - In the morning we sail along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near a glacier, like Måne Glacier or in Vikingebugt. Later we land on Danmarksø where there are the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Day 4 - We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigan and at sea Great Northern Diver. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
Day 5 - On our way to Sydkap in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100 m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400 m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whale and using their vertebrae to build the houses.
Day 6 - In the morning we land at a lagoon at the south coast of Jameson Land, an area with waders and geese collecting for the autumn migration. The landscape here is gently undulating. Musk Oxen and Collared Lemming - survive on the meagre vegetation. In the afternoon we visit Ittoqqortoormiit, the biggest settlement near Scoresby Sund with about 400 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of seals, Musk Oxen and Polar Bear.
Day 7 - The whole day at sea offers excellent opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, at night the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 8 - Arrive at Akureyri, and transfer by chartered bus to Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 in Reykjavik (6 hours).