The east coast of Greenland is an awesome wilderness. Only 3,500 people, scattered among small towns and settlements, inhabit its 2,600 kilometres of stunning coastline. This is the Arctic with all its breathtaking beauty and striking scenery.
This trip is suitable for anyone interested in experiencing the magic of late summer or early autumn in East Greenland. Cruising in the sheltered ice-filled fjords of the Ammassalik area onboard our expedition sailing yacht the Arktika, we welcome people of all ages and with varying interests. Some like to explore by kayak or on foot while others simply prefer to observe nature from the yacht or immerse themselves in the culture of the local Inuit people.
This is true exploration—the final itinerary only gets decided upon after setting sail from the Kulusuk harbour. We will take into account weather and sea-ice conditions and always look for the best possible option.What is assured is that each trip will be a little bit different and we will try to visit at least one “new“ place every trip. The following description gives an idea of how a day-to-day plan might materialize:
We will visit the big Sermilik ice-fjord, walk the streets of Tasiilaq and cruise the sounds and channels between the villages of Tiniteqilaq, Kummiut and Sermiligaq. We will visit the abandoned WWII military base (Bluie East 2) and spend nights in spectacular, remote anchorages.This is early autumn in the Arctic and the northern lights will surely light up the night sky for us. We will feel the winter approaching and it will be quite possible to see a sprinkle of fresh snow on the mountaintops. The trip will start and end in the village of Kulusuk, from which there are daily flights to Iceland and other parts of Greenland.
The expedition sailboat Arktika is our movable ‘backcountry hut’ and awaits us at the end of every day with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.
Arrive onboard our sturdy expedition sailboat Arktika at noon in Kulusuk. We will leave our anchorage around 2pm and sail out of the Torssut Sound and into Ammassalik Fjord where we will immediately view our first large icebergs. Continuing on to Kong Oscar ́s Harbour and the town of Tasiilaq. This is the largest town on the east coast with almost 2000 inhabitants and centre for culture and administration. We will go ashore and explore the colourful town and perhaps hike into ‘Flower Valley’ and the stunning hills surrounding Tasiilaq. In the late afternoon we will move to our first anchorage a short distance from Tasiilaq for a satisfying dinner and our first night onboard the Arktika.
We continue our journey past Ammassalik Island and into the great Sermilik Fjord passing the abandoned village of Ikateq and the Erit Skerries (made famous when Bill Tilman lost his boat Sea Breeze there in 1972). We sail across Sermilik and into Johan Petersen Fjord where we will anchor. This majestic landscape offers numerous calving glaciers which cascade directly off the inland icecap creating gigantic icebergs that fill the fjords. Option for a paddle or hike in the afternoon.
A day spent hiking and/or kayaking in Johan Petersen Fjord with captivating views over the inland icecap from the nearby mountains. We hope to see whales and seals, frequent visitors to this fjord. Second night will be spent at the same anchorage.
Sail back across Sermilik Fjord and anchor in a good sheltered spot with a great view of this spectacular ice-fjord. Again there are good options for hikes ashore or paddle on sea kayaks. Note that none of our hikes are on established trails. We may follow traditional routes but we will be walking on un-marked terrain.
We will continue onwards to the village of Tiniteqilaq. This tiny settlement with approximately 120 inhabitants is situated on a small promontory with spectacular views over Sermilik Fjord.
Hunting, fishing and tourism are the main sources of income for the population of Tiniteqilaq. Seals are hunted throughout the year together with a restricted number of polar bears and narwhals. We ́ll visit the village and hike in the neighbouring hills before spending the night at anchor adjacent to the village.
Our expedition continues through the stunning Ikasagtivaq Sound to Ammassalik Fjord. Here we have a an option of heading inland towards the village of Kummiut and the Ikasak sound or to continue exploring Ammassalik island. Option for hiking and/or kayaking in the afternoon.
Today we explore the Sammileq, Tasiilaq or Imiilaa fjords with great hiking along mountain lakes with small calving glaciers and abundance of wild flowers. Another option may be to sail into Ikasak Sound and continue onwards to Ikateq Sound where we visit the abandoned US airbase – Bluie East 2. The remains from the US operations during WWII are still there to be seen and explored.
Our last full day will be spent exploring in the Ammassalik fjord with options of hiking or paddling. The day will end when we return to the neighbourhood of Kulusuk where we will anchore for our last night.
Our journey concludes as we return by sail to Kulusuk for return flights to Iceland. We will go ashore in the village in the morning to have a little walk around before making our way to the airport.
The short summer in Eastern Greenland can exhibit all kinds of weather — most of which is governed by the warm gulf current between Iceland and Eastern Greenland. The weather pattern is an unpredictable mixture of marine low-pressure systems mixed with the more stable high-pressure inland climate (generated by the immense, cold Greenland icecap). The temperatures range from 0 to 15 degrees Celsius. In other words, you should prepare for sunshine as well as showers. Winds can shift quickly and we might experience the ferociously katabatic Piteraq hurricanes (very rare, but nonetheless possible). Given the area’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, while it´s a bit early in the season, it may still be possible to see the Northern Lights at night.
East Greenland is the homeland of polar bears. We will take measures to stay away from these beautiful animals, and view them from a safe distance, if spotted. It is advisable not to go for a walk alone or without letting the guide know. The waters are teeming with various species of seals and whales. On land we may meet the Arctic fox as well as various species of birds.