In Nansen’s footsteps in South East Greenland


In Nansen’s Footsteps

New trip with Arktika in 2018.

Trip profile

While the remoteness of Greenland’s east coast may be daunting and its history as a launching point for professional arctic expeditions connotes exclusivity, this trip is suitable for anyone interested in experiencing the magic of late summer or early autumn in the sheltered, ice-filled fjords of East Greenland. We welcome people of all ages and with varying interests.

This is a new exploratory trip—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. The following description gives an idea of how a day-to-day plan might materialize.

We will start in the village of Kulusuk and head south to explore the seldom visited south-east of Greenland. We will visit Umivik and explore the spectaculal landscape and scenery but also historic sites of former local settlements and routes of explorers like Fridjof Nansen. Then we will continue south and explore the Skjoldungen and Timmiarmiut areas before returning again north to Kulusuk.

„Even an old Greenland traveller who is accustomed to the country there cannot but be impressed with the East Coast, which, compared with the West Coast, is much more wild and colossal, apparently an inaccessible cliff coast with numbers of fjords, in which the shining white inland ice tongues out and spreads quantities of calfice and icebergs out over the fairway. And between the fjords; skyscraping promontories, glacier-shorn, wind-worn, like Cape Walløe, Tordenskjold, Moltke, Møsting and many others. And lastly, stretches where there is not even land, but only glaciers such as Puisortoq, or the one called by Captain Graah Kolberger Heide, or the shores of Køge Bay, all of them landscapes that are brilliant in sunshine, sparking with gorgeous colour, but terrifying in a storm.“ (Knud Rasmussen, 1932)

This is not a “sailing trip”. We will of course cruise under sail whenever conditions allow but the Expedition sailboat Arktika primarily serves as our movable backcountry hut, the best option to access interesting and exciting destinations and enjoy great activities on land and at sea. At the end of the day she will await us with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.

Areas we’ll try to visit:

Dannebrog Island where Captain W.A. Graah made his furthest north camp on his exploratory trip to look for the Ammassalik people in 1828-1831.
Ikeq (Køge Bay), site of WW2 weather station at Comanche bugt (Igtip Kangertiva)
Umivik where the inland ice comes down to the ocean and where Nansen started his historic crossing of the ice cap in 1888. Also historic sites of local settlements.
Skjoldungen with the old abandoned village and the lush Dronning Marie ́s valley. “This is the one oasis on the southern part of the East Coast — a fertile, bloom-carpeted and bush-grown valley in among calving glaciers and savage alpine crags. There was a baking heat, swarms of mosquitos and brilliant summer weather throughout our stay. Having accustomed ourselves to naked, wind-blown headlands between desolate belts of cold ice, it seemed as if the earth actually overwhelmed us with this peculiar arctic luxuriance, consisting not only of flowers and greens, but also berries—black, lustrous crowberries that were crushed almost at every step, the soles of our kamiks becoming red with the flowing juice.“ (Knud Rasmussen, 1932)
Tingmiarmiut with multiple historic sites and a former weather station. Thuss described by Knud Rasmussen: “The wild alpine country of Tingmiarmiut. Tingmiarmiut means “bird land”, and in olden times many people lived there because, despite its high peaks, the region is famed for its still weather. The fearful northeaster has no power there.“


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