Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Enchanting Scenery and Exhilarating Activities in Eastern Greenland

Gemma Bradley

Gemma Bradley

25 Oct 2019

NWS staff Gemma journeys into the icy wonders of Eastern Greenland

Day 1: 14th September

After a short 3-hour fight from Heathrow with Icelandair I arrive in Reykjavík at 10:55 on the dot. I’m impressed with the slickness of the airline staff and before I know it, I’m through passport control, I have collected my bag and I’m showing my electronic ticket for the FlyBus! Once aboard we wait for a handful of passengers to climb on and we’re off! It’s 11:55, I’m surprised at first with the flatness of Iceland, I dreamt of towering mountains and deep crevasses but I think you must have to venture further afield for these wonders! We all sleepily trudge off the bus and I walk through the bus terminal to wait for a taxi, it’s 1am. After 10 minutes, the chill is creeping in along with the slightest of fears that a taxi is not coming... but my panic subsides as a cab whirls around the corner. The cabbie speaks enough English to get by and I use my card to pay. After checking into the Grand Hotel with my credit card I can’t help but think about the need for cash in our modern society.... but at 2am it’s time to sleep! You can take a direct taxi from the airport but it’s around £100 plus and the Flybus is approximately £20 per person.

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 2: 15th September

After an incredible buffet breakfast, I’m off out to explore! The weather is a moody mix of clouds with some sunshine and it’s about 5 degrees so not too cold. You can easily do your own walking tour and I visit the Panna Viking boat statue, the opera house, the old harbour (where I stop for some tasty lobster soup at the infamous Sægreifinn restaurant) and then onto the city hall, parliament building and the highest church in Iceland. This trip is around two to three hours long, I’ve booked into the Blue Lagoon for 6pm and I’ve added in the transfers. I’m picked up swiftly at 4.45pm and we arrive at the Blue Lagoon for a prompt 5:45. The lagoon is back out towards the airport so if your flight comes in between 9am - 6pm you can easily visit when you land or on the way back to the airport at the end of your trip. In the Blue Lagoon you get an electronic bracket and you can buy drinks and food with this and easily pay with your card at the end. After a wonderful soak for a few hours I grab the 8.15 bus back to the hotel, very easy and efficient! The dinner served at the hotel is a buffet style, with cured meats and cheese, lots of fish and choices of beef and lamb for your main dish but at £50 a head it’s eye-wateringly expensive! However, the Grand Hotel is about a 35-minute walk into town so choices are limited.

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 3 16th September

Embarkation day! After another great breakfast and a game of spotting who’s on the ship, it’s check-out by 11am making sure you drop your bag into the lobby with your Poseidon tag attached first! Your bag will be transferred to the ship and places in your cabin so you have lots of time to explore! I took a stroll up the main high street Laugavegur and popped into the various shops, there’s something for everyone between wool and crystals, sportswear and witchcraft! I meet my tour guide at 1pm and enjoy the mystical walking tour of Reykjavík as we learn about trolls, elves and everything in-between. After a quick bite to eat at Tommi’s burger bar, I walk back to the hotel to pick up the ship transfer at 4pm. Adding just one extra pre night to your trip gives you a good full day and a half to explore and I think it’s well worth it! You can easily do a golden circle tour or snowmobiling, horse riding, snorkelling or jump in a super jeep and travel in style! Embarkation onto the ship is quick and easy, after a welcome drink in the Oceanus lounge we meet the expedition team and the crew. The Sea Spirit is classic and luxurious in style but the welcome you get onboard is friendly and unassuming. Hugs are given to returning clients and it seems sincere, it feels like you are being welcomed into a friendly family and the staff are genuinely pleased to be on board, lucky even...

Our expedition leader Anja is a joy, she puts you at ease at once, she instructs everyone to take a sea sickness tablet now (they are free from reception) as although the weather is being kind the waves are still expected to be high. Our luggage is waiting for us in our cabins. I’m in a superior suite on deck 4 (there are 6 decks), it’s spacious but practical. There’s a walk-in wardrobe for our gear which later comprises of thermal muck boots, thick red parkas, a dry suit, boots, life jacket and a kayaking skirt! In fact, in total we have three life jackets each in our cabin and they fit easily into the cupboard or on hooks around the cabin. After we unpack, there’s some free time to wander around the ship which immediately feels small and cosy. We are invited on deck as we set sail hoping for a smooth crossing. The alarm sounds and we are all ready for a safety check with our life jackets. We line up at our muster stations, the operations are like clockwork and you feel completely safe in the hands of the expedition staff and crew. The weather does throw up impression waves and there aren’t many people at dinner that night... after grabbing my jacket and boots it’s an early night for me too!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 4 17th September

Breakfast is 7.30 - 9pm with a light breakfast at 6am for those still on old time zones who can’t sleep or who maybe missed dinner. Every little detail is thought out meticulously and it works! The first lecture is by Page at 9.15 and it’s a basic photography lecture, a great idea! All of the lectures are in the Oceanus lounge which has five screens and plenty of room for everyone. Next is a bridge tour for the English-speaking guests, Daniel guides this one and his knowledge of the bridge and all of the equipment is incredible! As we have a sea day today there are lots of lectures, at 11.30 we have a lecture with Herman – who is Icelandic – on birds of the Arctic. This is very interesting and many of the birds are similar to the migratory birds in Svalbard. Approximately 12 till 2 is lunch time every day and a light lunch is served in the Club on deck 4 which features a panini station and hot soup!

Next is the kayak briefing with Luis, who is from Patagonia, we listen to all of the safety instructions and sign extra waivers at the end. There are 8 spaces available, 4 people have booked and paid but we have 6 people who have turned up hoping to kayak also, so a lottery system is used to pick the 4! Once our kayak club is complete, we head to the Oceanus lounge to try on our dry suits, boots and life jackets, we also get marigolds to wear under the dry suit mittens... very odd but practical! We take these back to our cabins and hang them up ready for our first piece of kayaking action! At 15:00 it’s the mandatory AECO guidelines and Zodiac safety lecture by our expedition leader Anja! 16:00 is crepe suzette time in the Club, no one has gone hungry so far.... an announcement blares out over the speakers, whales at 8o’clock! We watch the sprays from the humpback whales, our first wildlife encounter of the trip!

At 17:30 Peter treats us to a wonderful talk about his experiences in Scoresbysund, with the hunters that live there. He regales his story with passion and his photos of the deep snow and the brutal stories of how these Inuit people survive in such a treacherous climate are incredible! I thoroughly enjoy this talk and am excited to learn that tomorrow we will visit the same area that Peter started his expedition! There’s canapés and a recap for tomorrow’s plan in the lounge at 18:45. Each lecture is cleverly translated by the Chinese, German and Russian translators live with an earpiece transmitting system, so everyone can join in! A fantastic 3 course meal is served in the restaurant from 7.30 till 9 and then it’s bed-time for me! The weather has been very kind to us and crossing the Denmark straight has been pretty smooth.

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 5 18th September

Anja’s wakeup call at 7am is the first thing I hear this day. We have breakfast from 7- 8.30am and then we are off for our first landing of the trip at Hurry Inlet! The exact spot we land on is called Nokkedal which translates to water elf! The whole ship is split into three groups and when your group is called you may go to the marina to board your Zodiac. It’s my turn to go kayaking – whoop! The kayakers go out first so we have to be ready at 8.30 in our gear to head out. As you leave the ship you have to swipe out with your card, we have handy dry bags to store our bits in so we don’t lose our cards or cameras! We board the Zodiac, as we are getting into the kayaks from the shore today. In pairs we board our kayaks and set off with the kayak master Luis. We circle our first iceberg and then the fog starts to descend very quickly until we can no longer see the Sea Spirit, she disappears into the mist like a ghost ship... after an hour and a half we paddle back to shore and explore the landing site although due to the impending fog we don’t have much visibility! Anyhow it’s good to stretch our legs and get a taster of what’s yet to come... Our clever Zodiac driver Hermann finds the ship and we climb aboard ready for a drink of hot lemon and lunch! After a tasty build-your-own panini and soup it’s back to the cabin to get ready for our afternoon landing to Ittoqqortoormiit.

We land at the settlement and the colours of the houses are the first thing that strike you! Official houses are painted in blue for electricity and water, red for official houses like schools and the town hall and yellow for the hospital. The children have finished school and as we start to walk and explore the settlement, they run towards us and ask for chocolate and candy. We’ve been told that we can’t give anything directly to the children and gifts are given to the school so they can hand everything out fairly. The town is very basic with no sewage system or running water and it’s completely inaccessible by boat for ten months of the year. A big cargo vessel drops food, Toyota vehicle parts and other essential items within a six-week period to the town from July to September.

After that the Inuit people need to fend for themselves and maybe rely on hunting to get them through the harsh winter. In Greenland no settlement or city is linked by road so travelling to get some supplies is extremely difficult. The population of Ittoqqortoormiit is only 350 and it is the biggest settlement in Eastern Greenland, however this number is currently on the decline. The school only teaches children up to 9th grade so when the youngsters leave to continue their education in Nuuk or in Denmark, they don’t often come back to live such an isolated life. The school is taught in Greenlandic, Danish and English so often the children’s language competency stops them from completing their higher education as neither their Danish nor English is good enough.

The town has a little tourist shop where you can buy seal-skin gloves and other things the local people have made but although it is legal for them to sell narwhal and polar bear it’s illegal for us to buy it so we have to keep that in mind. We watch the Inuit people feed seal meat to the Greenlandic working dogs at 3pm. They are all chained up and live their entire lives outside, when they grow to 5 or 6 and their muscles go due to pulling a heavy sled they are strangled and fed to the other dogs. Dogs are strictly not pets in Greenland and they are treated well but they are working animals. The last Zodiac heads back to the ship at 5:30 and it’s time for the captain’s cocktail hour. We sip on champagne and meet the captain of the ship and his whole team! A three-course dinner is served at 7.30 followed by a Q&A session with the expedition team in the club bar at 21:30, which leads to the end of another fabulous day!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 6 19th September

It’s another early wake-up call at 7am from Anja... today I am in the last group to go out for the landing so I grab breakfast at 8am and am ready for 8.30 for our short Zodiac crossing to Hekla Havn. I’m in the English-speaking group with Clive (a Yorkshireman). He tells us all about the rings of rocks that the Inuits in around 1830 used to secure their tents in the summer time as they hunted animals to eat and to help get them through the harsh winter. At the end of the walk there is a tall Caine that was used to mark the spot for other Inuits travelling to the area. We can see beautiful mountains and huge icebergs in the distance which makes for incredible photos. After nearly 2 hours we jump in the Zodiacs back to the ship for hot mint tea!

The ship cruises along the very scenic Fonfjord and huge icebergs make for excellent photos! This fjord is very aptly known as the iceberg graveyard as the icebergs here can’t ever move out of the fjord, they’re stuck here until the sun melts them away and they turn into the sea! After lunch of minestrone soup and a hot panini it’s out for another kayaking trip! Our team is just five people today, we get suited and booted and we’re off! I’m lucky enough to be with Luis the kayak master on this trip, the landing site for this afternoon is red island, we learn that the red colour is caused by iron mineral deposits. We kayak through archways of rock and around huge icebergs in utter silence.

After an hour and a half, we paddle over to the landing site and we are free to have a roam around, we clamber up the mountain and find the most spectacular viewpoint for the iceberg graveyard. The scenery is just breath-taking and it instantly takes my mind off my freezing cold hands and fingers. The sun is starting to dip and it creates a beautiful light. At 6.15 it’s well and truly time to head back to the ship, at 7pm we have a recap and a briefing for tomorrow. Page does a quick overview about taking photos of northern lights and Sanna tries to talk about the different types of rocks that we see here in Greenland but as gigantic icebergs drift past the ship everyone runs out to see them and take photos! Dinner is at 7.30 with piano music in the bar at 9.30 and of course we are all looking out for the infamous northern lights!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 7 20th September

This morning we awake again at 7am and the special for breakfast today is eggs benedict! Yum-yum! We are doing an hour and a half hike today then taking a long Zodiac cruise and the kayakers are also going out first. The sky is a beautiful blue colour again and the sun is shining, it’s a cool -2 degrees and conditions couldn’t be more perfect! The hike is at Rypefjord and the groups are called in today’s order. As we arrive on the beach, we look at the huge hill in front of us and it looks steep! I think I may have over-dressed... four layers is slightly excessive for a steep hike! Climbing up the hill we see lots of miniature forests in golden autumnal colours. The pinks, oranges and yellows are vibrant against the brown tundra. As we reach the top, I strip off two layers and look over the ridge to see five Muskox! Three adults and two babies, they are quite nervous mammals and as they hear us approach, they start to clamber up the hillside but through binoculars they are still visible.

After walking back down the hill, we are ready for our Zodiac cruise to the glacier front, we cruise around with Sanna our guide and she regales tales of living in Svalbard for three years, skiing to the South Pole and across to the Greenlandic snow cap! We keep a safe distance from the glacier front as although it is not very active as the front is snowy white instead of blue you can never be too careful. We spot a beautiful glass-like iceberg and learn this is very good quality ice as it has less air bubbles than other icebergs. The icebergs in the area are from calvings from the glacier and may be many years old. As we are looking at a heart shape right in the middle of another iceberg and a big calving drops from the glacier right before our eyes! It creates small waves and then ripples that could have easily thrown us overboard had Sanna not kept us at a safe distance. We head back for lunch. Before lunch is served Anja announces what we have all been waiting for, the infamous polar plunge! Around twenty guests and two staff members take the plunge and Page photographs each one going in and jumping back out extremely quickly! All guests are able to view from deck 4 and everyone takes photos and videos excitedly!

After lunch and a short nap, it’s time to venture out again into the unknown! There’s a choice today to do a one or two-hour Zodiac cruise on Bear Islands (named after a bear was shot here on the Ryder Expedition exploration of the islands in 1981). The icebergs are incredible, they are all kinds of shapes and sizes, some are so huge they look like sky scrapers or churches! The light is perfect as the sun begins to set and just peaks above the mountain, the light reflects off of the ice and causes tiny flecks to disperse creating a fire-fly effect! We cruise along in the sunshine again with Sanna as our guide and she’s just such an interesting guide we could listen to her stories all day long! We see an iceberg that looks like a biblical statue... it’s robe draping down to the sea. The sun is about to set so Sanna starts the journey back to the ship, we have a few Icelandic schnapps on the way in to warm the cockles and it’s been another incredible day of activities.

Dinner is served at 7.30pm and there is a documented film in the Oceanus Lounge at 9.30 called Minik The lost Eskimo which is an incredible tale and finishes the night off perfectly. Until the northern lights give us a staggering performance at 10.30pm! The sky is clear and we sit in the jacuzzi and watch the green lights dancing over us, they brighten and darken and eventually we see the Aurora band form around the mountains! We watch them for 3 hours totally transfixed, Anja puts a call out to the ship so everyone can come out and see them with their own eyes!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley
Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 8 September 21st

At 7am the sound of Anja’s gentle wakeup call fills our ears. We are off to Frederiksdal in Nordvestfjord and we have entered a very special national park in Greenland! Hunting is banned here so there are many muskox’s grazing on the baron tundra. Today on offer is a long and medium hike and a beach walk for the beach bunnies! I chose the medium walk and it was up a very steep hill! We find several muskox skulls and then a whole carcass with its fur still intact so this animal may have died a few months ago. We also find arctic fox foot prints in the sand but no further sign of that fox! The view from the top is stunning and I think this is the prettiest bay we have seen so far! After a good walk to the top of the ridge and back down again it’s time to sit on the beach and relax in the bright sunshine... taking in the incredible icebergs in front of us!

Lunch today is a BBQ on deck 5 and it’s an incredible affair! The staff work tirelessly on this ship to provide an incredible service for the passengers and this lunch is exceptional! The captain parks the ship so we are all in the sunshine but there are blankets to cover your legs and keep you warm, we are in the high arctic after all!! There is a feast of jerk beef and Chinese style ribs, chicken, sausages, burgers, salads and a spread of deserts! After lunch we cruise along Nordvestfjord and see the most enormous icebergs, the largest is almost two miles long! It’s hard to comprehend just how huge they really are and they are stunning in the afternoon sunshine. Anja makes announcements to make sure everyone is up and makes it outside to see this rare beauty.

This afternoon there’s another choice of hike level, I chose the long, steep hike and when we arrive at Eskimobukta it doesn’t disappoint. The walk is up a steep hill and as we have Vikram as our guide he tells us all about the Inuit people and how they built their houses with rocks and used animal intestines for the windows to let some light in. This would be the woman’s job to sew the intestines together, cook and clean. They had a small chimney at the front of the house to let some smoke out while cooking but generally they kept this closed as it let too much cold air in as temperatures reach minus 50 degrees. As we continue to climb in our small group, we see a herd of muskox around 200 meters in front, everyone creeps in silence forward, steady and slow, but they hear us instantly and gallop off into the distance with an almighty speed! However, we don’t have to wait long for another chance. As we edge forward a family of muskox are directly in front of us on a ridge. They know we are present but they seem much less spooked by us being in their environment.

A mother and her calf stand are looking directly at us and seem to relax a little, they start eating the scarce vegetation on the patch of tundra they have chosen. We edge forward silently, only the scrape of muck boots on gravel can be heard, we stop 50 meters from the woolly animals and we can see their faces, coloured like masks with big woolly coats and huge horns which look much more terrifying up-close! The muskox are part of the goat family and are just as agile so running up mountains at speed comes easily but running down is a different story! We are told to run down-hill immediately if they decide to charge, strong and sturdy advice from Vikram! After 10 minutes of captivating viewing of these beasts they decide they want a higher viewpoint and run up the mountain full speed, even the baby manages to keep up! We all look at each other in disbelief! Wow, want an incredible encounter!

We clamber over frozen waterfalls and streams back down to the beach and it’s time to head back to the ship! Hot gulwine awaits us and a big group photo on deck 5, the red Poseidon jackets look striking as we all huddle together. After dinner we are treated to another show of northern lights, they dance over the ship and look like some kind of spirit coming down from the heavens, it’s not surprising there are many stories of spirits and ghosts in Inuit folk-law! After two hours in the jacuzzi watching the show it’s definitely time for bed.

Muskox in Greenland |© Gemma Bradley
Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 9 22nd of September

Breakfast is served from 7am as usual and we are offered the long and medium hike options again. It’s our last day in Eastern Greenland and the journey has been insane! We can’t believe our eyes when we go out on deck, the bright blue sky and golden sunshine has been replaced with a beautiful, snowy, winter wonderland… we have arrived in Gasefjord. As we cruise into the bay on our Zodiac, we are told there’s a narwhal in the area and as if by magic she raises her head in the water for us all to see! Narwhals are so rare in this area and it’s such a joy to see her swimming around confidently! Another guide thinks there may be a few more as there are many ripples and dimples on the water’s surface and it’s very odd to see one narwhal alone unless she has been separated from the pod. After the excitement of seeing a narwhal we are off on our hike with Clive in the English-speaking group. We clamber up the hill and there’s snow falling all around us, the mountains look like monochrome and our red jackets are beautifully striking against the black and white backdrop! We listen to Clive as he talks about glaciers and how some are retreating and some are advancing, he knows many scientists and some who are sceptical about how we as humans are affecting the climate of the planet. He advises us that a volcano eruption in Iceland in 2010 created more Co2 in the environment than humans have created in their whole existence and that the planet is heating up naturally after the last ice age. This may be a controversial view but it’s one that he says is backed up by scientific research.

The walk this morning is the most beautiful we have had all trip and we really are in a winter wonderland! We see huge boulders that were carried down with the glacier and are now left at the top of the hill as the glacier reduced. We walk all the way round to the beginning of the bay and look out again for the narwhal but we can just see ripples of where she is swimming around. This is our last landing in Greenland and there’s a twinge of sadness as we head back to the ship. Lunch is served at 12 and today’s special is pork dumplings – delicious! The food has been incredible the whole voyage, there is so much choice and the quality and freshness for so many people is very impressive.

This afternoon we have a Zodiac cruise around Vikingebugt, which has a huge glacier and many beautiful icebergs, the temperature is around minus 10 degrees so we are advised to dress warm! I have four layers on my top half and three on the bottom as well as three pairs of socks and hand warmers! Clive is our Zodiac driver as we cruise around the icebergs and watch a massive iceberg calve into the sea, Clive keeps his distance as the iceberg may flip at any moment and create a big wave. As we drive over to the left-hand side of the glacier, we see Saskia looking up to the rocks and we spot the polar bear mother and two cubs she is looking at! We all look through the binoculars and spot her on the second ridge from the water, she is looking at us as she walks along with her 2 cubs in tow, what an incredible end to our time in Greenland, the grand finale!

We have been cruising for 2 and a half hours and we are starting to get cold despite the layers, after grabbing some glacier ice for our drinks this evening we head back to the ship. The recap tonight is at 7pm so after a quick hot shower to warm up it’s time to go down to the Oceanus Lounge. There is a small buffet of cured Sereno ham being carved from the bone, cheese, olives and bread and you can grab a plate before settling down for Anja’s recap. She asks us all never to come back to Eastern Greenland as we have experienced the perfect trip! All days have gone to plan and we’ve made every single landing, the weather has been perfect and we’ve seen a narwhal, polar bears, muskox, northern lights as well as incredible icebergs and landscapes! Dinner is served at 7.30 and you can feel a real buzz of excitement on the ship. After dinner is a Q&A with the chef Francis and the hotel manager, the whole operation of offering so many people lots of different food options every day is a precise skill. With nowhere to pick up fresh produce throughout the whole trip Francis has his work cut out offering fresh ingredients everyday but he manages it very well indeed!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 10 Monday 23rd September

Today is a sea day and many people miss the 8am breakfast as it’s been such an action-packed trip, and a lay-in is well deserved! There are biscuits and coffee up in the club bar on level 4 so you can grab something if you did miss breakfast. The first lecture is at 9.15 with Hermann on Icelandic geology, his lecture is very engaging and we learn that 2,500 years ago there were no glaciers at all on earth as it was much warmer than it is now. The earth is now coming out of an ice age and warming up naturally and some glaciers are retreating. We learn about the magma hot spots in the earth and how these along with the tectonic plates created islands such as Hawaii & Iceland. After Hermanns lecture Peter gives a talk on his experience in Iceland in 2010 when the Eyjafallajokull volcano erupted and caused a huge ash cloud, the volcano threatened to ruin many farms around the base of the volcano and over two hundred people were evacuated from their homes. Peter stayed with a couple called Anna and Elis and helped look after the farm whilst filming the volcano and all of the electrical storms that were a production of the ash cloud.

Lunch is served at 12.30 today and although the waves are only 2-3 meters high the swell is pretty strong which makes for a bit of a queasy crossing. Most passengers opt for the light lunch served in the club lounge of soup, salad and paninis. Clive gives a great lecture about polar bears at 3pm and as we saw them yesterday it seems very apt. His talk is more about his own personal stories about polar bears trying to get into his cabin several times in Svalbard and one particular huge adult male bear who tried to enter his cabin five nights in a row from 2am until 5am to steal his chocolate! The cabin was made from steel containers so the polar bear was incredibly strong and clever to manage to break in!

Tea time is at 4pm and its flambeau-banana and ice cream, yum! The recap is at 5pm; Page shows us some photos from the trip and Anja tells us all the plans for tomorrow, we should be landing in Westfjord tonight at 9pm as the crossing has been so calm and we’ve made up lots of time which is a great bonus! After dinner I join the expedition team at 9pm and we take a walk into Isafjordur, the houses are very quaint and classic in style. We find a little local pub and try the Icelandic IPA, it’s delicious and a nice end to the day at sea.

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 11 Tuesday 24th September

Today we are off to Suoureyri, a small fishing village just twenty minutes away from Isafjordur. Group 1 is first at 8am and we jump on the fisherman bus and set off to the tiny town, our guide is a local lady who moved to the town for a job opportunity almost a year ago. There are only around 287 inhabitants and 80 of these are children! The autumn scenery is beautiful en route and as we go through a long tunnel before reaching the village, we learn about avalanches and how they are managed in this area with structures to hold the snow aloft so no houses are damaged. When we arrive, we visit the fish factory, the fish are all caught by the line and hook method and the types of fish caught are salmon, arctic char, cod and haddock. The factory is small but still smells very strongly of fish, we watch around 20 women who work on a conveyer belt, a machine cuts the head off and skins the fish and they take the spine out and the other bones, then the fillets.

Our guide lets us try some fish cakes with the local tartare sauce which are really tasty. She then takes some dried fish and beaks it up with a hammer so we can all taste some, it’s really dry and chewy and not my sort of taste at all. She then shows us to the fisherman cafe and demonstrates how to make fish stew, we all try some at the end and it’s delicious. The shop sells the local tartare sauce, sea salt, fish oil and lots of other produce you can take home with you. The bus leaves to go back to the ship and then there’s a talk in the lounge with Sasskia about demarcation tomorrow, there is a slick schedule with ten different transfers leaving the ship at different times. You are given a different coloured ribbon depending on your transfer time and where you are going, mine’s blue so once I’m packed, I’ll tie my ribbon to my bag and put it outside of my cabin for collection.

After lunch there’s a debrief with Luis and we all get a certificate each with a photo of us kayaking, it’s really good to talk about the kayaking as it’s such a great achievement! At 4.30 Anja talks all about the different trips Poseidon do, I think this is a great way to get clients to start thinking about their next trips, they also offer a loyalty card where you can get a discount for being a repeat client, this is a fantastic way of keeping clients booking with you. This is also extended to the kayaking activity and it will be half price the next time you book. It’s also completely free on your third trip with Poseidon!

There is then a private function in the library at lunch time with luxury drinks and canapés and the expedition leader and assistant are dressed up smartly to welcome the repeat clients, another great incentive to come back again. At 6.30 is the captain’s cocktails, there’s champagne, cocktails and canapés in the Oceanus Lounge and we choose the winner of the photo competition then watch the slide show of our trip that Page has prepared. It’s really emotional as we look back at everything we’ve done and experience the sights of East Greenland once again. It’s at this stage we realise just how incredible the trip has been, an unforgettable experience for everyone! The captain, his officers, all of the crew, staff and the whole expedition team are welcomed to the front of the stage and there’s a standing ovation! For a lot of people this has been a dream come true and you can feel that energy in the room. We are served an incredible dinner afterwards and drinks up in the bar with the expedition team. It’s been the most fabulous trip, certainly one that I’ll never forget!

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley

Day 12 25th of September

Disembarkation day. Our fabulous trip has come to an end, there is a light breakfast of hot drinks and pastries served in the bar area from 3am for the first transfer at 4am! Everyone collects their passports when they check out and final bills have been settled the night before. There is a recommended tipping amount per person of $14 a day to the staff and $6 a day to the expedition team, you can put this in cash in envelopes left in your cabin or pay by credit card with your final bill. Everyone gets a USB stick of the final slide show as a momentum and a loyalty card for their next booking, this discount is also transferable to friends or family members of clients which is a great service!

You make sure you are ready in reception for your transfer time and your luggage is already on the coach for you. Boarding the transfer coach, the expedition team thank the passengers for joining this intrepid expedition and wave goodbye...

Greenland |© Gemma Bradley
Greenland, Mads Pihl/Courtesy of Visit Greenland

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