• zodiac cruise Greenland Matt Horspool

Itinerary Summary

Duration
17 Days
Price From
£11426
When
Aug 2022
Destination
Greenland
Type
Small Group Safari
Duration Price From When Destination Type
17 Days £11426 Aug 2022 Greenland Small Group Safari
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Greenland Odyssey

Experience the enormity of Greenland, the world's largest island aboard the Greg Mortimer. Where jagged peaks pierce azure skies, and countless glaciers snake their way towards the coast, you will have the chance to discover ancient rocks at Skaergaard peninsula dating back some 55 million years. Hike across the tundra, in search of Arctic fox, reindeer, muskox, tasting delicious berries along the way. Zodiac-cruise along spectacular sounds where ringed, harp and hooded seals laze on the sea ice. Watch icebergs form as Greenland's enormous ice sheets- the largest in the Arctic- calve into the fjords, and encounter humpback and minke whales feeding in the nutrient-rich waters. Sail Prince Christian Sound, flanked by imposing mountains, as it carves its way through south Greenland where green pastures signal the presence of human settlement, and where the Viking ruins of Erik the Red still stand at Hvalsey. 

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Visit Skaergaard Intrusion, known to geologists worldwide for their unusual layering, formed some 55 million years ago
  • Sail along Prince Christian Sound, surrounded by towering mountains with glaciers that calve directly into the sea
  • Enjoy thrilling Zodiac cruises to glacier fronts and watch for tail flukes from diving whales
  • Stand in awe in front of the breathtakingly beautiful Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World-Heritage Site
  • At the National Museum in Nuuk, see the fascinating exhibit of the Qilakitsoq mummies dating back 545 years, which were accidentally discovered in 1972

Embedded Video Overview

A 17-day expedition wilderness exploration - from $15,197 per person, excluding international flights.

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Reykjavik

Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland's cosmopolitan capital, and transfer by Flybus to our group hotel. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (D)

Day 2

Reykjavik

Check out and experience one of Reykjavik's most popular excursions-the Golden Circle. This will include visits to Gullfoss Falls, Geysers, and Thingvellir National Park, before transferring to the pier, ready for your embarkation. After boarding, there's time to settle into your cabin before important safety briefings. This evening you will also have the chance to meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain's Welcome Dinner. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 3

At Sea

Today we will cross the Greenland Sea, sailing through the Polar Basin's nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales and seabirds. Our team of experts entertain us with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé and Scoresby. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 4

Kangerlussuaq Fjord

Kangerlussuaq Fjord is home to some of the wildest coastal landscapes in all of Greenland. The peaks of Watkins Mountains featuring Gunnbjørnsfjeld- the highest peak in the Arctic, tower in the horizon. Hike across tundra to viewpoints of surrounding fjords, mountains and glaciers, and enjoy gentle Zodiac cruises in icy bays offering unforgettable arctic scenery and wildlife encounters. We plan to land on the Skaergaard Peninsula near the mouth of Kangerlussuaq Fjord. Here, the rocks show an unusual layering, formed by crystals settling in a magma chamber below the earth's surface some 55 million years ago. Discovered in the 1930's, the Skaergaard Intrusion is known to geologists worldwide. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 5

Tasiilaq, Sermilik Fjord

Overlooking King Oscar's Harbour, Tasiilaq (formerly Ammassalik) is east Greenland's largest town with a population of approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Where green meadows contrast starkly with countless icebergs that often clog the waterways at nearby Sermilik Fjord, the largest in southeast Greenland, where we Zodiac-cruise and kayak to search for fin and humpback whales and photograph the spectacular scenery. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 6

Skjoldungen Island

Continue south along Greenland's King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of the tidewater glacier, search for harp seals, ivory gulls and whales. 

Back on board, enjoy the stunning surrounds with a drink in hand basked in the soft light of the setting sun. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 7

Prince Christian Sound

Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m / 600-ft wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over 2,200 m / 7,200 ft high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. We slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography. At Kangersuneq Qinngorleq located at the northern end of the fjord, a glacier front is ideal for exploration by Zodiac or kayak. In the southern section of the sound, we pass a small settlement names Appilatoq, meaning red in Greenlandic, after the red mountains rising above the town. Appilatoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it- a delight for photographers. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 8

Tasermiut Fjord, Klosterdal, Nanortalik

The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it's often referred to as the 'Patagonia of the north'. At Klosterdal (Monastery Valley), we are surrounded by three giant mountains- Napasorsuaq, Ketil and Nalumasortoq. Here we can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by Kayak. 

Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word 'Nanoq' meaning 'The Place Where Bears Pass Through,' describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000m / 3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world. 

On arrival, you'll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Nanortalik is a town that's known for their love of singing and you'll be treated to a choir performance. Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the 'Knud Rasmussen Stone', named after Greenland's most famous citizen, Dr Kund Rasmussen, an explorer and ethnologist. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 9

Hvalsey, Qaqortoq

Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. 'Hvalsey' is old Norse for 'Whale Island', and was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site. 

After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where our Zodiacs shuttle us ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of south Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called "Man and Stone", which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland's southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south of Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town's blacksmith. Qaqortoq's landmark building is the Church of Our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the 'Red Church', is in the historic colonial part of town, near the harbour. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 10

Paamiut

Located on a peninsula with impressive views of the surrounding mountains, the small settlement of Paamiut has existed since the mid-17th century, and the name of the town means 'the people who live at the mouth', referring to the nearby fjord. The town is home to a beautiful and ornate wooden church, which is remarkable when Greenland completely lacks trees that can be used for construction. The local museum is worth a visit, and features exhibits of local handicrafts and photos from the whaling period. The town and surrounding area are best known for the resident population of white-tailed eagles, along with minke, fin and humpback whales, and orcas being common visitors too. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 11

Nuuk

Greenland's capital, Nuuk, the world's northernmost capital, lies at the mouth of its very own fjord system on the country's mid-west coast. On a guided walking tour around town, you'll see charming old buildings including Greenland's colourfully painted houses, and the award-winning City hall. The small but fascinating National Museum features a unique ethnographical collection of artefacts of Inuit life, including the famous 545-year-old Qilakitsoq mummies, accidentally discovered by hikers in 1972. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 12

Sisimiut

Located above the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut experiences 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. As Greenland's second largest town, Sisimiut is the only place in Greenland that has an open-air public swimming pool, and the town is famous for its old blue church featuring a whale jaw gate. The town's small museum features interesting exhibits explaining local history and life in Greenland. 

A few kilometres from from downtown, Priest Mountain offers a challenging hike along a small river, and across tundra vegetation blooming with wildflowers, where you might encounter foxes, grouse, eagles soaring overhead and perhaps musk ox. At the summit, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the town, surrounding mountains, fjords and the sea. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 13

Ilulissat

Known as the 'birthplace of icebergs', this region boasts some of the most splendidly-shaped icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier, not only in Greenland, but in the Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice daily, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. 

Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): This excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 10-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport sweeping over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can soak in the breath-taking surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with incredible views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 14

Eqip Sermia (Eqi the calving glacier)

Located 80 kilometres north of Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is accessible only by sea, and is one of Greenland's most active glaciers. Although smaller than Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is more accessible, and if sea-ice conditions permit, we'll Zodiac cruise within safe distance of the glacier front where we see seals floating on bergy bits in front of the glacier while eagles can sometimes be seen soaring above. Several hikes are possible in the area, where you may encounter grouse, Arctic hare and small Arctic fox. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 15

Eternity Fjord

Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in West Greenland, due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B, L, D)

Day 16

Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, charter flight to Toronto

Tucked away at the end of the 180-kilometre-long Søndre Strømfjord is Greenland's biggest and busiest airport, Kangerlussuaq. Bid a fond farewell to the expedition team, and transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Toronto for an overnight stay. 

Charter flight times from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto:

Departs Kangerlussuaq at 6.00 pm

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer (B)

Day 17

Depart Toronto

After check-out, continue your onward journey. 

Overnight: M/S Greg Mortimer

Trip Details

This is a small group expedition on the Greg Mortimer.

The price of the expedition includes: 16 nights onboard Greg Mortimer, all meals onboard, services of the guiding team, all excursions and activities in Greenland. 

Trip date Duration Prices from
Aug 10 - Aug 26 2022 17 Days £11426

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