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|East Greenland Voyage|
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East Greenland voyages, incorporating the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, combine some of the most dramatic mountain and iceberg scenery in the Arctic and in some of the best whale watching waters in the Northern Hemisphere. The mid to late summer timing (September) also presents opportunities to see the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) you can't get on our mid summer Spitsbergen voyages.
The voyage starts and ends in the north of Iceland which is itslef an excellent location for seeing Humpback Whales, dolphins and Minke Whales which often breach spectacularly. From the coast of Iceland we cross the Denmark Staits to Greenland, watching out for Blue Whales and other marine life as we go. An estimated 10% of the world's population of blue whales visit these waters each year.
Our target in Greenland is Scoresby Sund: the largest and most spectacular fjord in the World. The sheer scale of this inlet is difficult to imagine. All around you mountains rise 2,000m from the sea and continue beneath the waterline a further 1,000m to the ocean bottom. You will be able to see as many as seven glaciers at once grinding their way through rugged rocks towards the water. Unlike Spitsbergen, the sea drops off sharply so some very large chunks of glacier can break off each time. This results in some huge icebergs, as much as 100 metres high and a kilometre in length, the scale of which you are only likely to see in Antarctica. These bergs can dwarf your ship and provide beautiful objects to explore at relatively close, but safe range in a rigid inflatable boat.
Scoresby Sund is the most northerly point of this voyage and part of the world's national park: the Northeast Greenland National Park which covers an incredible 97,200,000 hectares. This scale means that wildlife is more disperse than in Spitsbergen, but Polar Bears can be seen on the voyages, as well as Atlantic Walrus, Arctic Foxes, the Canadian Arctic hare, grey wolves and the large hairy Musk Oxen.
Of marine encounters, the rarely seen Narwhal, or 'unicorn whale', is something we are always very keen to sight. Seals are more common and species include Ringed Seals, Bearded Seals and Harp Seals.
Those keen on trekking can enjoy some wonderful trekking opportunities in East Greenland, with groups often split between those who want to scale higher up the island's dramatic coastal mountains, and those who want to take a more leisurely stroll closer to the shore. Looking back out to see, the ship will look incredibly small and the sea usually devoid of any sign of another visitor.
Greenland is a sparely inhabited island and on this voyage we will aim to visit the modern Inuit settlement of Illoqqortoormiut. We will also visit sites where humans have tried to live in the past, but have long since abandoned their settlements. At Danmarksø we can find a well preserved village some 200 years old.
Our East Greenland voyages are ideal for those seeking some of the Earth's most dramatic landscapes. It is also an ideal voyage if you are keen on seeing whales, icebergs and an Arctic voyage which provides opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
If you are trying to decide which polar voyage to consider, call one of our polar guides and experts who describe to you in more detail the differences in voyaging to different polar locations.
Photographs kindly provided by Troels Jacobsen, Charlotte Caffrey & Kelvin Murray
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