Day 1: Isafjörður / Denmark Strait
Departure from Isafjordur at 19:00 with our expedition sail boat AURORA. Weather permitting we will start the crossing of Denmark Strait which should take approximately 32 hours. If the weather is rough on the strait or sea-ice conditions are difficult we will stay in the beautiful sheltered fjords of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and do some hiking and/or kayaking there.
Day 2: Denmark Strait
Crossing the Denmark Strait. We will be at sea and should start seeing the mountains of Greenland in the afternoon. Also we will keep a sharp lookout for icebergs that are always present in the area. Dolphins and whales are likely to be following us.
Day 3: Søkongen Island - Watkins Mountains
Arrival in Greenland in the early morning. We will attempt landfall at Søkongen Island on the south side of Nansen fjord. The great Christian IV glacier calves into Nansen fjord and it is quite often full of ice bergs. This is prime area for Polar Bears and we will keep our eyes open to look for them. The Watkins Mountains and the highest peak in the Arctic, Gunnbjornsfjeld (3693 m) line the horizon. Depending on the ice conditions we will try to find an anchorage there for the night.
Day 4-5: Mikis Fjord
Move to Mikis fjord and anchor there. Here is an option to hike into the flower-filled Sødalen valley and perhaps look for gold and platinum in the creeks and rivers of the Skærgård intrusion (just found a few years ago by a geologic expedition). In Mikis fjord are also long-abandoned Inuit ruins that allude to a time when the Dorset culture populated the NE coast.
Day 6: Kangerdlussuaq Fjord
Move to the great Kangerlugssuaq fjord (“Big fjord”). The AURORA will anchor in Suhaili bugt. This is a very sheltered anchorage where Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Chris Bonington anchored the Suhaili when they attempted to climb the Cathedral peak in 1991. This will be our base camp for the next few days...
Day 7-9: Kangerdlussuaq Fjord
Here we have many options of hikes and kayak-tours. We can paddle over to the abandoned Skærgård Inuit settlement and explore the Uttendal sound towards the ice-filled Watkins fjord. We can also hike the hills of Kræmer island where there is fantastic view of the surrounding fjords, mountains and glaciers.To the Ammassalik people, Kangerdlugssuaq has always been regarded as an especially rich hunting ground – a kind of Arctic Shangri-La that can be reached only with difficulty in small skiffs. Modern-day attempts to colonize Kangerdlugssuaq date from 1966, when several families from Tasiilaq over-wintered in the remains of an old American weather station and expedition houses from the 1930s. They reported a very good hunting season: 35 polar bears, 62 narwhals and some 2100 seals! But because of the daunting access to the area, colonization attempts were abandoned and Kangerdlugssuaq was left to revert again to wilderness. The Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord is bar-none the wildest coastal landscape in Greenland. The Lemon Mountain range – one of Greenland’s highest --lies just north of the fjord. This vast mountain range with compact alpine peaks offers endless opportunities for mountaineering, with many unclimbed peaks up to 2,600 meters. In addition, just 50 to 80km north and east of Södalen is the Lindbergh Range, with unclimbed peaks to 3,200 meters and magnificent views over the vast Greenland Ice Cap. Farther west are the Kangerdlugssuaq Mountains, an expansive realm of alpine granite and gneiss peaks rising to 2,600 meters. This range comprises the single largest region of unclimbed summits in Greenland. To the northeast are the Watkins Mountains with Gunnbjorns Fjeld (3.693m), the highest peak in the Arctic. In all, this range contains the 10 highest mountains in the High Arctic – a stunning collection of peaks virtually unknown to the outside world.
Day 10: Kap SM Jørgensen and Kap Dechmann
We will head out of Kangerdlugssuaq fjord and make our way south. This area is thus described in the British Admiralty Arctic Pilot: “The stretch of coast between Kap SM Jørgensen and Kap Dechmann, 90 miles NE, is considered one of the most difficult in Greenland; the mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers discharge quantities of ice, while numerous off-lying islets and rocks make navigation hazardous”.
Day 11: Nigertuluk Fjord
On the way south we will try to explore new areas and then make our way into Nigertuluk fjord. Here are two large calving glaciers, a sandy beach and a beautiful mountain lake. All in all a fantastic playground for hiking and kayaking.
Day 12: Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord
Today we move over the Kangertigtivatsiaq fjord which has been thus described by Chapman of the British Arctic Air Route expedition of 1930-1931: „The scenery here was magnificent. A short branch fjord to the N terminated in a huge glacier, while the longer main fjord was flanked by great needle-peaked mountains, between 1800 – 2000 m high. There are hanging glaciers precariously balanced on the steep hillsides and other glaciers coming right down to the sea. At the head of the fjord, away in the distance, was a superb pinnacled mountain, reminiscent of St. Paul ́s Cathedral; this was Ingolfs fjeld.”
Day 13: Storø to Smalsund - Sermiligaq
Sail further south in a little-explored territory, Depot-sound, pass the Idrac Glacier, behind Fladøerne island and through Smalsund. From here onwards to Sermiligaq where we will anchor for the night.
Day 14: Sermiligaq to Kulusuk
We will sail into Sermiligaq fjord and enter Ikasaq sound. Here we will make a short stop at the abandoned WW2 military base of Bluie East 2. From here we will continue over to Angmagssalik fjord and anchor off Kulusuk village in the afternoon.
Day 15: Kulusuk
We will go ashore and visit the village of Kulusuk. Guests will leave us here and catch their flight back to Iceland or continue with their own further exploration of Greenland.