Day 1: Embarkation
We arrive to the town by the ice fjord, Ilulissat. Immediately upon arrival, we are struck by the natural beauty that surrounds us, with hills, glaciers and a bay filled with icebergs. The remoteness from our everyday life is obvious! In the afternoon we board M/S Balto. After the safety orientation, we venture into Disko Bay, sailing in the low sun, midst a wondrous parade of icebergs of thousand shades of blue. Overnight we sail across the bay and anchor past the glacial waterfalls by Qeqertarsuaq on the south side of Disko Island. Keep in mind that this is truly an expedition voyage, and our itinerary largely depends on weather, calving activity and amounts of ice. Where possible we go on zodiac excursions or make landings.
Day 2 – 9: Expedition cruising
We enjoy breakfast with a view of the volcanic cliffs of Disko Island. Disko is unique in its geology and lush vegetation and stands out in the otherwise ice-packed bay. Greenlandic legend says it is because the island was moved here from the south by two kayaking seal hunters, and when it entered Disko bay a witch from Ilulissat cast a spell on it to ground. The island invites to beautiful hikes and the columnar basalt rocks show the island's volcanic history.
We pay a visit to Qeqertarsuaq – the settlement on the island – to explore the beautiful nature around the town and the colourful town itself.
As we leave Qeqertarsuaq, we cruise close to the eastern side caves, which is also a place where we often witness humpback whales feeding. Occasionally we might hear the mighty thundering of a large ice calving across the bay. We continue up the picturesque Vaigat Strait and en route, we pass by some magnificent glacier fronts and navigate between myriads of icebergs.
There are many impressive and active glaciers in this part of Greenland. One of the glaciers we might explore is Eqip Sermia, which is one of the most active glaciers in Greenland. It is a powerful experience to hear the explosive sound of the air being released as the glacier calves.
When we proceed northwest on the Vaigat strait, striking high cliffs and enormous icebergs surround us. We round the corner of the Nuussuaq peninsula, which separates Disko Bay from the Uummannaq Bay. This area is known to be home to numerous different species of animals, such as whales, seals, walrus, reindeer and foxes.
We anchor in front of the secluded village of Niaqornat, better known as “the village at the end of the world”. The village is home to a population of approx. 50 people; several of them are proud hunters, displaying narwhal horns, walrus skulls, polar bear skin and antlers around their huts. This offers a unique opportunity to get an understanding of the local culture, of which we need to respect and aim to learn more!
Approaching Uummannaq Island is a sight to behold in any weather, on a clear sunny day or with heart shaped mountain or coastal cliffs rising above the strips of fog. We most likely will have the company of whales spraying near the ship. According to the myth, a piece of the visitors’ hearts will remain on the Uummannaq Island, always trying to summon them back. Whether it is the magic mountain that dominates the landscape of the island or if it is the singing children ashore that are magnetizing, is left to be unsaid.
We aim to visit the town of Uummannaq with its old settler houses, church, museum and remains of failed Arctic expeditions in the area.
As we continue east, we approach several highly active glaciers, from which numerous of blue-shifting icebergs are thrown into the sea. Very few vessels venture here and many of the fjord systems are still unnamed. The crew of M/S Balto, who have had the fortune of travelling in this area, describes it as one of the most stunning landscapes of the north Greenland.
When we start to proceed southwest, we are likely to be treated with magnificent shows of enormous icebergs and the events they do – turning, exploding and maybe dumping lakes of water in the sea. We continue via the rarely visited western side of Disko Island, visiting fjords full of geological wonders.
Day 10: Ilulissat
In the morning we disembark in Ilulissat for homebound flights.
Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife. The places mentioned are just examples of some of the many sites this region of Greenland has to offer. We always strive to maximize your experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!