The itinerary for this part of our voyage focuses on the spectacular fjords, coasts and islands of Scoresby Sund, also known as Kangertittivaq in the Greenlandic language. This area contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and Greenland’s best wildlife viewing. As with any true polar expedition, our exact schedule and route will be shaped by weather and ice. At this late stage of the season, we expect our explorations will be minimally affected by sea ice. However, we will be alert for icebergs from surging glaciers, which can present interesting navigational challenges. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Scoresby Sund is one of the longest and most visually stunning fjord systems in the world. Almost totally devoid of human habitation, it is also one of the most pristine natural environments on Earth. In this epic wilderness, the forces of nature have shaped a landscape of incomparable grandeur. Deep fjords and narrow passages are framed by sheer rock walls up to 2,000 meters high. Colossal icebergs—calved by immense glaciers and sculpted by wind and water into fantastic shapes—drift throughout the intricate fjord system in striking contrast to sparkling blue waters and polychromatic mountains capped with fresh snow. From verdant coastal plains to ice-clad peaks all the way to the glaciated heart of Greenland, a trip through Scoresby Sund sets a new standard for “scenic”.
Our area of exploration includes part of Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest and most northerly national park in the world. This vast Arctic landscape is a paradise for hikers who appreciate astounding views of untouched tundra wilderness. Across hillsides emblazoned with autumnal red and yellow, a flash of white reveals the flight of a snowy owl or a startled mountain hare. Tufts of the finest fleece ensnared in polar willows underfoot point the way to a nearby herd of shaggy musk oxen. You may hear the crack of horns colliding as bulls engage in fearsome battles of strength. Boreal fowl of every description are preparing to migrate south with their newly fledged chicks. All throughout the waterways of Scoresby Sund, we are on constant watch for polar bears and other marine mammals, including a variety of seals, walrus and narwhal, which can be spotted at any time.
The Franz Josef Fjord and Kong Oscar Fjord systems are part of Northeast Greenland National Park, the world’s largest and perhaps most remote. This whole area contains some of the Arctic’s most magnificent scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by ice-clad peaks up to 2000 meters high, reach far into the mountainous heart of Greenland. Tidewater glaciers create colossal icebergs that float with wind and tide throughout the fjord system. On shore, fields of multicolored tundra are home to musk oxen and Arctic hare.
Ancient Thule archeological sites remind us of humankind’s age-old relationship with this austere yet life-sustaining environment. For a look at how this tradition has been carried forward, we plan to visit the modern Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the only permanent settlement in the region and one of the most remote communities in the world. The village boasts a wonderful museum, a bookstore, handmade crafts for sale, a post office, and an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs.
In September, at the equinox, day and night are given equal opportunities to astound you. As night falls, the darkening sky becomes a stage for nature’s greatest celestial performance: the Northern Lights. East Greenland is one of the very best places in the Arctic to view this otherworldly natural phenomenon. In addition to being at the perfect latitude for strong aurora displays, the skies above Scoresby Sund are often cleared by katabatic winds rolling down from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet. Lights dancing from horizon to horizon are mirrored in calm waters while the silhouettes of gigantic icebergs and serrated mountains add to the romantic splendor of the experience.
This itinerary offers a deep dive into one of the Arctic’s most scenic and soulful environments. From dawn to dusk and beyond, your days will be filled with incredible shore excursions, world-class Zodiac cruising, and enough stunning scenery to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions. Hikers will live their wilderness dreams and sea kayakers will be rewarded with some of the finest paddling on the planet.