Aboard MV Ortelius
Akureyri to Akureyri
- 9 Days 4 - 12 Sep 2013
Greenland and its surrounding waters are home to an impressive array of wildlife: eight species of whale, two million seals, Walruses, Polar Bears, Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Arctic Hares, Arctic Wolves and a spectacular variety of birds. The largest island in the world, 90% of its surface area is covered by ice and it is inhabited by less then 100.000 people, though with a fascinating history and culture.
Reykjavik - Akureyri
Transfer by bus from Reykjavik hotels in the morning to the ship in Akureyri, where we arrive in the afternoon after six hours drive through North Iceland. In the early evening we leave Iceland and sail north towards the Denmark Strait.
At sea, sailing north through the Denmark Strait. We are almost certain to see Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets and rafts of Common Guillemots. We cross the Arctic Circle and continue north, perhaps seeing whales. In the evening we will spot our first icebergs appear as we approach the east coast of Greenland near Kap Brewster.
Volquart Boons Coast - Danmarksø
In the morning we sail along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast, here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near a glacier, like Maanegletsjer or in Vikingebugt. Later we land on Danmarksø where there are the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular 'tent rings' of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.
Cape Hofmann Halvø -
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans and at sea Great Northern Divers. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs
On our way to Sydkap in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100 m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400 m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. The landscape here is gently undulating. Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meagre vegetation.
Jameson Land - Ittoqqortoormiit
In the morning we land at a lagoon at the south coast of Jameson Land, an area with waders and geese collecting for the autumn migration. The landscape here is gently undulating. Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meagre vegetation. In the afternoon we visit Ittoqqortoormiit, the biggest settlement near Scoresby Sund with about 400 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of seals, Musk Ox and Polar Bear.
South of the Scoresby Sund we will try to land at Stewart with dwellings from the Thule culture. Later in the day we get deep into Rømer Fjord with possibilities to see Narwhals.
The whole day at sea offers excellent opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, at night the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Arrive at Akureyri, and transfer by chartered bus to hotels in Reykjavik