Arctic Odyssey: Discovering West Greenland and Baffin Island
Embark on an Expedition to Explore Vibrant Capitals, Inuit Culture, and Majestic Landscapes
Embark on an extraordinary adventure with Albatros Expeditions as we set sail for the untamed west coast of Greenland and the expansive wilderness of Baffin Island, Canada. In Summer 2024, join us aboard Ocean Albatros for a thrilling expedition that promises encounters with vibrant capital cities, interactions with friendly locals in charming towns, and awe-inspiring explorations of Arctic wonders—glaciers, icebergs, plunging fjords, and majestic mountain ranges. Get ready for an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Arctic's mesmerizing landscapes and vibrant cultures.
On the first day of our voyage, we board our chartered flight in Copenhagen, Denmark, or Reykjavik, Iceland, bound for Kangerlussuaq in Greenland.
Upon arrival at Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord), we will be driven to the small port located west of the airport, where Ocean Albatros will be anchored offshore. Zodiacs will transfer us the short distance to the ship, where your stateroom awaits after check-in. After the mandatory safety drill, dine in comfort with spectacular views as we set sail through the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq Fjord.
Nuuk, Greenland's vibrant capital, is a city of contrasts, blending skyscrapers with traditional wooden houses. With a population larger than any other city in Greenland, Nuuk combines a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a rich history, including Paleo-Inuit and Norse influences. Danish initiatives in the 1950s brought modernization, leaving a mark on the city's infrastructure, and today, as the population rapidly grows, Nuuk offers visitors a bustling cosmopolitan vibe, historical attractions, and a unique Greenlandic experience.
Kangaamiut and Evighedsfjorden, Greenland
The expedition's first full day will bring us to Kangaamiut, a charming village nestled in Greenland's central Qeqqata region. Life in Kangaamiut revolves around traditional practices, with locals engaging in hunting and fishing amid the stunning backdrop of cold, rich waters and a vast backcountry teeming with game. Explore the town's picturesque surroundings by hiking to the heliport for panoramic views, participate in a cultural display featuring traditional clothing and seal-flensing, and admire the renowned artwork of Kangaamiut's talented artists showcased in the local museum.
In the afternoon, the expedition continues inland into Evighedsfjorden/Kangerlussuatsiaq, a monumental fjord flanked by glacier-clad mountains, offering a 100km stretch of scenic exploration. Witness the splendour of the Evigheds Glacier and its calves while observing birdlife on the adjacent cliffs during a Zodiac cruise in this vast and awe-inspiring fjord.
Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Iqaluit, meaning 'Many Fish' in Inuktitut, is the vibrant capital of Nunavut, showcasing a rugged beauty and unique blend of Canadian and Inuit culture. Originally Frobisher Bay, it expanded during World War II and grew further with U.S. investments. With approximately 8,000 residents, Iqaluit serves as Nunavut's administrative hub, boasting historical sites, such as Hudson's Bay Company buildings, the Arctic Cathedral, and Inuit art installations. Explore the city's rich history and culture at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and Unikkaarvik Visitors Centre, or find tranquillity at Sylvia Grinnell National Park.
Lower Savage Islands, Nunavut, Canada
The Lower Savage Islands are a group of rugged, low-lying islands at the mouth of Frobisher Bay, the vast inlet leading to Iqaluit. Aeons of time and the passage of ice, wind and sea have carved two deep channels into these islands, which almost seem made for exploring by Zodiac. While the landscape is barren and stark, the southern Baffin region experiences some of the most significant tidal variations on Earth, and these strong currents keep the waters in and around the islands fresh and rich in nutrients. Thus, these waters are a hotspot for Arctic wildlife, which we hope to see during a day spent Zodiac cruising in the area.
Monumental Island and Lady Franklin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Monumental and Lady Franklin Islands, off the southeast coast of Baffin Island, are wildlife-rich areas in Nunavut. Monumental Island, named after the Franklin Expedition, is also known as ᐅᒥᐊᙳᐊᖅ/Umiannguaq in Inuktitut, meaning 'The Little Boat.' Lady Franklin Island, named after Franklin's wife, is a haven for polar bears, walrus, and seabirds due to its isolation and undisturbed nature. Wildlife sightings are common, making these islands prime spots for observing Arctic fauna.
Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada
Nestled in the picturesque Kuugarjuaq fjord off Cumberland Sound, Pangnirtung is a small Arctic town surrounded by glacier-capped mountains and pristine tundra. Its Inuktitut name, Pangniqtuq, translates to 'The Place of Bull Caribou,' while Kuugarjuaq means 'Becoming a Large River.' Established as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, the town, often known as 'Pang,' has grown with government services and is home to around 1,500 people. Renowned for its natural beauty, Pangnirtung is dubbed 'the Switzerland of the Arctic,' and initiatives promoting Inuit Art have made local artworks, including the famous Pang Hat, highly sought after globally.
After breakfast, Ocean Albatros will dock in Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest city with around 5,400 inhabitants. Inhabited since 2,500 BC, the city showcases remnants of its past, including turf huts and tent camps in the surrounding backcountry. Established as "Holsteinsborg" in 1756, Sisimiut's oldest part features townhouses, with the Blue Church (1775) being a cultural landmark. Today, it serves as an educational and industrial hub with a prominent fish processing plant. The city centre offers a mix of 21st-century life, where traditional seal hunts coexist with modern technology. Explore cultural and historical sites, including Spedjesø, the city museum, and the Artists Workshop. As evening falls, Ocean Albatros will set sail for Qeqertarsuaq in Disko Bay.
Nestled beneath Disko Island's 1,000-meter mountains, Qeqertarsuaq, formerly Godhavn, served as North Greenland's political and economic capital during the whaling era. As whaling declined in the early 1900s, political functions moved to Godthåb/Nuuk, prompting Qeqertarsuaq to reinvent itself and adopt its current name in 1979. Today, it thrives on hunting, fishing, and growing tourism. With unique red-and-black basalt mountains, a mild microclimate, and rich volcanic soil, the town stands out in Greenland's landscape. Visitors are drawn to its stunning rock formations, black sand beaches, and traditional Greenlandic charm. As we set sail to Ilulissat, Qeqertarsuaq unfolds with excellent hiking, friendly locals, and a rich historical significance.
Ilulissat, Iceberg Capital of the World
Ilulissat, known as 'the Iceberg Capital of the World,' boasts the spectacular Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland’s most famous site. Stretching 70 km from Disko Bay to the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features city-sized icebergs, draining 13% of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The town, thriving for 280 years, is Greenland’s third-largest, with over 4,500 inhabitants and exceptional tourism facilities. Ilulissat offers stunning scenery, a city museum in Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen's childhood home, and opportunities for hiking, boat trips, and flightseeing excursions to the Icefjord. As we leave Disko Bay en route to Kangerlussuaq, enjoy cruising past the massive icebergs in the evening.
Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Itilleq is a small village within the Aassivisuit-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its ancient Inuit hunting heritage. Though the settlement's traditional turf houses have been replaced by modern ones, the lifestyle has remained unchanged since the Inuit's arrival in Greenland. Despite its ancient roots, Itilleq embraces modernity with smartphones, high-speed wifi, and satellite TV. The local community, sustained by the sea for thousands of years, still engages in traditional hunting practices. Depending on resident availability, visitors may have the chance to play football with the locals, offering a unique experience despite potential numerical differences.
Disembarkation, Fly Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavik/Copenhagen
Sailing up the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq Fjord at night, the ship anchors for breakfast before bidding farewell to the crew via Zodiac. The Arctic adventure concludes with a flight from Kangerlussuaq back to Reykjavik, Iceland, or Copenhagen, Denmark.
Join us for this unique expedition voyage to West Greenland and Baffin Island in the Arctic summer of 2024.