17 Days - Sylvia Earle
Experience the enormity of Greenland – the world’s largest island – where jagged peaks pierce azure skies, and countless glaciers snake their way towards the coast. Discover ancient rocks at Skaergaard Peninsula dating back some 55 million years. Hikes across in search of Arctic fox, reindeer and Arctic tundra, tasting delicious wild berries along the way. Zodiac-cruise along sounds filled and see ringed seals lazing on sea ice calved from Greenland’s enormous ice sheets—the largest in Arctic, and encounter humpback and minke whales feeding in the nutrient-rich waters. Sail Prince Christian Sound, flanked by imposing mountains, as it carves its way through south Greenland where green pastures signal the presence of human settlement, and where the Viking ruins of Erik the Red still stand at Hvalsey. Weaving through the fjords and channels, we enter west Greenland, the country’s most developed region, home to the nation’s capital, Nuuk, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ilulissat Icefjord.
Home » 17 Day Sylvia Earle: Greenland Odyssey
- At Kangerlussuaq Fjord on Greenland’s remote east coast, we visit Skaergaard Intrusion, known to geologists worldwide for their unusual layering, formed some 55 million years ago.
- Sail along Prince Christian Sound, surrounded by towering mountains with glaciers that calve directly into the sea
- Enjoy thrilling Zodiac cruises to glacier fronts and watch for tail flukes from diving whales.
- Stand in awe in front breathtakingly beautiful Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World-Heritage Site.
- At the National Museum in Nuuk, see the fascinating exhibit of the Qilakitsoq mummies dating back 545 years, which were accidentally discovered in 1972.
- Day 1: Reykjavik
- Day 2: Reykjavik, Golden Circle tour
- Day 3: At sea
- Day 4: Kangerlussuaq Fjord
- Day 5: Tasiilaq, Sermilik Fjord
- Day 6: Skjoldungen Island
- Day 7: Prince Christian Sound
- Day 8: Tasermiut Fjord, Klosterdal, Nanortalik
- Day 9: Hvalsey, Qaqortoq
- Day 10: Paamiut
- Day 11: Nuuk
- Day 12: Sisimiut
- Day 13: Ilulissat
- Day 14: Eqip Sermia
- Day 15: Eternity Fjord
- Day 16: Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, charter flight to Toronto
- Day 17: Depart Toronto
Day 1: Reykjavik
Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, and transfer by Flybus to our group hotel. Upon check-in, reception staff will provide you with your expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening.
Day 2: Reykjavik
Check out and experience one of Reykjavik’s most popular excursions – the Golden Circle, which includes visits to Gullfoss Falls, Geysers, and Thingvellir National Park, before transferring to the pier for embarkation. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Day 3: At Sea
Crossing the Greenland Sea, we sail through the Polar Basin’s nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales and seabirds. Our team of experts entertains us with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé and Scoresby.
Day 4: Kangerlussuaq Fjord
Kangerlussuaq Fjord is home to some of the wildest coastal landscapes in all of Greenland. The peaks of Watkins Mountains featuring Gunnbjørnsfjeld—the highest peak in the Arctic, tower in the horizon. Hike across tundra to viewpoints of surrounding fjords, mountains, and glaciers, and enjoy gentle Zodiac cruises in icy bays offering unforgettable arctic scenery and wildlife encounters. We plan to land on the Skaergaard Peninsula near the mouth of Kangerlussuaq Fjord. Here, the rocks show an unusual layering, formed by crystals settling in a magma chamber below the earth’s surface some 55 million years ago. Discovered in the 1930s, the Skaergaard Intrusion is known to geologists worldwide.
Day 5: Tasiilaq, Sermilik Fjord
Overlooking King Oscar’s Harbour, Tasiilaq (formerly Ammassalik) is east Greenland’s largest town with a population of approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Here, green meadows contrast starkly with countless icebergs that often clog the waterways at nearby Sermilik Fjord, the largest in southeast Greenland, where we Zodiac-cruise and kayak to search for fin and humpback whales and photograph the spectacular scenery.
Day 6: Skjoldungen Island
Continue south along Greenland’s King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of a tidewater glacier, search for harp seals, ivory gulls and whales. Back on board, enjoy the stunning surrounds with a drink in hand basked in the soft light of the setting sun.
Day 7: Prince Christian Sound
Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m / 600-ft wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over 2,200 m / 7,200 ft high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. We slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography. At Kangersuneq Qinngorleq located at the northern end of the fjord, a glacier front is ideal for exploration by Zodiac or kayak. in the southern section of the sound, we pass a small settlement named Appilatoq, which means red in Greenlandic, after the red mountains rising above the town. Appilatoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it—a delight for photographers.
Day 8: Tasermiut Fjord, Klosterdal, Nanortalik
The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it’s often referred to as the ‘Patagonia of the north’. At Klosterdal (Monastery Valley), we are surrounded by three giant mountains - Napasorsuaq, Ketil and Nalumasortoq. Here we can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by kayak. Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘The Place Where Bears Pass Through,’ describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000 m /3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world. On arrival, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore.
Nanortalik is a town that’s known for their love of singing and you’ll be treated to choir performance. Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the ‘Knud Rasmussen Stone,’ named after Greenland’s most famous citizen, Dr Knud Rasmussen, an explorer and ethnologist.
Day 9: Hvalsey, Qaqortoq
Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for ‘Whale Island.’ Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1,000 AD and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site.
After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where our Zodiacs shuttle us ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of south Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called “Man and Stone,’ which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland’s southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town’s blacksmith. Qaqortoq’s landmark building is the Church of Our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the ‘Red Church’, is in the historic colonial part of town, near the harbour.
Day 10: Paamiut
Located on a peninsula with impressive view of the surrounding mountains, the small settlement of Paamiut has existed since the mid-17th century, and the name of the town means 'the people who live at the mouth' referring to the nearby fjord. The town is home to a beautiful and ornate wooden church, which is remarkable when Greenland completely lacks trees that can be used for construction. The local museum is worth a visit, and features exhibits of local handicrafts and photos from the whaling period. The town and surrounding area are best known for the resident population of white-tailed eagles, while minke, fin, humpback and orca are common visitors to this stretch of coast. Arctic char is the most commonly caught fish in these waters and depending on the luck of the day’s catch by local fisherman, we may enjoy a meal of freshly caught Arctic char for the evening meal.
Day 11: Nuuk
Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital, lies at the mouth of its very own fjord system on the country’s mid-west coast. On a guided walking tour around town, you’ll see charming old buildings including Greenland’s colourfully painted houses, and the award-winning City Hall. The small but fascinating National Museum features a unique ethnographical collection of artefacts of Inuit life, including the famous 545-year-old Qilakitsoq mummies, accidentally discovered by hikers in 1972.
Day 12: Sisimiut
Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, but mysteriously disappeared. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 AD and remained until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, most of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.
Located above the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut enjoys experiences 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. As Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is the only place in Greenland that has an open-air public swimming pool, and the town is famous for its old blue church featuring a whale jaw gate. The town’s small museum features interesting exhibits explaining local history and life in Greenland. The local arts centre features concerts, plays, films and cultural performances.
A few kilometres from downtown, Priest Mountain offers a challenging hike along a small river, and across tundra vegetation blooming with wildflowers, where you might encounter foxes, grouse, eagles soaring overhead, and perhaps musk ox. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of town, the surrounding mountains, fjords and the sea.
Day 13: Ilulissat
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region boasts some of the most splendidly-shaped icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier, not only in Greenland, but in the Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay.
Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 10-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport sweeping over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion.
Day 14: Eqip Sermia
Located 80 kilometres north of Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is accessible only by sea, and is one of Greenland’s most active glaciers. Although smaller than Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is more accessible, and if sea-ice conditions permit, we’ll Zodiac cruise within safe distance of the glacier front where we see seals floating on bergy bits in front of the glacier while eagles can sometimes be seen soaring above. Several hikes are possible in the area, where you may encounter grouse, Arctic hare and small Arctic fox.
Day 15: Eternity Fjord
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.
Day 16: Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, charter flight to Toronto
Tucked away at the end of a 180-kilometre-long Søndre Strømfjord is Greenland’s biggest and busiest airport, Kangerlussuaq. Bid a fond farewell to the expedition team and transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Toronto, where you spend the night.
Day 17: Depart Toronto
After check-out, continue your onward journey.
Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea, pack-ice and other conditions beyond our control.
|06 Jul 2024 - 22 Jul 2024||USD $14236pp||Save 20%|
|Aurora Triple Stateroom|
|Aurora Superior Stateroom|
|Balcony Stateroom (C)|
|Balcony Stateroom (B)|
|Balcony Stateroom (A)|
|Superior Balcony Stateroom|
**Prices are per person based on twin / shared accommodation.
**Single supplements may apply
Aurora Triple Stateroom
22.67m2 (244ft2) located on deck 3, 2 single beds, private en-suite bathroom, porthole window, desk area, closet space, room-controlled thermostat, safe & 42" flat-screen TV.
Aurora Superior Stateroom
20.1-22.3sqm, located on deck 7, french balcony, double bed, private en-suite bathroom, desk area, 42" flat screen TV, room-controlled thermostat, safe, closet space.
Balcony Stateroom (C)
21 - 24.8sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 4 & 6, twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, floor to ceiling window, desk space, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe & 42" flat screen TV.
Balcony Stateroom (B)
21 - 24.8sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 4 & 6 (fore and aft), twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, floor to ceiling window, desk area, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe & 42" flat screen TV.
Balcony Stateroom (A)
21 - 24.8sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 4 & 6 (close to internal stairs/elevator), twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, floor to ceiling window, desk area, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe & 42" flat screen TV.
Superior Balcony Stateroom
30.5 - 40.2sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 4, twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, full size window, desk area, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe & 42" flat screen TV.
38.9sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 7, twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, full size window, desk area, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe, 42" flat screen TV & separate lounge area.
44.5sqm (cabin + balcony), located on deck 4, twin or double bedding, private en-suite bathroom, full size window, desk area, closet space, private balcony, room-controlled thermostat, safe, 42" flat screen TV & separate lounge area.
Sylvia Earle Deckplan
- Cabins: 71
- Number of passengers: 132
- Decks: 8
- Length: 104m
- Year Built: Launching in 2021
- Speed: 10-12 knots
- Shared coach transfer from airport to hotel on day 1
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Reykjavik on day 1
- Full-day Golden Circle tour on day 2
- Charter flight: Kangerlussuaq-Toronto on day 16
- Sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq (time permitting) and transfer to the airport on day 16
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Toronto on day 16
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- Gratuities for ship crew
What’s not included?
- International or domestic flights, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
- Sea Kayaking: US$980 per person
- Rock Climbing: US$940 per person