East Greenland Explorer
Selected departures from May to August 2023
Pricing based on departure date: 15 August 2023
An exploration like no other; this one-of-a-kind voyage of discovery heads into the unknown. The only guarantee is a genuine voyage of exploration and adventure! We aim to explore the northernmost tip of mighty Greenland. We may battle the ice towards fabled Kap Morris Jesop and Station Nord; a Danish military outpost in Peary Land. We hope to reach Kap Prins Knud, Antarctic Bay or Jokelbugten. Our wishlist also includes Danmarkshavn, home of Sirius Patrol—dog-sled patrollers of Northeast Greenland National Park. Wild Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord beckons exploration, where glaciers offload icebergs the size of small cities into deep fjords, and where kittiwakes, arctic terns and glaucous gulls plunge the water surface for zooplankton amidst collapsing ice. In Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world, we watch bergs drift silently against autumnal vegetation, revealing arctic hares, musk oxen and elusive ptarmigan. Where doe-eyed seals break the mirrored surface of the water. True exploration awaits us.
- With a skilled and adventurous Expedition Team, we attempt to reach fabled places dreamed and written about by explorers.
- Be part of a trailblazing “Exploratory Voyage,” where the “itinerary” is driven by nature and Aurora’s genuine spirit of exploration.
- Keep a close watch for the unmistakable blow of whales as they surface to breathe, and perhaps the mesmerising sight of a tail fluke as it takes a deep dive.
- Marvel at the ancient geology of East Greenland, where mountains are painted in stripes by nature’s brush and fjords are surrounded by walls of various shades of pinks, oranges and purple.
Day 1 Reykjavik
Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Enjoy free time and dine at your leisure (dinner not included).
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik Hotel (or similar)
Day 2 Reykjavik, embarkation
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Explore the main sights of Reykjavik on a half day city tour before transferring to the pier for embarkation. Settle into your cabin before attending our mandatory safety briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we will gather on the deck and enjoy the thrill of departure as we ‘throw the lines’ to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Reykjavik.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, friendly expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.
Day 3 At Sea
As we cross the Denmark Strait to Greenland, we begin our series of informative and entertaining onboard lectures from our team of experts. Learn about sea ice, history of European exploration and wildlife of Greenland, the world’s largest island.
Days 4-12 East Greenland
As we approach East Greenland we may encounter pack ice and perhaps catch our first glimpse of seals and a variety of seabirds including northern fulmar and migratory Brünnich's guillemot. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months each year.
In the coming days, a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. We will generally make up to two outings per day, exploring on land or cruising along spectacular fjords, making the best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Be prepared to experience ice, lots of it! East Greenland contains some of the Arctic's most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks up to 2,000 m (6,562 ft) high. Gigantic icebergs calved from glaciers drift throughout the fjord system creating breathtaking scenery. The landscape is filled with multi-coloured tundra home to musk oxen and arctic hare. Throughout the area are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers' huts, and modern Inuit hunters' cabins. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 500 inhabitants. Here you can explore the village, the fascinating museum or sit in the beautiful Lutheran Church. The locals are friendly, and from underneath their Arctic fox-fur jackets, the shy young children are keen to say hello and practice their English. The community boasts an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs, and the opportunity to meet Inuit people.
Explore Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world – a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund are Kong Oscar and Kaizer Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in all of Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil mountains that protects areas from the strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from muskox and arctic foxes to mountain hares and even reindeer near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds including glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.
There are great hiking options in the area, where flowering tundra plants, scattered bones of whales and muskox from centuries of hunting by the Inuit and fumaroles can be found. These are areas where heated groundwater boil to the surface creating bubbling pools and mineral formations as the water reacts with the atmosphere.
The area also boasts some of the most striking sedimentary sandstone, shale and siltstone formations imaginable. The layers of sediment here are estimated to have taken about 4,000 years to be laid down, and the alternating colours and patterns in the layers of rocks are stunningly beautiful.
Day 13 Denmark Strait
We sail back Iceland through the Denmark Strait. Keep a lookout for whale blows and the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present Arctic winds. Enjoy the time to reflect on your recent adventures, share and exchange photos, and breathe in the fresh ocean air. As we near Iceland, we re-enter an inhabited world as we encounter fishing vessels working the coastal waters.
Day 14 Disembark Reykjavik
After breakfast, bid farewell to the expedition team, crew and newfound friends as you disembark in Reykjavik, where the voyage ends. A transfer is included to your hotel or to Keflavik airport.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Reykjavik prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
- All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
- One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1.
- Half-day tour of Reykjavik on Day 2, prior to embarkation.
- Onboard 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 receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
- Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
- One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
- Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
- Comprehensive pre-departure information.
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
- Gratuities for ship’s crew and local guides.
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