Scoresby Sund Aurora Borealis Adventure


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    An inlet system of the Greenland Sea, the Scoresby Sund is the largest and longest fjord system on the planet. The fauna of the region is unusually rich for Greenland, and the wildlife we hope to encounter on this voyage includes musk oxen, Arctic fox, stoat, mountain hare and lemming, along with numerous seabird species. Setting sail from Iceland, we cruise north into the Denmark Sea, before entering the magnificent Scoresby Sund to explore its myriad inlets and bays. We spend our days undertaking zodiac cruises to explore iceberg-filled fjords, abandoned Inuit settlements and wildlife viewing spots, and while at sea we’ll have the opportunity to whale watch, and hopefully catch glimpses of the spectacular Aurora Borealis or ‘Northern Lights’. This unique voyage takes us to the heart of one of Earth’s most pristine environments.

    Highlights

    • Cruising the ice-laden fjords of Greenland’s East Coast
    • Hear about how ‘Aurora Borealis’ comes to be from an onboard expert
    • Search for a magnificent range of Arctic wildlife
    • Spectacular glaciers and icebergs
    • Visit Ittoqqortoormiit

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Join in Reykjavik overnight hotel
    Welcome to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and starting point of our Arctic expedition! At the Keflavik international airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to the city centre. After checking into your hotel, you will be free to explore this attractive, friendly and quintessentially Nordic city. For dinner, Reykjavík offers countless options for an authentic Icelandic meal.

    Day 2 Afternoon embark ship and set sail
    After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Reykjavík. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition vessel. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the views as we sail through Faxaflói, where it is possible to encounter our first whales. (B, D)

    Day 3 At sea through the Denmark Strait
    As we sail north across the Denmark Strait to East Greenland, we celebrate our crossing of the Arctic Circle. We keep a continuous lookout for great whales and flocks of seabirds feeding in the productive waters near the sharp rise of Greenland’s continental shelf. After nightfall, we have our first of many opportunities to see the aurora borealis overhead. (B, L, D)

    Days 4-8 Exploration of Scoresby Sund

    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. 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 mountainsides. 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. 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. Ancient Thule archaeological 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, near 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 splendour 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. (B, L, D daily)

    Day 9 Return to Iceland
    After our amazing time in Scoresby Sund, we head back across the Denmark Strait toward Iceland. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that this day at sea is not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks and balconies. (B, L, D)

    Day 10 Westfjords, Iceland
    Our last full expedition day is spent in the beautiful Vestfirðir (Westfjords) of Iceland. This remote and sparsely populated region of crenulated coastlines, voluminous waterfalls and rugged mountains sees only 10% of Iceland’s visitors. Deep fjords are home to whales while estuaries abound with seals and birdlife. Traditional towns like Ísafjörður embody Iceland’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and contemporary charm. (B, L, D)

    Day 11 Disembark in Reykjavik
    After filling up with one last buffet breakfast on board, we bid you a fond farewell in Reykjavík. We provide transfers to Keflavik international airport or to the city centre in case you plan to extend your stay in Iceland. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
    • 1 night hotel accommodation in Longyearbyen on a triple or twin share basis (depending on ship berth configuration chosen)
    • Group transfer from the airport to the hotel on day 1 of itinerary
    • Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation
    • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
    • Specialist expedition staff
    • All shore excursions from the ship including the use of Zodiacs
    • Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
    • Medical services. There is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board (charges may apply)
    • Complimentary Polar Expedition Parka
    • Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise
    • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
    • Pre-departure information
    • Digital Voyage Log
    • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport or hotel in Reykjavik (directly after disembarkation)

    WEX-HOQ

    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions