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Thanks to a system of food deposits, we can enjoy about 170 km of independent kayaking in an almost unexplored wilderness before moving on to the Qaleralig glaciers, an amphitheater comparable only to the Perito Moreno in Patagonia. From there, we climb to the vicinity of the mythical Inlandis plateau, the second largest glacier in the world. Kayaking is possible even for inexperienced enthusiast thanks to the stability of our double kayaks: a two-week break from the world!
With permission from the Victorian Sea Kayak Club (www.vskc.org.au), Australia.
Original publication: Richard Rawling. “Greenland – Sea Kayaking Heaven”
Sea Trek #84 Winter/Spring 2015, 18-28.
Since we will be sailing in an area of calm water and because of the stability of our double kayaks, previous experience in kayaking is not required (although is recommended). However, given that this trip is more sports based than other expeditions, good overall physical condition is required as well as being aware of the effort involved.
Welcome at the airport by our english speaking guide and transfer by zodiac boat to the city of Narsaq. Once settled in our hostel off we go to our supply store to get kitted out with kayaks, paddles, clothing and navigation accessories. If conditions permit, we make first contact with water to get familiar with the use of the rudder. Dinner and overnight stay at the Kayak Hostel.
We start the journey crossing the great fjord of Narsaq, sailing among icebergs heading southwest toward Tuttutooq Island. The landscape is one of low mountains with waterfalls running into the sea and the constant presence of seals. We travel parallel to the coast, doing some trekking and sheltered by the islands until we reach the cabin of Ujaraq, a local fisherman. Depending on the weather and how the journey progresses, the guide will decide whether to circumnavigate Tuttutooq island or take the “shortcut” to the Qaleraliq fjord: carrying our kayaks over an isthmus for 400 meters and arriving at a point right across from the fjord that leads directly to the Qaleraliq glaciers, the Perito Moreno of the Arctic. Nights spent in a tent.
Firstly, we cross the wide Kerssuaq fjord, often plagued by ice and with luck visited by whales. We spend two days skirting the coast in a northeast direction through an area relatively unchartered by kayakers, approaching the mouth of the Torsukattak fjord and its islands until we reach the Qaleraliq Fjord. Nights spent in a tent.
The next stage is a beautiful 15 km sail along the cliffs before reaching the three gigantic Qaleraliq glaciers, the gateway to the 2,500 kilometers of icy plateau leading to the northern coast of Greenland. It goes without saying that the spectacle, seen and heard from our silent kayaks, is awesome… Still surprised by the intermittent roar of cracking or seracs collapsing into the sea, we set up camp on a sandy beach. After a break, we trek up to Lake Tasersuatsiaq, where we have a privileged view point of the infinite Inlandis or Greenlandic ice cap. We are in caribou, arctic fox and hare country. Night spent in a tent.
After breakfast and dismantling the tents, we sail to the end of the fjord, disembarking to enter the perpetual Inlandis ice-sheet. It is about four hours of hiking, enjoying the sights of the rimayas or large transverse cracks, as we reach the great moraine (mixture of ice and sediment) following our guide’s instructions. The return journey will take us back to our kayaks, where we set camp for the night. Night spent in a tent.
The easiest and probably the most spectacular day: we travel by kayak around all the Qaleraliq glaciers to set up camp on nearby Caribou Island. Night spent in a tent.
Once we backtrack Qaleraliq Fjord, we set sail in a north-eastern direction, circumnavigating the island of Akuliaruseq (also called caribou because of their presence there) to visit the two Naajaat Sermiat glaciers. This is the day we cover the most ground but by now our muscles are up to the challenge! Night spent in a tent.
Today we head towards Qingaarsuup Island, our second last objective. We camp next to a cabin and have an easy trek up to get a unique view of Inlandis and much of the route traveled during the previous days. By now we are already expert salmon fishermen and gatherers of mushrooms and wild blueberries (from August), tasty and rich in vitamin C. Night spent in a tent.
We will cross the Ikersuaq fjord towards Stephensen bay in the island of Tuttutooq. This was a inuit settlement called Manitsuarsuk. Ruins of the settlement can be seen. Our kayaking will continue towards Narsaq or we might be ending here and be transferred by boat to Narsaq. Accommodation in hostel.
Free time to visit Narsaq town: the museum, the inuit market, the church or the leather shop. Option of a small hike to nearby mountains.
Optional: Excursion to Qaqortoq town (125 €) and the norse ruins of Hvalsey Church (180 €)
Boat transfer to Qaqortoq, described as the most charming town in all Greenland. Time to take a stroll around the city, while you enjoy the beauty of its colourful buildings and the awe-inspiring landscapes. Explore on your own the museum, the fur shops, the traditional kayak club, the church or the only fountain in the country. Then, we will pursue our sailing from Qaqortoq to visit the best preserved norse ruins in Greenland. We sail past the large island of Arpatsivik, the norse “Hvalsey” or Whale Island, and into the Hvalseyfjördur, where the church ruins stand in a quiet and peaceful setting. In the afternoon, boat transfer way back to Narsaq.
Accommodation at the Kayak Hostel in Narsaq.
Boat transfer from Narsaq to Narsarsuaq, where we have time to walk around in the area or visit the Bluie West One museum, US militay base frozen in time since the Second World War. Also it is possible to enjoy a unforgettable helicopter flight over viewing the South Greenland’s fjord system surrounded by the polar ice cap. This is a 32 minutes flight with a 30 minutes ground stop on a fantastic and unique view point, very close to the ice cap. Price: 2.980 DKK (400 €) per person (minimum 4 participants). The helicopter trip depends upon availability of air craft. Need to be reserved with some days in advance.
Flight Narsarsuaq-Keflavik (Iceland international airport) or Copenhaguen.
2,395 € (17.846 DKK) from Keflavik (Iceland)
2, 695 € (20.082 DKK) from Copenhagen
Departures from Keflavik and Copenhagen
27th June – 11th July
13th – 27th July
01st – 15th August
17th – 31st August
29th August – 12th September
Registration date: Up to 60 days before the journey’s departure date.
Registration after that date: Depending on flight availability.
Reservation: 40% deposit of the total price, excluding airport taxes.
What it’s included:
What it’s not included:
* We recommend you confirm Optional Excursions in advance before arriving in Greenland.