This return sail Iceland to Greenland trip explores the Westfjords region including Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, a remote area without roads and inaccessible except by sail, foot or ski. This huge isolated, unspoiled area of tundra, cliffsides, flowering fields and ice is a nature lover's dream and perfect for those looking for a wilderness escape.
An extraordinary chance to sail between Iceland and Greenland (and back!) via the remote and beautiful Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
Isafjordur, the capital of the Westfjords lies safely behind a sand spit and is the start and end point for this amazing voyage.
There are no roads, making a boat, the only possible way into the reserve. The people who used to live here cultivated small pieces of land to support their cattle with hay during the darker months. And although during summer many birds and eggs where taken from the bird cliffs, fishing was the main in come for the people of the Hornstrandir area. After the abandonment, the flora slowly started to recover its former and original state. The now 260 flowering plants and ferns are a good summer hide out for the arctic foxes who made their own recovery. A hand full of houses abandoned and restored are the last reminder of the little civilization once present.
Setting of from Isafjordur you’ll enter a larger fjord system, The Isafjardarjup. At the center of all these fjords lies their maker. Like a spider in its web, the glacier Drangajokull is sitting at just under 1000 mtr and watches over its liquid counter parts below.
The glacier once covering the land trapped the volcanos below. In this way, the magma below the ice formed the table mountains, now iconic to the area. After the retreat of the glacier the fjords where carved and are still being shaped by the fury of the North Atlantic.
Drangajokull is no longer a calving glacier, and has terminal moraines at al its fjords. Making the navigation tricky at some spots. Depending on the weather and wind forcast you will shape your course with the permanent crew.
On the first day you’ll aim for Hornvik, the crown in the Hornstrandir nature reserve. Famous for the bird cliffs and of course the artic foxes!
Depending on the wind and ice state you’ll leave the next day to cross the Greenland Sund. This crossing will take 2 to 3 days. Scoresbysund is only accessible at a limited time in the summer due to the great amount of ice accumulating at the mouth of the fjord. This ice will determine the progress of most of your trip.
Once you’ve found your way into the fjord the group will clear-in at Ittoqutormiitt. Giving the crew time to investigate and explore this real Inuit settlement! The permanent crew will clear customs and get the ship ready for the next leg.
Milne Island lies in the middle and gives the group a lot of exploring options!
Under way keep a close watch for Narwhales who are a rare sight now a day. That afternoon we will anchor at Ankervik and visit the research center. The biologist are mapping the movement of the Narwhale assisted in their work by the local community of iniuits. Ankervik offers great day hikes for all levels with the opportunity of spotting Muskox and arctic foxes.
Next up is the Rode fjord named after the colour of the sandstone. This will prove to be an intensive day of navigating though the ice the glaciers dispose daily. You’ll anchor of one of the smaller Islands and enjoy the unforgettable views of the ice fields and colours changing from day to night time. Harefjord will be your destination for the next day. Harefjord is named after the abundance of arctic hare found on the hills. They sure are a sight!
Under way to Harefjord you will try to get up close to one of the glaciers were safety permits, for some good photographs. After spending the night at Harefjord you’ll set of for Rypefjord and its glacier.
In Rypefjord you can safely get close to one of these great glaciers on shore. There are also plenty of opportunities for day hikes suited for all levels to see the Muskox!
The next morning you’ll slide into Ofjord zigzagging through the ice field and taking in the sites. At the end of the fjord expect to see the rock formation “seals hand” pointing towards your anchorage at Bjorneoer.
One last stop on Milne Island, Charcothavn named after the famous French explorer. After this it is off to Ittoqoortormiit to clear out and spend the day in the village.
Depending on the state of the ice you’ll will make for Iceland and spent your last days cruising the Hornstrandir, visiting places like Heysterifjordur or Adelvik before ending the expedition in Isafjordur.
An expedition to remember!