This sail expedition from Iceland to East and South Greenland trip is an epic mix of blue water and coastal sailing with lots of exploring ashore.
An extraordinary chance to sail between Iceland and East and South Greenland mixing blue water and coastal sailing with wild beautiful nature.
Set sail for Greenland. A spectacular voyage to East Greenland on a family run tall ship where you are the guest crew. No experience needed.
Leaving the land of ice and fire you’ll set of into the Greenland Sund. This is the stretch of water between Iceland and Greenland. A persistent fog bank will most likely state the border between these two worlds. When it lifts the first icebergs will be seen on the horizon. Depending on the weather you’ll find a place to make landfall.
The East coast of Greenland is wild and rugged. It is mostly uninhabited and due to pack ice brought down by the East Greenland Current, it is only accessible by boat for as long as the short summer lasts.
The nutritious waters around Greenland attract many sea mammals as well as birds. The many types of whales all come to feast on the krill and plankton. Ashore and on the pack ice, the king of the Arctic can be found. The polar bear hunts for seal and tracks the shorelines in search of a meal.
Greenland is home to the Inuit. Traditionally a nomadic people, making a living from hunting seal on the ice, and whales and birds from their sleek kayaks. In summer the tribes set out to their summer camps to hunt for Muskoxen and fish for Arctic Char. Making the most of the summer sun, with days that never seem to end.
Tasiilaq will most likely be your first land fall. Its colourful village offers a good example of modern-day Inuit live. The ‘day-hikes’ around the village are superb and soon make us want to set off into its dramatic scenery. The Ammassalik area is excellent cruising and very scenic. The ice chocked fjords make for some challenging navigation as do the narrow inlets and Island. There are hikes and some more serious rock scrambling for all levels of competence.
As you set of into the Greenland Sund the captain will pick one of the many secluded anchorages along the coast and fjords. The East Coast of Greenland is largely empty of people. One can go days without seeing another person. Wild live and unsoiled scenery on the other hand are abandoned! Your next highlight will be Ikerasassuaq, Prins Christian Sund. Mountains of over 1500 mtr rise on both sides. This narrow fjord connects West and East Greenland by an inner water way. If the fjord is not blocked by ice it is possible to take this inshore passage in to Viking country on the West coast.
As the Thule Inuit started to arrive in North West Greenland, the Viking Norsemen started to colonize the South West. Their brief stay in Greenland has puzzled historians for centuries. One thing was for sure, they were not as well prepared or ready to adapt to the harsh climate as the contemporary Inuit. An Iceland bound ship in the year AD 930 under the command of Norseman Gunnbjorn Ulfsson got blown of course and sighted the Skieries near modern day Tasiilaq. Unable (or not willing to…) land he quickly turned around and made a safe landfall in Iceland. It was not until AD 982 the famous red-haired Erik made a successful trip to the South West coast.
Chased out of Iceland by a blood feud he was keen to find a land of his own. Brattahlid (Qassiarsuk), at the head of the fjord, became the first building site of a Viking long house. On a return trip to Iceland, Erik turned one of the biggest selling campaigns ever into a huge success. He called the promised land Greenland. On arrival, the ships that did make the return passage with Erik, found that Greenland was not as green as promised. However, it was not long before the fjords where littered with small farms. The area became known as the Eastern Settlement, as later colonist settled in the area behind Nuuk, calling it the Western Settlement. The last contact with one of the colonies was from an Icelander who attended a wedding at Hvalsey.
As you travel North using the many inshore passages, the crew will aim for Brattahlid, Erik the Red’s farmstead. The rebuilt hall and church are more than worth the sail up the fjord. On our way there, a stop at Ikigait (Herjolfnes) might be possible. This is another fine archaeological site. Remains of an old hall are still visible as is the green pasture. The highlight of the Western Settlement might be a visit to the old Norse church, Hvalsey. Its walls are still standing after more than 6 centuries. After having taken in all these sights, a cooldown in one of the nearby hot springs might be the right thing to do.
The last part of your trip winds through the inshore passages and fjords that don’t seem to end.
The Scandinavian names date back to the Danish time. During this period most of the country was shut off from the outside world. It was not until the 1930’s, the curtain started to lift. The warmer water on the West coast of Greenland keeps it relatively free of ice and this is a big contrast to the East coast. All the little colourful settlements are busy with life during the summer months. Friendly faces come to enquire after our intentions and invite us to come ashore. Inuit life evolves around fishing, hunting and trading. It’s a special thing to be part of this even for a brief moment.
Ending the trip in Nuuk it might be worth staying one or two days longer. This bright little capital has many sights to offer. The national museum is well worth the visit. It has a great exhibition on the Thule and Dorset People. The hikes around the city are numerus and rewarding.
An expedition to remember!
Why you'll love this adventure
- Explore this remote unspoilt region on a small sailing ship
- Great combination of sailing, hiking and relaxing
- Perfect sailing expedition for those looking for a wilderness escape
11 July 2024
25 July 2024
This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.
Day 1 : Welcome on board in Reykjavik, at 18:00 local time. First evening will be spend with introductions, to the crew, the expedition members and to safety on board.
Day 2 : Set along the Icelandic coast.
Day 3-7 : Sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the east coast of Greenland.
Day 8-11 :Explore the East Coast of Greenland
Day 12-13 : Explore the South Coast of Greenland
Day 14 : Make for Nuuk.
Day 15 : Disembark in the harbour of Nuuk at 10:00 local time.
- Accommodation in a 2 person (shared) cabin, ensuite
- All meals
- Coffee and tea
- Blanket, sheets, pillow and covers
- 3-4 crew members guiding the group
- Soda and alcoholic drinks
- Paid excursions ashore
- Transfer to and from the vessel
- Visa if needed
The boat has 2 person cabins. If travelling alone you’ll be paired up with someone to share with. If traveling as two you can choose to share a cabin together. The cabins on board have a small sink, an ensuite toilet and shower and enough space to store your luggage.
The living area is a shared kitchen / common room where you can get cosy on the couch reading a book, or play a game with your fellow travellers.
On board the crew we do not work with a set menu but take influences from the surroundings. We try and cook with as many local fresh products as possible, this means that around the Canary Islands we eat a lot of tapas, peppers, plantanas (banana’s). In Brazil we eat a lot of fresh fruit, cow meat and rice. And around the North Sea, when it gets colder you will find some ‘stamppot’ (Dutch mashes potatoes specialty) with smoked sausage on your plate.
During a longer stay on board you will hardly ever see the same dish come by. Most of our meals are served with a salad or fruit on the side. During longer trips we take good care of our vegetables and fruit to ensure that you will enjoy fresh food as long as possible.
If you have an allergy or cannot eat certain food, please contact us with your dietary concerns. We provide a healthy menu were you will have enough choice.
We do not provide a vegan diet and on certain voyages we do not provide a lactose intolerant or gluten free diet.
We do provide sweet, savory, hot and sometimes somewhat fat delicious food, but there is always a healthy choice next to it 🙂
Who is this trip for?
- All ages
- All nationalities
- All levels of sailing experience (even if you have never sailed before, this can be an amazing voyage!)
This small piece of the land of ice and fire gives you so much beauty and respect for nature. Sailing on a relatively small boat, you’ll move quietly along the shores, exploring, discovering and rediscovering a coastline with so much to offer.
What is the language spoken on board?
The language spoken on board is English. The crew on board does speak Dutch, English and German.
I am traveling with someone. Can we book the same room?
Yes, as long as there are two person rooms available, you can book your voyage on board and say you are traveling with someone. You will be placed in the same room.
What kind of clothes do I need?
The ship does not provide sailing clothes on board, so you’ll have to bring your own waterproof clothing. This does not have to be a sailing suite, waterproof and warm clothing will suffice. Please be prepared for some rainy days, but also for some sunny days
Do I need prior sailing experience?
No – all are welcome to experience life on board a classic sailing tall ship and learn the traditional skills along the way. It’s a hands on sailing adventure so although sailing experience isn’t expected a willingness to be involved and take part is.
An old Herring drifter (Logger) built in 1915, the ship is 28 meters long over deck (38 meters overall) and takes 16 trainees on her voyages. No previous sailing experience is needed and experienced and new sailors love her equally.
A family of four professional sailors have owned and run this vessel since 2006 and sail her with true passion. Built for the North Sea she’s a fast sailor and her rigging is as traditional as it gets.
We love that the boat’s appearance is kept as traditional as possible yet combined with modern techniques and equipment. Everyone on board is part of the informal sail training program that is designed to get the best out of everyone whether you join for 2 days or a longer ocean crossing.
On September 13th she and her crew were the first traditional sailing ship to complete the North West Passage after Roald Admundsen with his ship Goya in 2013.
Sail Iceland to East and South Greenland
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