Forbidden Coast,
Wild East Greenland

4,950 EUR / £4,214 per person*

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*Trips are priced in the operator’s local currency. The sterling amount shown is a guide only and the amount you pay in sterling will change with currency fluctuations.

14 nights

Open to beginner sailors, this sailing expedition visits an area of true wilderness in the Arctic. Jaw-dropping coastlines, glaciers and icebergs are all around, whales and dolphins a probability, polar bears a possibility and a rare and life-affirming adventure holiday an absolute certainty.



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VESSEL

Vessel Type

Clipper 60

Vessel Length

60 feet

Skipper

Yes

Berth

10 guest bunks (single)

YOUR TRIP

Deposit and cancellation:

50% and strict

See deposit and cancellations policy

Included

  • 15 days (14 nights) on a yacht
  • Sailing instruction
  • Services of guides and crew
  • Guided walks and land excursions
  • Guided paddling in sea kayaks amongst the fjords
  • Use of stand up paddle boards (SUP)
  • Use of wet weather sailing clothing
  • All meals for the duration of the trip.

Additional

  • Flights not included.
  • Alcohol is not provided but you can bring your own. Consumption is always at the discretion of the skipper.

Practical Info

Open to beginner sailors.

A good level of fitness is recommended.

GETTING THERE (AND BACK)

Getting there

Internal flights to Isafjöròur from Reykjavik.

Getting back

Fly to Reykjavík from Kulusuk.

It is also possible to hire a car and drive from Reykjavik.

Travel assistance

Need help booking travel and accommodation for your trip? We have teamed up with STA Travel. Their experts will assist you with all your travel requirements. Please enquire when booking.

ITINERARY

Forbidden Coast

An Expedition to the wildest and most challenging part of East Greenland

70°17N 21°.42W

Join at Ísafjörður, Iceland

Leave from Kulusuk, Greenland

Trip Profile

An expedition to the wildest and most challenging part of East Greenland. Only 3,500 people, scattered among small towns and settlements, inhabit its 2,600 kilometres of stunning coastline. This is the Arctic with all its breathtaking beauty and striking scenery.

The stretch of coast between the Ammassalik area and Scoresby Sound is considered to be one of Greenland’s most challenging and foreboding. The mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers expel large quantities of ice. Here are the highest mountains in the Arctic with some of the longest and most ice-filled fjords. This is the polar bear and narwhals dominion. A place that only a few hardy adventurers in the annals of Arctic exploration have ever deigned to challenge.

Aurora-Arktika has been exploring this majestic area for many years. Each year it undertakes exclusive expeditions to this spectacular place with only a few seats available. This is true exploration—the final itinerary only gets decided upon after setting sail from Ísafjörður harbour. We take into account weather and sea-ice conditions and always look for the best possible option. What is assured is that each trip will be a little bit different and we will try to visit at least one “new” place every trip. The following description gives an idea of what your trip may include.

We will sail from Ísafjörður on the northwest coast of Iceland on the sturdy expedition sailboat, across the Denmark Strait and make landfall on the southern edge of the Blosseville coast. From here we will journey south to the Ammassalik area and visit such magnificent locations as Nansen Fjord, Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, Nigertuluk and Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord. Each night we will secure a safe anchorage and there will be ample opportunities to explore on foot or by kayak. The trip will conclude in the village of Kulusuk where our guests will catch their flight back to Reykjavík. This is an expedition, suitable for anyone in search of a true adventure off the beaten path.

The sailboat is a 60-foot expedition vessel that can accommodate 12 people – 10 guests and 2 crewmen. It serves as our movable ‘backcountry hut’ and awaits us at the end of each day’s excursions with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.

Weather

The short summer in Eastern Greenland can exhibit all kinds of weather — most of which is governed by the warm gulf current between Iceland and Eastern Greenland. The weather pattern is an unpredictable mixture of marine low-pressure systems mixed with the more stable high-pressure inland climate (generated by the immense, cold Greenland icecap). The temperatures range from 0 to 15 degrees Celsius. In other words, you should prepare for sunshine as well as showers. Winds can shift quickly and we might experience the ferociously katabatic Piteraq hurricanes (very rare, but nonetheless possible). Given the area’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, while it´s a bit early in the season it may still be possible to see the Northern Lights at night.

Wildlife in Greenland

East Greenland is the homeland of polar bears. We will take measures to stay away from these beautiful animals, and view them from a safe distance, if spotted. It is advisable not to go for a walk alone or without letting the guide know. The waters are teeming with various species of seals and whales. On land we may meet the Arctic fox as well as various species of birds.

Day to day programme

Day 1

We depart from Ísafjörður at 7pm, weather permitting.  Crossing the Denmark Strait takes approximately 32 hours. If the weather is not in our favour, or the sea-ice conditions difficult, we will delay our crossing and shelter in the beautiful fjords of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve where we will do some hiking and/or kayaking.

Day 2

Crossing the Denmark Strait. During the afternoon, we should start glimpsing the mountains of Greenland. We will keep a watchful eye for icebergs that are always present in this area. Dolphins and whales are likely to be riding our bow wake.

Day 3

Arrive in Greenland in the early morning. We will attempt landfall at Søkongen Island on the south side of Nansen Fjord. The great Christian IV Glacier calves into Nansen Fjord which is often full of icebergs. This is a prime area for polar bears and we will keep a vigilant eye. The Watkins Mountains and the highest peak in the Arctic – Gunnbjørnsfjeld (3693 m) – line the horizon. Depending on the ice conditions we will attempt to find an anchorage here for the night.

Day 4-5: Mikis Fjord

We will sail to Mikis Fjord and anchor. There will be an option to hike into the flower-filled Sødalen Valley and perhaps search for gold and platinum in the creeks and rivers of the Skærgård intrusion (the minerals were only discovered a few years ago by a geological expedition). Long abandoned Inuit ruins exist in Mikis Fjord, alluding to a time when the Dorset culture populated the northeast coast.

Day 6: Kangerdlussuaq Fjord

We continue our journey to the great Kangerlugssuaq Fjord (‘big fjord’). Aurora will anchor in Suhaili Bugt. This is a very sheltered anchorage where Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe) and Sir Chris Bonington (Britain’s best-known mountaineer and one of the most successful expedition leaders in history) anchored their vessel, the Suhaili, during their attempt to climb the Cathedral Peak in 1991. This will be our base camp for the following few days.

Day 7-9

In Kangerdlussuaq Fjord we have plenty of options for hikes, climbs, and kayak-tours. We can paddle over to the abandoned Skærgård Inuit settlement and explore the Uttendal Sound towards the ice-filled Watkins Fjord. We can also hike in the hills of Kræmer Island where there are fantastic vistas of the surrounding fjords, mountains and glaciers.

To the Ammassalik people, Kangerdlugssuaq has always been regarded as an especially rich hunting ground – a kind of Arctic Shangri-La that can only be reached in small skiffs after great difficulty. Modern-day attempts to colonise Kangerdlugssuaq date from 1966, when several families from Tasiilaq over-wintered in the remains of an abandoned American weather station and its expedition houses, constructed in the 1930s. The families reported a very good hunting season: 35 polar bears, 62 narwhals and some 2,100 seals! But, because of the daunting access to the area, colonisation attempts were abandoned and Kangerdlugssuaq was left to revert once again to an exceptional wilderness.

The Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord is bar-none the wildest coastal landscape in Greenland. The Lemon Mountain Range – one of Greenland’s highest — lies just north of the fjord. The compact alpine peaks of this vast mountain range offer endless opportunities for mountaineering, with many unclimbed peaks towering to 2,600 metres. In addition, the Lindbergh Range sits just 50 to 80km north and east of Mikis Fjord, exhibiting myriad unclimbed peaks that rise to 3,200 meters and offering magnificent views over the immense Greenland Ice Cap. Further west are the Kangerdlugssuaq Mountains, an expansive realm of alpine granite and gneiss peaks that exceed 2,600 meters. This range comprises of the single largest region of unclimbed summits in Greenland. To the northeast are the Watkins Mountains and GunnbjornsFjeld (3,693m), the highest peak in the Arctic. In all, this range consists of the 10 tallest mountains in the High Arctic—a stunning collection of peaks virtually unknown to the outside world.

Day 10

We will leave Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord and make our passage south. This area is described in the British Admiralty Arctic Pilot as follows: ‘The stretch of coast between Kap SM Jørgensen and KapDeichmann, 90 miles NE, is considered one of the most difficult in Greenland; the mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers discharge quantities of ice, while numerous off-lying islets and rocks make navigation hazardous.’

Day 11: Nigertuluk Fjord

On our route south, we will explore new areas before entering Nigertuluk Fjord. Here are two spectacular calving glaciers, a sandy beach, and a tranquil mountain lake. All in all, this is a fantastic playground for hiking and kayaking.

Day 12: Kangertigtivatsiaq fjord

Today, we sail across Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord which was described by Chapman of the British Arctic Air Route expedition of 1930-1931: ‘The scenery here was magnificent. A short branch fjord to the N terminated in a huge glacier, while the longer main fjord was flanked by great needle-peaked mountains, between 1,800 – 2,000 m high. There are hanging glaciers precariously balanced on the steep hillsides and other glaciers coming right down to the sea. At the head of the fjord, away in the distance, was a superb pinnacled mountain, reminiscent of St Paul´s Cathedral; this was Ingolfsfjeld.’

We will anchor overnight in Storø.

Day 13: Storø to Smalsund – Sermiligaq

Our journey continues as we sail further south into the remote and little-explored territory of Depot Sound. We will pass the Idrac Glacier, Fladøerne Island and Smalsund, and will anchor overnight in Sermiligaq.

Day 14: Sermiligaq to Kulusuk

We will sail further into Sermiligaq Fjord and enter the stunning IkasaqSound. We will make a short stop at the abandoned WW2 military base of Bluie East 2. From here we will continue our passage to Ammassalik Fjord and anchor adjacent to Kulusuk village in the afternoon.

Day 15: Kulusuk

We will go ashore and visit the village of Kulusuk. Here, our expedition concludes, with guests departing to catch their flights back to Iceland or continue onwards on their own further explorations of Greenland.

KIT LIST

Sailing boots

Trainers/ deck shoes (no black soled shoes please – they mark the deck)

Waterproof sailing kit (two sets are recommended. Heavy gear for on-board and lighter kit for trips ashore)

Hat

Balaklava

Sailing gloves – 2 sets

Glove liners

Hand warmers

Hot water bottle

Clothes for on-board and on shore

A small backpack for trips on-shore (30-40 litres)

A water bottle

Thermals, two sets

Thick socks, two sets

Sun glasses (polarized)

Sun cream – SPF50+

Small quick dry towel

Swimming kit

USB cord to charge your phone

Cash

Warm sleeping bag

Head torch

Sailing knife

Passport

Printed out Insurance details

Any medication you require

INSURANCE

Specialist off-shore sailing insurance is required. We can direct you to the insurer we use. Ask for information when you enquire.

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LOCATION

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