We think Greenland is HOT right now for 3 reasons:
Global warming – Wildlife Programmes and media attention on the plight of polar bears and the rapidly receding Greenland ice cap.
Greenland High Pressure – In summer this often creates some great stable, sunny weather
Closer than Antarctica – A pristine wilderness almost on our doorstep
Hardcore Sea Voyage or Fjord Iceberg Dodging?
In 2017 Classic Sailing has two very different East Greenland Voyages. One would be the type of offshore sea journey that is on my bucket list as an experienced sailor and thrill seeker (Tecla). The other is ideal for those with limited time off or who love the great outdoors and want to trek amongst the mountains and glaciers of Greenland but prefer flat seas and still anchorages each night (Opal or Hildur).
There is limited space left on both types of trip in 2017, but we also have dates for 2018 (filling up fast) for OPTION 2
OPTION 1: Offshore Icebergs and Challenging Sailing
Tecla is a steel gaff ketch that has circumnavigated the globe, and last year they had an awesome time exploring the coast of Iceland. They are returning to North West Iceland this summer, and have two longer expeditions sailing across the Denmark Strait to Greenland, exploring Scorseby Sound for about a week and then sailing back to Iceland. This is a very affordable 3 week long way of experiencing the Arctic ecosystem, but the sailing will be challenging sailing as there are a lot of icebergs potentially on route as the Greenland current brings them down the coast. Once in the Scorseby Sound there are smaller glacier icebergs, winds are lighter and the seas are flat, so landing and trekking ashore is a treat.
Short on Time? – Greenland Expedition in 7 days
Wooden Schooners Opal and Hildur are our Greenland specialists, having offered this excellent circuit around Scorseby Sound since 2010. The difference is that these two ships base themselves in Scoreby Sound for the Arctic summer, and you fly out to join them from Iceland and fly back again.
Every day is action packed and scenically as good as exploring the Antarctic*, with trekking on bare rock and flower strewn tundra vegetation surrounded by mountains that are similar to the Dolomites or Patagonia, but with more glaciers.
Opal 7 day Greenland voyages on a three masted schooner that sleeps 12 – dates for 2017 and 2018
Hildur 7 day Greenland voyages on a two masted schooner that sleeps 10 – dates for 2017
More Huskies than Humans
If it is that popular, is it getting too popular? When I sailed in 2012 on schooner Hildur in Scorseby Sound, we never saw another human, boat or plane for 7 days and 350km of iceberg strewn fjord. The only village of Ittoqqortoormiit had almost more huskies than humans and it was hard to spot the shop (and it was shut) but we had a great meal as guests in the local fire chiefs house.
It has become a tourism success story due to an Icelandic family business that saw the sailing and trekking opportunities that Scoresby Sound could offer. They had tough wooden schooners based in Husavik, North Iceland, and they saw the potential to head North to the East Greenland coast and into the extensive Scoresby Sound as soon as the sea ice melted, and then keep their ships there for the summer. It started with one ship and 4 expeditions. They now offer their unique 7 day mini expeditions to intrepid guests a range of dates on three schooners.
You may cross bowsprits with Tecla or one of the other schooners on route, or spot a rare visiting yacht with mountaineers on board, but we think it unlikely you will be sharing remote anchorages with other humans once you leave the port of Ittoqqortoormiit.