Tuesday 30 June 2015

Camp Frieda

Again, we experience nice weather. A little bit more overcast than yesterday but it is still sunny and not windy.
We arrived one hour later than it was planned. The southern part of the narrow strait between the Disco Island and the Nuussuaq Peninsula called Vaigat was and still is full of icebergs and there are even more in its entrance of the village of Saqqaq. Fram could sail only with low speed through this icefield. Thus we have this delay.

We started our operation at 9.00 am. Kayakers went out first, followed by the ice cruisers in this beautiful weather.

Then all other passengers are brought ashore for a nature adventure in the Camp Frieda, a nice glacier valley east of Saqqaq. They could enjoy the tundra and hikes through the nature. Some very fit passenger succeeded in reaching the glacier front and being back in time for the last Polar Circle Boat at 13.00 pm.

Back on board a nice BBQ was waiting for us at deck seven. The sky offers us a wonderful halo around the sun.
Fram sailed for our afternoon expedition. In the meantime we had some lectures.
At 17.00 we reached the northern part of the Disco Bay and sailed into another big ice field. There wasn’t possibility to go further north through the Ata Sound to reach the Eqip Sermia. The Captain and the expedition leader decided to offer another ice cruising with boats also to go into the ice with our ship. Everybody can enjoy the nice scenery of an ice covered sea sitting comfortable in a chair on deck or in the Observation Lounge.

When the ice cruisers were back we started heading to Ilulissat. Again, we had to fight through a sea full of icebergs of all sizes. Fortunately Ilulissat is not very far and the weather is very enjoyable. 

Monday 29 June 2015


Obviously the Fram is travelling in a stable high pressure system. The weather is still brilliant and the sea is still calm like a lake.
We arrived to Upernavik at 8.30 am and the Fram stayed at anchor. Soon after the passengers were taken ashore by the Polar Circle Boats. They started to explore the town especially the old part with the church and the museum and some visited the Workshop where the arts and crafts are made like jewellery.

A Folklore Show starts at 11.00 am in the local Sport Hall, which was very enjoyable.
After lunch two local hunters came on board Fram to tell about “Polar Bear Hunting”. The people in Greenland have still the allowance for hunting a small amount of Polar Bears, and Polar Bear Hunting is an important part of their traditional culture.
The Fram left Upernavik at 16.00.
 During the late afternoon our lecturers gave presentations about “Who owns the Arctic” and Ice on Greenland and in Greenlandic waters.

Finally we had a Recap with the Expedition Team in the evening where many questions were asked. The expedition leader gave a short preview for our activities for the next destination. We changed our program and did a landing in a glacier valley instead of visiting the old ghost town of the coalmine of Qullissat. After lunch there were a true expedition afternoon for our guests. We cannot sail to Equip Sermia due to the ice condition. After that preview, we had a discussion about differences in lifestyle between “European” and “Polar” cultures in the observation lounge. 
Scenic view from Upernavik

Upernavik Museum 

Local children in Upernavik nearby the harbour

Sunday 28 June 2015

Enjoyable settlement and incredible scenic

The weather situation seems to turn into a miracle! We had incredible good weather again today. The sea is smooth like a mirror surrounded by scenic cliffs and mountains and above all a blue sky with some clouds.
At 8.30 am the Fram arrives to Illorsuit. Fortunately we could land because the sea ice disappeared a few days ago and only a few relics of it's still floating in the bay. The polar Circle Boats bring us ashore. It was a little bit quiet in the settlement as we have Sunday. Most of the people are still sleeping and some of our guests visits the tiny church. After 10.00 pm the village was more crowded.
We enjoyed an agreeable walk through the settlement, we could have a look into the church and proceed to the cemetery and into the hills in the vicinity of the village.
We enjoyed the first tundra flowers and the scenic view over the ice covered sea into the surrounding mountains with glacier valleys.
At lunchtime the Fram setted to sail to our next destination. But she stops short after because we saw a Bowhead Whale! The Bowhead Whales are one of the most seldom whales and very endangered like Right Whales. It is a great luck to be able to observe them on this trip. The presentations about Glaciology and the History of Greenland were postponed too.

Soon after we sailed our way to Upernavik. The sun was still brightly shining and the bay was full of icebergs. Therefore we decided to try an Ice Cruising, as we did not in the morning, because there weren't any big icebergs in the vicinity of Illorsuit. This Ice cruising is very exciting, the boats drove close to spectacular icebergs and the group finds a huge ice field of leftover sea ice from the last winter. On the way back to the Fram they discovered a group of seals.
Nevertheless we could not stayed there forever and finally we continued our way to Upernavik through the still breath taking landscape. Another marvellous day came to its end.
Bowhead Whale in Svartenhuk (Sigguup nuua) bay nearby Illorsuit

Kayaking in Illorsuit in this wonderful sea and landscape

View of Illorsuit from the Heliport

Village and unlimited visibility

Yesterday we thought that it could not be better but, today we realise that it can be better. The weather is perfect with blue sky and some clouds. The waters around Uummannaq was full of Icebergs in all sizes and surrounded by steep cliffs and high mountains.
The bright morning sun illuminates the whole scenery.
We arrive at 10.00 and start the shuttle with our Polar Circle Boats to bring our passengers into the settlement.
At 11.00 the passengers taking to the Talk with the Local People are set ashore.
After lunch we start the first the boat excursion to Qilakitsoq and the ice cruising. Then the Hike to Santa's Cabin follows. This cabin was build by the Danish Television for a Christmas series about Santa for children. Unfortunately inside the hut was not tidy and had destroyed part of the interior of the hut.
At 16.30 everybody is back on the ship and we leave Uummannaq for our destination for the evening Ukkusissat.
Before Fram arrives to Ukkusissat we had to struggle through a large icefield filled with small icebergs and lots of crashed ice and mixed with relics of sea ice from the last winter. It took its time but it is a spectacular happening to see the Fram moving slowly and carefully through the ice illuminated by the brilliant evening sun. We arrived at 19.45 and some villagers of all different ages come on board to Fram for a lively “modern” singing and traditional dancing presentation. At the end some passengers are also involved in dancing.

This interesting day ends with a short visit of the Village and the exciting struggle back through the ice which our Captain was able to sail through. 

Here are some pictures we would like to show you some pictures of the day

Inside the turf hut in Uummannaq

A little breeze in this beautiful weather that kept mosquito's away

Local kids in Uummannaq 

Friday 26 June 2015

Welcoming and warm Qasigiannguit

Again another perfect day! Cloudless sky and brilliant sunshine!
At 8.30 am we enter the small bay of Qasigiannguit and go along side the small pier of the town. The Fram is twice as long as the pier, but our Captain manages squeeze the Fram along side-side the pier at 9.00 am.
At 9.30 the Kayak Adventure group departs for a kayak tour in the waters around Qasigiannguit. The calm sea and the brilliant sunshine are perfect conditions for successful kayaking in the grand scenery with rocky islands, narrow channels in between and icebergs.
At the same time the first group of the Ice Cruisers boarded the big Polar Circle Boats and started the trip through the narrow channels between the islands, along big and small Icebergs and into open waters. The first group was lucky to see whales but they dived for a very long time and they re appeared far from the boats.

Most of our passengers enjoyed a walk in town. They visited the small but very nice and interesting museums about Greenlandic life, history of the community and the archaeology of the region. In the vicinity of Qasigiannguit one of the oldest settlements of Greenland was discovered and excavated. This settlement belongs to the Saqqaq-Cultures approximately 3500 years old. Material of this old culture is exhibited in the archaeological museum.
Some passengers walked out of town and enjoyed the nice landscape and a scenic lake.
At 13.30 the manager of the local fish factory visited the Fram together with two workers and gave a talk about the fish factory and answer questions of interested passengers. The factory of Qasigiannguit is the biggest fish factory of Greenland mostly processing halibut and salmon. The factory staff brought several types of Greenlandic fish specialities for tasting with them.
At 15.00 the Fram departed Qasigiannguit. An hour later we had lectures about landscape photography and Tundra vegetation.

At 17.00 the Fram sailed into the Ilulisat Icefield, which is produced by the Ilulisat Glaciers, the most active Glacier in Greenland. This Glacier and the Ilulisat Icefjord is a Unesco World Nature Heritage site.
After an hour impressive cruising in the ice-field the Fram had to leave it because as our captain says: ”The quickest way to go through an icefield is to surround it”.

Thus we make our way along the icefield to be in time at Uummannaq our next destination.
Children from kindergarten welcoming our guests to Qasigiannguit

Local people showing "The living settlement" nearby the lake in Qasigiannguit where they also cooked whale meat for tasting and sewing sealskin to show how Inuit lived. 

Thursday 25 June 2015

Nature and wildlife in Disco island

The sea is very calm and allows the Fram to sail into the sheltered Bay of Qeqertarsuaq.
The weather is nearly perfect. We can enjoy a sunny sky with some stripes of high icy clouds. These perfect conditions continue the whole day.
All our activities can be done under this nice weather conditions.

The Fram set anchor at 8.30 am and soon after the group for a hike to Blæsedalen starts followed by a smaller group of people interested in a City Walk in Qeqertarsuaq.
After that a group of 21 passengers sat down in two big Polar Circle Boat for an Ice and Whaling Cruise in the waters around Qeqertarsuaq.
Huge Icebergs most of them coming from the other side of the Disco Bay originating from the very active Ilulissat Glacier are stranded in the shallow waters around Disco Island. Our Polar Circle Boats can go quite close to them and all participants have the opportunity for a nice iceberg photo.
Luckily also some whales appear and feed upon small silvery fishes. Hundreds of photos are taken as the whales coming very close to the boats.

The afternoon group is lucky as well and encounters the same perfect conditions.
Also the afternoon hikers to Blæsdalen and the group for the hike to the Basaltic rocks at the steep cliffs of south east coast of Disco Island profit from the nice sunny weather and can enjoy the grand scenery of the volcanic rocks together with the beginning of the blooming of the beautiful tundra flowers.
At 17.30 everybody is back on board the Fram as we plan to set sail at 18.00 to our next destination Qasigiannguit. The weather and the situation are favourable to stay longer as Qasigiannguit is close by. We set sail at 19.00 and when we are outside the Bay of Qeqertarsuaq we saw again some whales and decide to make another Ice and Whale Cruising.
The captain sails very close to the steep cliffs east of Qeqertarsuaq and we can see the suite of basaltic rocks building up the cliffs. Some of the whales come close to the ship and we observe them from the outer decks.

The Ice and Whale Cruising comes to an end at 22.00 and we set sail for Qasigiannguit.

Arctic Circle and baptism in Sisimiut

In the morning the Fram was still on her way to Sisimiut. The weather changed. It is now overcast sometimes a little bit of rain and quite colder than yesterday when she left Kangerlussuaq.
After breakfast there were talks about our route, optional excursions and AECO and Safety instructions.
At about 10.30 am  Neptune visit our ship to baptise all, who cross the arctic circle for the first time. Fram crossed the arctic circle during the night.
Most of our passengers have an early lunch as the activities began already at 11.30 am.
First of all the boat trips to Assaqutaq started, followed by the hikers to the Palasip Qaqqaa.
Next are the participants of the two City Tours by bus.
Only the passengers who like to make knowledge with the Taste of Greenland do not need to hurry because they will be well supplied with greenlandic food.
After all these activities the Welcome dinner onboard is very much appreciated.

At the end of this day the Captain welcome all passengers and introduces his staff also the expedition staff.
Sledge dog puppy in Sisimiut

Art and crafts workshop nearby the harbour 

Kayak demonstration by Emaanooraq, the champion in kayak rolls in Sisimiut

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Greenland welcomes us with brilliant sunshine

Greenland welcomes us in Kangerlussuaq with brilliant sunshine and some nice clouds in the sky.  This weather is typical for Kangerlussuaq as is lies far inland and has a somehow continental climate. That is the reason it became the biggest Airport in Greenland. 
Our luggage is taken into a container and transported to the Harbour. The  passengers follow in buses and the Polar circle boats bring them onbord.
The planned schedule is a little bit out of order as the flight from Copenhagen has some hours delay. The last passengers arrive around 6.oo pm and soon after being in their cabins they have to participate in the mandatory safety drill.

Finally they can enjoy their first dinner onbord the Fram and after dinner the splendid scenery of the Söndre  Stromfjord with high cliffs build up by old Precambrian rocks cut by basaltic dykes and nicely polished by glaciers during the Ice Age.

Later we pass by glaciers coming down in their valleys.

Monday 22 June 2015

The word of the day: "The last"

It was really hard to leave Ilulissat, the town of the icebergs. Many guests used their last opportunity to see the large icebergs, passing by in the midnight sun. The reflections in the sea were marvellous as we had no wind. Nobody knows how many pictures were shot during our last night in the ice. We were heading south during the night and when we woke up in the morning we recognized that we left the sunny weather behind. But especially during the morning we were so busy that it was not so important for us. Perhaps it was even good that we had some dark clouds, they made it for us a bit easier to be prepared to say good bye to Greenland.

In the morning we had our last lectures, last bridge visits and last informations about our flights home. As we had a last landing in the afternoon many passengers started packing to be ready for Itilleq, our last destination of our cruise.

Itilleq is a very small fishing community app. 50km south of Sisimiut. The settlement was founded as a trade station in the 18th century. Today there are living app. 100 inhabitants in small and colourful houses. 

We were greeted by the children at the pier and we got the possibility for a nice Kaffemik (coffee klatsch) in private houses during our stay. What a wonderful personal experience! 

Some of our guests used the last opportunity for a kayak trip or a fishing adventure with our officers. Look at the pictures and you will see how successful they were. Most of the caught fish was cod, Fjord cod and the Atlantic cod.

But our last highlight of our Greenland experience was perhaps the soccer match between MS FRAM and Itilleq. Everybody felt young again and even though we lost (like nearly always), it was an unforgettable sport event.

Back on board we were invited by our captain for a Farewell cocktail. Later on we had a special auction for the "Association for Greenlandic Children". Next to the Hurtigruten flag and the chart we got the possibility to vote for a special log book done by our captain. All his morning announcements, ice charts, weather forecasts and so on have been collected with all his personal notes. We say "thank you" in the name of all Greenlandic kids who will profit of your donations. 

Around 08:00pm we sailed into the Kangerlussuaq fjord. Here we could see our last glaciers. It was nice to sit a last time in the bar for a last drink and a last small talk with other guests before we went to bed for our last night on board our lovely lady MV FRAM.