Autumn adventure along the Arctic Circle, Part 1

You know you’re in one of the best jobs on Earth when… it sends you to guide international agents through 200 km of the Arctic Circle from ice cap to coastline. It was a five-day adventure that (almost) made me and the 7 agents forget we were working! Read about my extended weekend of new experiences here.

In mid-September 2017, on home turf, Greenland hosted Vestnorden Travel Mart, a trade show to connect international travel specialists with the three North Atlantic destinations: the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. One immersive and extremely important part of this trade show is the pre-tours that take place in the days before all the meetings. No suits or formal handshakes here. Agents get into their travel element and have the exact same adventurous and fun tourist experience that their guests will have in the future. Together with local partners, Visit Greenland planned and sponsored these pre-tours, and hence, my guiding 🙂 

Autumn is such a nice time of year to be outside. Though there are no piles of fallen leaves to crunch through and kick up, the changing colours of the mountain alder and Arctic thyme to yellow and red hues are more than #fallyall Insta-worthy. Usually there’s already been a few snows at the higher altitudes, and the snow-capped mountains just add to the whistfullness of the landscape.

And into the inland autumn wonderland that is Kangerlussuaq is exactly how we started the long weekend.

HIKING THROUGH MUSKOX COUNTRY

Nini Frydkjær Holstebro, owner of the little boutique called ByHeart, led us on a narrow pathway trodden not by backpackers but by – get this – muskox. Her voice is calm and soothing, and I could instantly tell she is every bit the ‘beautiful soul’ I have heard her described as before. As we walked, she showed her true colours as a modern-day gatherer, describing in detail the homeopathic uses of different herbs, including which ones work best in cookies. I, for one, took notes!

Following Nini off-track to investigate an area just over the hill paid off. After a few hours we found a blended herd of muskox bulls and females with their calves. At first we counted 5 or 6 animals, but in time, ‘rocks’ came alive and turned out to be little ones hunkered down!

21688390_10213351213231878_3525115147588174117_o

Muskox in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Photo by Anne Kiel.

 

The hike, and day, ended at Restaurant Roklubben on Lake Ferguson. Over a three-course plated dinner followed by the famous nightcap called Greenlandic Coffee, the agents wrapped their heads around the fact that just fifteen hours earlier they stood in European capital, Copenhagen, Denmark, and now they sat a world away in the Arctic, looking out over the widest landscape imaginable with a green swirl of Northern Lights overhead.

IMG_2310

Though an Ice Sheet may sound like a flat ice skating rink, it is anything but. Cracks, crevices and snaking rivers define this Arctic landscape.

FLIGHTSEEING

Day 2 got us up in the air and was such a perfect experiential segue from the previous day’s backcountry hike and into this day’s upcoming mini expedition on the ice.

We circled and swirled over the same lakes and reddish hills we walked through, this time getting so much more perspective of the vastness we stood in. We saw the lakes’ true depths as evidenced by their technicolour layers, not to mention hundreds of muskox. Funny to think that though I only saw 12 muskox with my own eyes, we were actually completely surrounded by them.

My stomach was in my throat half the time, but I did enjoy nonetheless following the braids of glacial runoff further inland to their source. The Greenland Ice Sheet is so monstrous and obvious but somehow it still seemed to surprise me how fast it popped up on the horizon. Russell Glacier gives such a stark contrast to the land it creeps onto one cm at a time, and the only thing I could think was, “I can’t believe I’m going to be sleeping down there tonight!”

IMG_2297

From above, one gets perspective – always on the landscape and even sometimes on life.

GLACIER CAMPING

Four and a half years ago I stood on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet for an afternoon to watch a charity football game (yes, you read that correctly). Though that story is pretty hard to top, I do think camping overnight on the ice gives it a run for its money, and I was so excited for the opportunity to try this staple adventure experience in Kangerlussuaq.

The drive out to the ice is as rough as I remembered – an hour and a half jostling around on a dirt/sand/gravel road leftover from Volkswagen’s car-testing days in Greenland. Thank goodness for short breaks for fresh air and silence!

IMG_2379 2

Tents and sleeping bags, check. Barrels of food, check. The pulks are ready to be strapped down and pulled up to camp.

Once we reached the end of the road, we went immediately into pulk preparation mode. The camp is located half an hour’s walk on the ice, so there’s no running back to the bus to grab something real quick. Everything we needed for the night we had to take in ourselves. This is not glamping, folks!

Pulks are the classic piece of equipment that the bonafide Extreme Adventurers use when they cross the Greenland Ice Sheet from coast to coast. (It is not uncommon for them to train for their expeditions by pulling heavy tires, CrossFit style!) While the pulks we had were super light, I couldn’t help putting myself in the expeditioners’ shoes for a moment to imagine the feeling of heading off into a frozen world with 70 kilos strapped to myself – everything to (hopefully) keep me alive for upwards of thirty days in an otherwise uninhabitable environment.

IMG_2391 2

The mini expedition begins.

IMG_2416

Camp Ice Cap by Albatros Arctic Circle. Open from March to October.

Our glacier walk with the pulks was pretty painless – 30 minutes or so and we had arrived to the camp where two large expedition dome tents stay erected for the whole season. We paired off and set up our small two-man sleeping tents (provided for us, along with a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag+liner good to -35*C), plus the all-important bathroom tent, and then enjoyed a nice cup of cocoa before heading out again (sans pulk).

We were fighting the waning light a bit, but we still managed to get in a good couple hours of glacier walking. We went up and down over the frozen waves of light blue, dark blue and black, looked sheepishly into moulins where liters of rushing water disappeared into a deep hole every second, and even collected cold glacier water directly into our water bottles. By the end, head lamps were a necessary tool to navigate back to camp, which definitely added to the feeling that this is real adventure.

Though I never said it to my group of agents, I was so thankful they all are the adventurous and ‘respectful’ type. They were up for anything, no problem, and they were also quiet when on the trail. It is more important than one realises. The pleasant ambience of shared silence gives everyone the peace to connect and reflect on the experience in real time. Live in the moment, you know?

IMG_2429

This is adventure.

IMG_2433

Me. Don’t ask how an Amazonian feels perfectly at home in the Arctic. I don’t even know the explanation myself.

IMG_2439

Crampons and hiking poles are a necessity out here on the ice.

IMG_2446

Night-walking.

Dinner was a surprisingly delicious just-add-water packet of spicy rice mix, seated comfortably in the gathering tent on foldable camp chairs pre-arranged in a cosy circle on the perimeter. In the middle, the top on a pot of soon-boiling water fluttered, and soon the steam plus body heat made it more like a sauna tent. A hat was complete overkill!

Like on most camping trips, the excitement of adventure mixed with physical activity puts everyone early to bed. My tent mate and I turned in for the evening, noting verbally that it really was not cold at all! I slept the whole night through until we woke to the sound of little droplets of sleet hitting the rain fly in the morning.

IMG_2399

The obligatory ‘our feet were here’ shot! It’s just like field camping, only icier.

ONE NIGHT IS TOO SHORT!

We were all pretty sad to leave the ice – the fun had only just begun! But yet new adventures awaited us out on the coast. Fast forward through the same bumpy drive between ice and town, plus another lunch at Hotel Kangerlussuaq Restaurant (it’s like Groundhog Day here sometimes) plus a flight out to the coast and we landed in Sisimiut.

But that story you will have to wait for Part 2 for…

 

 

Autumn Arctic Circle Adventure in a nutshell

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes of everything, in chronological order, that we packed into 5 days/4 nights of discovery:

  • Direct flight on Air Greenland from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq (in summer, there are also direct flights with Air Iceland Connect from Keflavik)
  • Lunch buffet at Kangerlussuaq Airport Restaurant
  • Hike through Muskox Country with Greenland Outdoors / By Heart
  • Dinner and Greenlandic Coffee at Restaurant Roklubben, RSVP only via Albatros Arctic Circle
  • Overnight at Polar Lodge, run by Albatros Arctic Circle
  • Flightseeing with AirZafari Greenland
  • Camp Ice Cap, a combination glacier hiking and overnight glacier camping experience with Albatros Arctic Circle
  • Lunch buffet at Kangerlussuaq Airport Restaurant
  • Visit to Kangerlussuaq Musuem
  • Air Greenland flight to Sisimiut
  • Three-course dinner at Restaurant Nasaasaaq at Hotel Sisimiut
  • Sailing trip / Tour of Assaqutaq, an old settlement, with Arctic Incoming
  • Overnight at Hotel Sisimiut
  • Adventure day of sailing, fishing, grilling at a fjord cabin, hiking, ATVing & mountain biking, meeting sled dogs, and sauna, all with Arctic Incoming and Greenland Extreme
  • Greenlandic buffet dinner at Restaurant Nasaasaaq at Hotel Sisimiut
  • Overnight at Hotel Sisimiut
  • Walking tour of Sisimiut with Destination Arctic Circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Where Can I See Northern Lights in Greenland?

8485463860_4dfd8e13a0_k Photo credit: Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland

The short answer is: everywhere.

It’s firmly into the autumn season – snow has come to stay in most places and the mornings stay dark longer each day. Time to hibernate? Think again. Here’s one reason to welcome the darkness – it makes seeing Northern Lights easier!

Read here about Northern Lights Hot Spots in Greenland.

This article was originally published in the Visit Greenland monthly newsletter. To receive articles like this straight to your inbox, sign up for the newsletter here.

Kaffemik Culture in Greenland

DSCN1332

Photo taken 6 April 2015 at the kaffemik celebrating my friend’s daughter’s confirmation.

Kaffemik in Greenland is the ultimate in social gatherings. “Come glad and eat cake” the invitation says, but it is what the invitation does not say which makes kaffemik more of a social staple than just a fun get-together. 

Good things to eat and drink are the common ground that brings community members together under the same roof and to the same table, but the root of kaffemik is a solidification of one’s bond to the celebrated one.

Kaffemik happens all year round to celebrate birthdays, graduations, marriages, holidays, and more. Here is an example of a beautiful kaffemik invitation to celebrate Confirmation. Written in Danish, translated to English below.

IMG_5987

“Dear [Names],

It would be my great pleasure that you all come and celebrate my confirmation with me and my family.

I am holding my own open house on my Confirmation Day. 

Come and enjoy good food such as reindeer that I have shot myself and lovely accompaniments.

There will, of course, also be a lot of coffee & tea and tons of cakes.

19 April 2015 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM.

[Address]

Kind regards,

Manu”

Read more about Kaffemik in Greenland in this article in the Visit Greenland June newsletter.

Want to receive more articles like this directly? Sign up for the Visit Greenland monthly newsletter!

The Great North Greenland Dogsledding Race 2014

Spring is here, and it is the season for dogsledding! There is plenty of snow, frozen sea ice, and most importantly, sunshine. For Greenlanders, dogsledding is a way of life and a trusted mode of transportation, but it can also be just plain fun!!

North Greenland holds an annual dogsledding race, called Avannaata Qimussersua in Greenlandic, and it takes place in Ilulissat tomorrow (29 March 2014).

Dogsled teams have been doing trials all month long in preparation, and the qualifying teams from around the coast are now ready for competition. Any guesses as to how they get to Ilulissat?

Here’s a clue.

Sled dogs Sikorsky 2

Some of them fly!

Here are a few dogsled teams ready for transport via Kussak, one of Air Greenland’s beautiful Sikorsky S-61N helicopters. The weather should be cool with plenty of sunshine tomorrow, so here’s wishing all competitors, inuk and canine, a fantastic race!!!

Sled dogs Sikorsky Sled dogs Sikorsky 3

All photo credits: Air Greenland Facebook page

Get Involved with Whale Research in Greenland

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.44.12 AMPhoto credit: Sermersooq Business Council

Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is a special place for whale-watching! Every spring, a number of Humpback whales make the long journey from the Caribbean purely to feed in the pristine waters of Nuuk Fjord for the summertime! With any luck, you will capture a memory for a lifetime like this one:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.15.52 AM

Whale outside Qinngorput neighborhood of Nuuk. Photo credit: Aqqa Rosing-Asvid via greenland_com flickr page.

Sailing alongside these majestic giants and capturing them on camera is an adrenaline rush, whether you have seen it one or one hundred times. Now, the local municipality (Sermersooq) and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources have teamed up to get you even more involved in the action.

With this Tell a Tail Fluke Catalogue, you can actually discover exactly which Humpback whale you just spotted! And, if you happen to catch a good shot of the tail’s underside, send it to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources to help with their research on the whales’ migration patterns.

See here for more stunning shots of whales in Greenland.

VIDEO: Pioneering People in Greenland

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.18.59 AMPhoto credit: Village Culture in Greenland – Rough. Real. Remote. video

Last year, Destination Arctic Circle released a five-part series of short films highlighting everything from the BMX biking trend in Sisimiut to fly fishing in pristine mountain rivers in the backcountry.

Click here to see one of my favorite videos of all – Village Culture in Greenland. PS – the singer is my oh-so-talented colleague, Mads Lumholt!

To view the other videos in the series, see the Rough. Real. Remote. vimeo page.

Happy watching!

PHOTO GALLERY: Greenlandic Sledge Dogs

To read about my dogsledding trip in East Greenland, see here.

For more photos of these beautiful creatures, see the Visit Greenland flickr account.

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000210

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000214

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000217

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000218

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000219

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland (March)P1000136

Ilulissat, Greenland (April)IMG_2562

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1000945

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)IMG_3764

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1010241

Uummannaq, Greenland (June)P1010243

Ilulissat, Greenland (August)P1020070

Ilulissat, Greenland (August)P1020072

Ilulissat, Greenland (August)P1020074

Sisimiut, Greenland (August)P1020124

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)IMG_3029

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)IMG_3015

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)IMG_3013

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)IMG_3011

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)IMG_3031

Tasiilaq, Greenland (April)P1000589

Dogsledding in Greenland

In spring 2013, I spent 6 weeks in Greenlandic Dog territory (which is above the Arctic Circle on the west coast and everywhere on the east coast) so I was extremely excited about the possibilities to try dogsledding for the first time! I finally got my chance in late April in Tasiilaq, on the east coast.

PS – For more pictures of Greenlandic sledge dogs, see my photo post and the Visit Greenland flickr account.

*

*

*

On the morning of the tour, I made my way to a designated spot right at the edge of land and frozen sea to meet the musher. It was actively snowing on this particular day, so the land, the ice, and the sky were completely white! All I could see were some small figures in the snowy wonderland, so I took a wild guess that this was my team!

P1000582

Gudmund, the musher, was preparing the sledge for the trip by polishing the tracks. (Jumping ahead a bit, I quickly understood that this was a necessary step as the dogs’ leads often get caught under the sledge, and this makes it easier to get them unstuck. Not to mention it makes the sledge glide effortlessly over the snow.) Gudmund already had the dogs harnessed and connected to the sledge, and they were ready to get moving! They were howling and hopping over each other, and some were growling at one another to confirm the pack hierarchy. The only thing preventing them from pulling the sledge away without Gudmund and me on board was a snow hook in the ground!

IMG_2969 IMG_2972

Once the sledge was ready, Gudmund flipped it over and we were ready to go. I hung my bag on the back and took my seat on the platform. The platform was covered in a warm reindeer skin that made the ride quite cozy. Gudmund sat at the front and I sat at the back.

IMG_2977

The day’s destination was Tsangeraddaddaajaa, a.k.a. “The Coffee Bar”. It is a point with 3 small huts approximately 25 km (15 mi) north of Tasiilaq, and it is halfway between the town of Tasiilaq and the village of Tiniteqilaaq. It should take 2.5-3 hours to get to that point, so we planned to go there, stop for a bit, then return to Tasiilaq.

IMG_3117

So we took off! In the beginning we met some other sledge traffic…

P1000583

But soon it was just the dogs, Gudmund, and I headed north into a white abyss! I was glad they knew the route because I certainly could not see the way!

Want to see dogsledding in motion? See my personal YouTube Video of Dogsledding in Greenland.

P1000589

The pictures I took do not do justice to the beauty of Tasiilaq’s backcountry. Actually, in Greenland, even a white abyss can be so majestic you could cry! It is extremely special to know that this landscape is some of the most untouched land in the world, yet there you are – one single human being – standing in its midst. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask, “Is this real ?!”

My favorite part of the whole trip was getting to talk one-on-one with Gudmund the entire time! He spoke English fairly well, so we were able to communicate comfortably about his life in Tasiilaq, the landscape around us, the commands he used toward the dogs, and the characteristics of the pack – who is leader, who is oldest, what role each dog plays for the team. Plus, being me, I jumped at the chance to get a free lesson in the East Greenlandic language! So our communication was some crazy combination of English, Danish, West Greenlandic, East Greenlandic, and body language. It was heaven for me!

When we got to Tsangeraddaddaajaa it really was just three small huts!

IMG_3010

Gudmund put the snow hook into the ground and started to “fix” the dogs for a break. He went to each dog and pulled one of its legs up into the harness so that it became a three-legged creature! He said it was to give the dominant leg a break; others have said they do it when they know many other sledges will be near – it debilitates the dogs a bit so they are less inclined to try to pull toward the incoming sledges.

IMG_3011

During the break, Gudmund’s pack was very playful and loving toward each other, and they were curious about me, too. I asked Gudmund if I could touch them, and he gave me the green light!

IMG_3013 IMG_3015 IMG_3029

Less than 10 minutes passed before a few other sledges came through the thick wall of snow into sight. As new sledges approached, Gudmund and the other mushers had to be on high alert because the dogs all began barking, pulling, and creating a lot of tension. The mushers all got out the whips and motioned them in a way that kept the teams separate. They have such incredible control over their packs purely with voice commands, whip movements (without having to touch the dogs), and body language!

IMG_3031

Well, the Coffee Bar did not get its name for no reason. No, there is not a barista waiting there with Café Lattes, but everyone did seem to stop there, sit on their sledges, and warm up with a thermos of coffee and some chocolate. After this quick fuel, we turned around and took the same route back to Tasiilaq.

This is Gudmund driving us back toward town. You can see the buildings getting clearer and clearer as we approach.

IMG_3053 IMG_3057Here I am.

IMG_3009

The trip ended with a bit of “urban sledding” so that Gudmund could return the dogs to their chains and doghouses.

IMG_3061 IMG_3068 IMG_3069

Tourist Information:

What to Wear/Bring

  • Always be prepared for any weather – sun, rain/snow, fog, wind, etc. Dress in layers and always have some extra layers in your pack.
  • I suggest wearing thermal base layers, warm clothes (wool is nice), and outer layers that are both windproof and waterproof. Also wear a warm hat, gloves, breathable socks, and boots.
  • As with any other snow sport, wear sunscreen and sunglasses! The reflection of the sun on the snow can be fierce.
  • Bring your camera and perhaps extra batteries, memory cards, etc., Keep them close to your body to keep them warm. Cold temperatures can often affect the proper function of electronics.
  • You may like to bring a thermos of coffee or tea for the ride. Sometimes, this is included with the tour – check with your tour operator to confirm.

Etiquette Tips

  • Greenlandic Dog temperaments range from nearly wild to almost playful – but every single dog is different. Always ask the musher before approaching a dog! (This also goes for walking near dogs in the towns. No matter the age, do not touch them unless you have specifically been told you can do it.)
  • The musher will most likely jump off the sledge to stand on the back of it. He/She does this to work the brake, especially when going downhill. Unless the musher says otherwise, you should stay seated on the sledge.

Dog Handling

  • This point is worth repeating over and over… Do NOT touch a dog, old or young, unless you have specifically been told you can do it. This goes for the dogs you meet during a tour and those you meet around town.
  • Greenlandic Dogs are not pets – they are working animals. They have an extreme amount of energy and instinct to run/pull a sledge. The musher uses verbal and physical commands toward the pack. At times they may seem harsh, but understand that they are necessary to control the pack.
  • Greenlandic Dogs are contained when they are not working. Mushers keep them on sturdy chains close to doghouses with ample food and water supply. The musher visits them daily. Sometimes, dogs are kept in a pen, but usually they are still on chains inside the pen. The chains are for the dogs’ protection. They keep the dogs from wandering loose in the town; dogs can legally be shot if they are deemed problematic toward people. The chains also keep the dogs a safe distance from each other as hierarchical fighting is common.

Winter versus Summer Life

  • Dogsledding season is typically from October – April, depending on the town, snow cover, and sea ice conditions. During this time, dogsledding is used as a method of transportation for residents and as an entertaining excursion for tourists.
  • Greenlandic Dogs look quite different in the two seasons. In winter, their fur is thick and full, but in summer they shed a lot and look much thinner.
  • Greenlandic dogs are chained whether it is winter or summer. Depending on where the musher lives, the dogs may be on grass, rocks, or dirt. You will always see that they are close to doghouses and ample food and water supply.
  • In summer, many tourists “judge a book by its cover”. They see the dogs on chains and looking thin, so they assume the dogs are poorly treated. For those thinking this way, I suggest they take a “Sledge Dog Life” tour. While it is not possible to do a dogsledding tour in summer, it is possible to meet mushers and get a firsthand insider-look into how they care for their dogs.

For statistics on sledge dogs by Statistics Greenland, see here.

Do you know about the Big Arctic Five?

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 12.14.24 PM

If you can only do five things in Greenland, make it the Big Arctic Five! They are tried and true – every single memorable experience I have had in Greenland includes some combination of these essential elements!

Meet Pioneering People – At the center of everything are the people who live in and love this country!

Experience Ice and Snow with all 5 senses – Be it glaciers, floating icebergs, or the massive Ice Sheet, you are never far from this element!

Traverse landscape via Dogsled – Thanks to the Greenlandic Dog, who lives to run/pull a sled, you can get to places you could never dream of reaching on foot.

Gaze at the Northern Lights – Sunlight may be fleeting in wintertime, but the sky is far from dark. Watch the sky come alive as a vision of green and purple!

Go Whale-watching – Spot these majestic summer visitors during a sailing tour or maybe even from the comfort of your own balcony!

Also, stay tuned for upcoming posts about my personal experiences with each of the Big Arctic Five! Just select “Big Arctic Five” in the Category menu on the Home page!

A Little Lesson About Ice

(From 25 March 2013)

Since I am gearing up to travel to Ilulissat, the town whose very name means “icebergs”, I figure there is no better time to give a small lesson about ice and icebergs in Greenland. As a disclaimer, I am no glaciologist, so please do not take everything I say to be scientifically precise J But I do know enough from what I have learned in Greenland to provide some useful information. If anybody is interested in a truly spectacular and awe-some portrayal of glaciers, do check out Chasing Ice, a big-screen documentary (by James Balog, National Geographic photographer/cinematographer) that artistically displays how glaciers flow, depress, and calve over time. The images document glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, and the United States.

One may ask: Are there not icebergs all over Greenland? Why does Ilulissat have the pleasure of being the namesake town for icebergs? The answer is: Yes, there are icebergs all over Greenland. Icebergs originate from glaciers that flow into a body of water, creating a tongue that floats on the water whose front breaks off (“calves”) in pieces of all shapes and sizes – the icebergs. When I say that glaciers flow, one may think of liquid water; but a glacier is frozen ice. It flows due to its own weight, and it is not detectable by the human eye just standing and watching for a short period of time. The Greenland Ice Sheet is itself one huge glacier, and it flows into the water in hundreds of places all over Greenland. Therefore, there are icebergs all over Greenland.

Ilulissat is especially well known for icebergs because the glaciers in its immediate area (Sermeq Kujalleq and Eqip Sermia) are especially active. They move faster, and thus calve more frequently creating more icebergs, than other glaciers in Greenland and in the whole world! Sermeq Kujalleq, more commonly just called Kangia or the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, is one of the fastest flowing glaciers in the world. It currently flows about 35 meters a DAY while other glaciers in the world only move that far in a year!

However, despite the glacier’s fast pace, it is currently in a state of rapid retreat (moving closer and closer toward land). Glacial retreat IS a natural occurrence, but the rate at which Sermeq Kujalleq is currently retreating is what is unprecedented. Sermeq Kujalleq has actually been slowly retreating since about 1850. But in 1998, the glacier suddenly started flowing twice as fast as before, its surface level depressed, and its floating glacial tongue calved off entirely. In just 10 years, the glacier retreated 15 km (9 miles) when previously it took 80+ years to retreat that far. The Ilulissat Ice Fjord was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2004, so the area is now protected.

This is a picture of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, taken in August 2012.

P1010348

This is a picture of Eqip Sermia, a glacier just north of Ilulissat that calves very frequently, taken in June 2012. It is an extremely popular attraction for tourists. There are sailing tours to view it from the water, and there is also the possibility to stay overnight in small huts/lodges on land close by.

P1000396

This is a picture of Narsap Sermia, a glacier just north of Nuuk, take in July 2012… and an iceberg that originated from it.

P1000602

P1010607