Home » M/V Ocean Atlantic: Best of the Disko Bay
Experience the beauty of Greenland’s top gem area, the Disko Bay. Join us for an unforgettable adventure in Greenland and experience summer in the Arctic: gigantic icebergs, the calmness of protected bays and the stunning Eqi Glacier. Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland!
Duration: 6 Days
At a time to be confirmed, you will fly from Keflavic Iceland to Kangerlussuq Greenland and Embark the Ocean Atlantic.
Upon arrival into Kangerlussuaq, we will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where our ship, Ocean Atlantic, will be anchored and waiting. The Zodiacs will ferry us in small groups to the ship, anchored about one kilometer out into the fjord. Each of us will wear a lightweight life jacket and there will be assistance with boarding and disembarking. Access to the ship is via a platform adjacent to the Shackleton deck. Once on board, and after you have received your key card, the crew will review the safety procedures. As we enjoy our first chef-prepared dinner at sea, Ocean Atlantic will ‘set sail’, passing through the 160-kilometre fjord and cruise out into the Davis Strait, named for the English explorer John Davis (1550–1605), who explored the area while seeking a Northwest Passage.
The area between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut is a unique cultural landscape right at the Arctic Circle, and home to the most complete and best-preserved record of arctic hunting traditions from 2500 BC onwards.
Early in the morning, we arrive to Sisimiut. After breakfast, we will gain a better idea of what modern Greenland looks like.
Sisimiut is the most northerly place in Greenland that is accessible by ship during the winter, because it is relatively free of sea ice. It is also the southernmost place where dog sledding is practiced, and, with 5,400 inhabitants, is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut for about 4,500 years. In fact, Sisimiut was the first home of the Saqqaq, Dorset and Thule cultures, after they migrated from present-day Canada. In order to survive this impressive journey and establish a new settlement, they lived on fish, birds and mammals such as whales, seals and reindeer.
Tour highlights include the historic colonial quarter, as well as the museum and the beautiful church. Additionally, we will pay a visit to the busy city centre for a glimpse of what daily life is like in 21st century Greenland. In the afternoon, our voyage will continue northward.
As evening falls, we will pass the Sisimiut Isortuat Fjord, the Nordre Strømfjord settlements of Attu and Ikerasaarsuk, and the small town of Kangaatsiaq. During the course of the bright night, we will pass Aasiaat and proceed into the southern waters of Disko Bay. Next, the ship’s heading will be set for Disko Island, known for its distinctive 1,000-meter/3,280 feet layered crags.
At this point, we will be north of the Arctic Circle! Here, the nights are bright and early risers can enjoy the sight of the icebergs on Disko Bay as they squeeze out of the Ilulissat Icefjord and dance into the frigid ocean waters.
Our next sojourn lies on the southern tip of the Disko Island, where Ocean Atlantic will dock in a protected natural harbour, which is named Godhavn (‘Good Harbour’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, means ‘The Big Island’.
Although topographically quite different from mainland Greenland due to the basalt characteristics of the Disko Island’s mountains, Qeqertarsuaq maintains a long, rich history and once served as one of the country’s important economic centers. From the 16th century, the community was relatively prosperous and, in fact, considered the most important town north of Nuuk until the mid-1900s, due in part to the area’s sizeable whale hunting population.
During our visit, we will wander through town, paying a visit to the characteristic octagonal church, nicknamed “God’s Inkpot”, as well as to a local community center that will be hosting a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, which can be best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and traditional dances and music.
As the day draws to a closing, Ocean Atlantic will set a north easterly course bound for a magnificent natural highlight – the enormous Eqip Sermia Glacier.
Situated approximately 50 nautical miles north of Ilulissat, the Eqip Sermia Glacier is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty. We will sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge – but at a safe distance to avoid plunging blocks of ice and violent waves that often result from the calving glacier
Ilulissat is possibly the most well-located town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic, and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘the Iceberg Capital’.
In Disko Bay, which is located just off the coast of Ilulissat, gigantic icebergs linger in the freezing waters. These icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km/43,5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km/6 miles-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. The Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25m/82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tonnes/22 million us tons of ice per day!
These facts, together with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, have secured the Icefjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
On this day, you will also have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Icefjord (not included). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery.
The trip is something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come – but be sure to have warm clothing on!
If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to do a fixed-wing flightseeing tour over the Icefjord (not included).
Please note the boat and flightseeing excursions to the Icefjord are not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, both excursions must be booked in advance.
In the evening, we will cruise southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind us as we part.
In the morning, we will wake up to a picturesque sight — the settlement of Itilleq, which translates to ‘the hollow’ or ‘the flatlands’, quite an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry to the east. The settlement’s slightly more than 100 residents and live off hunting, trapping and fishing, most often in pursuit of arctic char, reindeer and musk oxen.
Although Itilleq is quite remote, it lies within a few hours via dinghy sail from Sisimiut, the second-largest town in Greenland. The accessibility to such a large town provides an indispensable economic benefit to a small community like Itilleq’s.
A stroll through the settlement offers insight into rural life in today’s Greenland, where modern conveniences and technological advancements, such as internet and smart phones have become commonplace, yet locals still place great value on important customs and preserving their traditions and Inuit heritage.
Before lunch, we will return to Ocean Atlantic and continue our journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondrestromfjord. Especially the first part of the fjord gives a great opportunity to enjoy an impressive passage with panoramic views of high mountains and deep valleys.
During the night, we will have completed our passage through the 160-kilometer/100 mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, we will bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle us to shore.
Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, Kangerlussuaq remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions, in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored.
Kangerlussuaq’s present-day climate is largely influenced by its well-sheltered location between Greenland’s Ice Sheet, the fjord and mountains. This contributes to its stable conditions, minimal cloud cover and roughly 300 clear nights per year.
This close proximity to the Ice Sheet, combined with the continental climate, is also of great significance to the local conditions. The dry climate, combined with warm winds that “fall” from the Ice Sheet, can result in temperatures that jump up to 30°C (86°F) in the summer, but then fall to an extreme -40°C (-40°F) in winter, making it the coldest inhabited area in Greenland.
In Kangerlussuaq we offer an optional excursion to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier. The duration of the excursion is about four hours. Please note this excursion is not included in the general tour price
As our time in Greenland concludes, after breakfast and checkout, your arctic adventure will have concluded. We hope to see you again soon! We fly from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavík.
|18 Aug 2019 - 23 Aug 2019|
|Category E Cabin||$4615 NZD||Contact us|
|Category D Cabin||$5385 NZD||Contact us|
|Category C Cabin||$5692 NZD||Contact us|
|Category B Cabin||$7692 NZD||Contact us|
|Category A Cabin||$8154 NZD||Contact us|
|Premium Suite||$9077 NZD||Contact us|
18-21m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, sitting area, private bathroom, located on deck 5.
11-12m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, sitting area, private bathroom, located on deck 4.
12-13m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, sitting area, private bathroom, window, located on deck 4 and 5.
20-23m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, sitting area, private bathroom, window, located on deck 7 and 8.
19-24m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, sitting area, private bathroom, window, located on deck 5.
35m², 2 single beds or 1 double bed, separate living room, large private bathroom, large window, located on deck 5.