Trip Log

In the Wake of the Vikings: a Voyage from Iceland to Greenland 

Jul. 14–Jul. 25, 2019

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

On our Zodiacs we travelled past colossal glaciers and bird cliffs, where thousands of kittiwakes and thick-billed murres nested in crags on the sheer rock face. The scars of past glaciers were evident in every direction, and we witnessed some icebergs calving with a rumble and a crack.

Map

Iceland to greenland 2019 trip log map
  • Day 1: Reykjavík
  • Day 2: Vestmannaeyjar
  • Day 3: At Sea
  • Day 4: Approaching East Greenland
  • Day 5: Prince Christian Sound
  • Day 6: Uunartoq
  • Day 7: Hvalsø and Qaqortoq
  • Day 8: Brattahlíd
  • Day 9: Ivigtut & Arsuk
  • Day 10: Nuuk
  • Day 11: Evighedsfjorden

Day 1 – Sunday, July 14

Reykjavík

Coordinates: 64°15'N 21°93'W

Weather: windy, sporadically rainy, 6°C

Welcome to Iceland!

Some energized, some jetlagged, but all full of excitement and anticipation, we arrived on the pier in Reykjavík with our luggage in tow. Ocean Endeavour, our new home for the next eleven days, towered above us through the drizzle. We milled about, finding our tags and handing our bags over to be delivered to our cabins. We had a few hours until boarding time, so we spent it on cultural and historic walking tours, or just getting to know each other and exploring the many quaint restaurants and shops in Iceland’s capital city.

Reykjavik 02

Reykjavík

By 4:00 p.m. we had settled into our cabins and were invited to the ship’s largest gathering space, the Nautilus Lounge. Mimosas were handed out as host David Newland offered a warm introduction. He told us that Adventure Canada expeditions are a unique form of travel, and its goal is to push us together and outside of our comfort zones—finding new perspectives, friendships, and wisdom. We then met our expedition leader Matthew James (MJ) Swan, who said he hopes through this expedition we will not only connect with each other on board but also with the land and its history. He reminded us we’re also here to explore, and with the unpredictability of wind, ice, and sea conditions it would be important to stay flexible! “We ask that you take those bumps as they come,” he said with a grin.

We then met our cruise director Laura Baer and assistant cruise director Gwen Freeze, who ran us through some housekeeping notes. After a lifeboat drill, we were called down by our colour groups to receive our iconic blue rain and wind-proof jackets (we would need them!), followed by a comical Zodiac training video and briefing on our day tomorrow. We retired to our beds, heads full of new information and buzzing with anticipation for what tomorrow would bring in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago!

Day 2 – Monday, July 15

Vestmannaeyjar

Coordinates: 63°44'N 20°26'W

Weather: Very foggy, 5°C

A Volcanic Island

While many of us slept, our talented Captain Dmytro Ashanin steered our large vessel into the narrow Heimaey harbour. The town of Heimaey is on the island of the same name—the largest island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago (Westman Islands) off the southern coast of Iceland. At the breakfast table the view from the Polaris Restaurant windows was of a dense and eerie fog.

The weather cast the mood for the day. From our bus tour and trip to the Eldheimar Museum we learned that in the middle of the night in January 1973 a 1.6 kilometre fissure opened up the island, spilling lava and tephra (volcanic rock fragments) upon the sleeping fishing town. The ensuing wall of fire swallowed a third of Heimaey’s homes and buildings, devastating the island and reshaping it forever.

Vestmannaeyjar 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Many of us hiked 6 kilometres up to Eldfell itself, coming back to tell of hot vents along the trail, and of visibility of less than ten metres! What Icelanders call a “black fog” was described as “mystical and magical” atop the volcano by one hiker.

We returned to the Ocean Endeavour where the Zodiacs awaited us. On our short cruise along the island’s coast we witnessed the fantastic majesty of the bird cliffs, sculpted by waves and eroded by sediments in the sea. The palatial caves, we learned, are made of igneous rock and columnar basalt. We spotted northern fulmars, kittiwakes, and common murres, as well as puffins in the air and on the sea, among other seabirds.

Back on the ship we learned about the Young Explorers program from coordinator Milbry Polk and the Explorers themselves: Aviva Musicus, Nicholas Graham Platt, Keiji Hammond, and Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza.

We raised a glass of champagne to Captain Dmytro Ashanin and the crew leaders, but before evening we were forced to find our sea legs as the Ocean Endeavour began to rock in the high seas. The more unfortunate were rendered bed-ridden—including musician Nive Nielsen, who had been set to perform that evening. As the night went on our numbers rapidly depleted, and we retreated to our cabins with our various seasickness remedies.

Day 3 – Tuesday, July 16

At Sea

Coordinates: 62°12'N 30°26'W

Weather: Nippy, fog, about 10°C, very wavy but no rain

A Day of Fun

Historian and archaeologist Callum Thomson presented on tales of Norse exploration from Iceland to Greenland and beyond to the east coast of Canada, a route we were currently following. After, Ethnographer Jane Sproull-Thomson presented on Greenlandic Art, offering insights into artefacts, dress, and fashion dating back to the tenth century.

Out on deck with marine biologist Ursula Tscherter there were multiple whale sightings, including a sperm whale and fin whale! By the way the sperm whale was fluking, Ursula told us, we could guess that it was diving to a depth of approximately one kilometre. Her excitement was infectious as we clustered around the rail and watched the elusive giants that lurked beneath the waves.

In the afternoon we attended a drawing workshop with Rob Saley, a talented artist who shared with us his knowledge with characteristic patience and humour. We then brushed up on our language skills with Tupaarnaq Egede, who gave us a "Greenlandic 101" lesson (umiarsuaq—oo-me-ar-soo-ak—means “ship”) and laughed and learned with geologist Lynn Moorman who coordinated a Twister-like geography challenge. A trip up to the bridge showed us where the captain and crew steer the ship and we asked our guide, Cadet Egor Liebiediev, about everything from safety protocols to how exactly the Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC) work.

Travellers in nautilus launge

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

We then had fun with Cruise Director Laura Baer as she led the “Adventurous Eh!” game, an intro to the League of Adventurers program. We ran around the room, finding signatures for our bingo-inspired game sheets. “Have you crossed the Northwest Passage?” and “I need someone who has seen the Aurora Borealis!” echoed amongst the laughing and flustered group.

After a Kaapittiaq Coffee tasting and Icelandic Teatime in the Aurora Lounge, we sat down for dinner—our numbers were significantly higher than they had been the night before. With our renewed health (and spirits) we were treated to a long-awaited evening performance from the talented Nive Nielsen and partner Charlie Shapiro, already known by everyone on board as the parents of the cute one-year-old twins Mali and Inuvik. The ocean was blessedly calm as we settled into our beds for the night and continued in the wake of the Vikings towards the east coast of Greenland.

Day 4 – Wednesday, July 17

Approaching East Greenland

Coordinates: 61°02'N 42°18'W

Weather: Partly cloudy, 11°C

Land-ho!

Our second day at sea graced us with a blazing sun that was almost summer-like, and replaced the fog of the previous days. There was an aura of calm about the ship, with many taking the time at sea to dig into a book and play cards and dominos in the window-lined Compass Club; others ventured out to the deck chairs to feel the sun on their faces, and enjoy the stunning view of expansive ocean.

By late morning David Newland made an announcement over the PA system that the coast of Greenland was looming on the port side, with a view of tall craggy mountains white-capped with snow. We all rushed to the decks, eyes and hearts keen to meet the vast landscape we had heard so much about. Meanwhile, first dolphins, then whales were spotted close by the Ocean Endeavour. We watched through squinted eyes and binoculars the blows and fluking of sperm whales and northern bottlenose whales in the distance.

Kangerluluk 1

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Kangerluluk fjord

We all settled into the Nautilus for a warm Greenlandic welcome by our local hosts Nive and Culturist Tupaarnaq Egede. We learned about the history of the island and Inuit culture, and that Greenland is the largest island in the world, 80% of it covered in a giant glacier that in some places is three kilometres deep.

We gathered in the Polaris Restaurant for a buffet supper, every diner hoping for a table near a window to look out at the view. We had arrived in the majestic fjord of Kangerluluk, meaning “bad fjord”, but the name did not reflect our experience. The fjord system is surrounded by steep snow-capped mountains, with glaciers in-between them. It was a grand sight to behold, and we couldn’t wait to get in the Zodiacs and explore!

Kangerluluk 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

We departed on our respective cruises, into bays of floating ice, past trickling waterfalls and along the rocky coast. A sudden groaning and cracking from the ice mountain stunned us into silence; later we watched as the glacier shed some shards into the sea.

As we made our way back to the Ocean Endeavour we were stopped by a Zodiac crewed by a costumed bunch, who offered us a welcome cup of warm hot chocolate and Baileys! Some of us brought back some glacier ice to be added to drinks in the Nautilus, where we enjoyed excellent piano playing from Adam Saunders, finishing off the day with an ambiance of happy satisfaction.

Day 5 – Thursday, July 18

Prince Christian Sound

Coordinates: 60°06'N 44°10'W

Weather: breezy, 8°C

The Sound of Silence

Our day began at 6:00 a.m. as we gathered on the decks to watch the Ocean Endeavour enter into the fjord system of Prince Christians Sound. The views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers were astounding. Stark cliffs contrasted against icebergs large and small. There was an atmosphere of jubilation as we milled about on deck. Some of us lounged on the deck chairs in the stern or aft, soaking in the sun as others kept post at the bow, binoculars in hand as the Ocean Endeavour crawled past glaciers, waterfalls, and one small multi-coloured settlement.

Prince Christian Sound 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Prince Christians Sound

The “Bird Nerds” united with naturalist Krista Gooderham and scientist-in-residence Dani Fife on the aft deck. Meanwhile, Ursula led a fun minke whale challenge, where participants raced around Deck 7 matching minke whale fins to their owners. At the same time, by popular request Tupaarnaq led "Icelandic 201" outside on the aft deck to an enthusiastic open-air class. We built on the foundations of last class with words such as: qorsuk (“green”), qaamasoq (“light”) and qaqqaq kusanaq—“beautiful mountains”!

On the top deck Laura Baer led a yoga class under the bright sun, and photographer Jessie Brinkman Evans, who also runs the onboard Nikon lending program, led a group of photographers around the ship, helping them understand their cameras and teaching them “How to tell stories with light.”

Prince Christian Sound 3

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Prince Christians Sound

We disembarked to shore in our Zodiac groups. Some of us spotted the national flower of Greenland, the bright fuchsia dwarf fireweed—Nive knows it as Niviarsiaq, which loosely translates to “Single Ladies”. We stepped over glacial streams that tumbled down the slope into the bay and returned to the Zodiacs as fog rolled over the high hills, our muscles pleasantly sore from a good workout.

We learned at recap that the kayakers had a lovely paddle along the shoreline, and some lucky ones even spotted a seal! Tired we may have been, but we still rallied in the Nautilus to play a game of Arctic Bluff, hosted by the fun-loving Laura Baer. The game, much like Balderdash but with a Greenlandic vocabulary, brought out our acting skills and laughter rattled throughout the room—who knew “Ggam” means a gossiping pod of whales? As the sun set behind us, we looked back at Prince Christian Sound, the narrow fjord disappearing as clouds draped the mountains in mist.

Day 6 – Friday, July 19

Uunartoq

Coordinates: 60°51'N 45°33'W

Weather: Very foggy, about 5-10°C

Yellow Flowers and Warm Pools

Our sixth day on our expedition met us with a heavy fog. Only a shadow of the Ocean Endeavour could be seen through the mist by the time we reached the shore by Zodiac. We had arrived in Uunartoq, meaning “warm place”; just over a hill were two perfectly circular natural hot spring pools, framed by tufts of grass and rock. Traces of Thule presence here can be traced back to the twelfth century, and it was likely them who shaped the springs into the bath-like pools that make them perfect for lounging.

Uunartoq greenland 1

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Over a hill speckled with rock cairns both ancient and new, archaeologists Callum Thomson and Jane Sproull-Thomson awaited us near the ruins of thirteenth century buildings. They had found the site by the obvious changes in vegetation. The soil is enriched because of organics that were tossed and left here. Bright yellow buttercups and tufts of parabells and hawkweed littered the hummocks of grass. We learned that we stood amongst winter homes built by the Thule. The small houses would have been made of stone, sod, and perhaps whale bone, and the communities would have hunted seal.

Uunartoq greenland 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

A group of us set off on a hike through the pea-soup haze, led by Tupaarnaq, returning later to tell of many other archaeological sites they had found. Meanwhile, bathers continued to enjoy the warm mineral water, as the dense fog gradually lifted, exposing massive icebergs that bobbed in the bay.

One passenger, Jenn Wilkins, sat by the shore, painting the scene, watching as Beth Sherwood took an incredible five-minute-long swim in the icy water. Suddenly, the berg Jenn had been painting groaned and leaned, calving and turning over in the water before our eyes. Poor Jenn had to scrap her work and start again. Almost at the same moment the fog melted away, revealing a towering mountain across the bay we had not known was there!

For lunch we invited a young family we had met on shore, who were camping near the pools and fishing in the fjord. Our evening was spent getting silly and all dressed up for the Adventurers & Explorers party. One of the highlights was Megan Wanner who dressed up as our photographer Jessie Brinkman Evans. We also met Amelia Earhart and Dora the Explorer!

Day 7 – Saturday, July 20

Hvalsø and Qaqortoq

Coordinates: 60°82'N 45°77'W

Weather: Overcast, 11°C

The World is a Book

We awoke to MJ, who read us a quote by St. Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Today’s page was one of discovery and wonder, and one to remember for many years to come.

As we came to the ancient place of Hvalsø on Zodiacs through low-lying clouds, we caught our first glimpse of its lonely stone church. The morning dew clung to the grass and wildflowers around Jane Sproull-Thomson as she told us about the old Norse settlement, whose oldest structures date back to 985. The last known record of Vikings in Greenland was from a wedding that took place at this church in September 1408. Soon after, Vikings disappeared from Greenland, likely because of the combination of factors, including a cooling climate, escalating payments to the church, and vacant land back in Europe due to the Black Death.

Hvalsey Church 1

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Hvalsey Church, site interpretation by archaeologist Callum Thomson

Around the thirteenth century church were the remains of half a dozen other buildings, including slave lodgings, outbuildings for livestock, and one that would have been the large manor house. Local lore says a man was once burned at the stake in the vicinity, accused of being a sorcerer who used his magic to seduce women.

We milled about the area, hiking up the slope to a spot where once a stone building stored dairy products and other foodstuffs. Now, an arctic willow grows in the centre of the square ruin, nourished by the ancient organics in the soil in a poetic example of the intricate relationship between nature and mankind. Geologist Lynn Moorman stood near a wall of colourful rock, where she told us about its formation, and Tupaarnaq and Ursula walked alongside us, pointing out various plants. We learned that we walked on miniature forests of willow, birch, and spruce, stunted by the harsh winds and climate and thus appearing as bushy groundcover.

Hvalsey Church 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Hvalsey Church

Meanwhile, the kayakers had a blast first hiking up the sloped site to get a good view of the fjord, and then setting off down the narrowing waterway for four nautical miles. They stopped at a waterfall, ate crowberries, and saw two white-tailed eagle chicks in a grassy nest.

The afternoon brought us to Qaqortoq, a picturesque town where yellow, blue, green, and red-painted homes are strewn up the mountains behind. We walked the streets with our local guides, visiting the Great Greenland seal leather and fur manufacturer and Qaqortoq Museum. Some explored the town on two wheels through Adventure Canada’s bike program, and others took advantage of the opportunity to pick up some snacks and necessities from the grocery stores and find some much-desired wifi.

For a change of pace, the evening wound down with two films, the Icelandic dark comedy Women at War and the documentary Vanishing Point, chronicling the connections between two remote communities in Greenland and Baffin Island.

Day 8 – Sunday, July 21

Brattahlíd

Coordinates: 61°14'N 45°51'W

Weather: Partly cloudy and often foggy, sun peeking out in the afternoon. 11°C

Erik’s House

The morning fog drifted slowly over the green hills as our Zodiacs glided through Tunulliarfik fjord to the town of Qassiarsuk. Here Erik the Red, after three years of searching the area, founded his farmstead, Brattahlíd. We docked and set off along the main road to visit a reconstruction of Erik the Red’s homestead and the humble Thodhildur’s church, both constructed, as they would have been at the time, with sod with wooden posts.

The time passed slowly as we wandered around Qassiarsuk, stopping at Café Thorhildur (which opened just for us) and hiked up to an oversized bronze statue of Leif Erikson, Erik the Red’s son. Church bells rang through the town—there was a wedding taking place, and we were lucky enough to witness the bride in traditional dress walk through the town with her new husband.

Leif Erikson statue

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

The bronze statue of Leif Erikson, Erik the Red’s son

As the Ocean Endeavour sailed back down the iceberg-strewn fjord, we joined Ursula for “Mind-Blowing Minke Whales”. Jane (who among her many talents is also an artist) then told us about some of Canada’s most famous painters in “The Group of Seven in the Arctic”. Meanwhile on the ship decks it was a perfect afternoon for escaping into a book and taking time to recharge. Many of us sprawled along the benches and patio furniture, dozing in the welcome sunshine as the snow-capped mountains drifted lazily by. By midafternoon we were ready for a snack, and kids and adults alike raced up to the Aurora Lounge for an “ice cream social”.

Brattahlid

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Our host, David Newland, moderated a climate change discussion panel in the Nautilus Lounge, where we heard from geologist Lynn Moorman, naturalists Krista Gooderham and Ursula Tscherter, culturalist and performer Nive Nielsen, and Young Explorer Keiji Hammond. The love for our planet and extent of their climate anxiety was visible as our experts talked at length about the issues threatening the environment, and the responsibility of the tourism industry to educate and inform.

At the evening recap we had a giggle at a photomontage of the ongoing saga for the poor Greenlay family to locate their luggage—lost since they had boarded the flight to Iceland. We shared a round of applause for heroes Geneviève Côté and Dan Freeze for trekking to the nearby town of Narsarsuaq to rescue the suitcase. After dinner we gathered for David’s "Northwest Passage in Story and Song". It was a packed room and many happy listeners picked up his CD for signing afterwards.

Day 9 – Monday, July 22

Ivigtut & Arsuk

Coordinates: 61°20'N 48°17'W

Weather: Foggy and rainy

Muskox and a Deserted Mine

The ocean’s surface was smooth as glass as we disembarked in Zodiacs for our morning expedition. We watched the Ocean Endeavour disappear behind us as we made our way through the misty morning to explore a fjord where we were told there was a waterfall of epic proportions.

Our first glimpse of wildlife was an Arctic fox, which swiftly darted out of sight. Then, as we rounded a bend the news came over the radios: “Muskox, three o’clock!” Our convoy halted and we bobbed in the water, cameras and binoculars pressed to our faces before crossing the bay. The cascade was immense, and while not as tall as some we have seen (yes, we are spoiled!) it dwarfed them with its power.

Ivigtut Arsuk 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

We headed towards the Ivigtut cryolite mine, long-since abandoned and ripe for exploring, but first made a quick stop near a flock of nesting birds, which Scientist-in-Residence Dani Fife identified as Icelandic gulls.

We were thankful for our boots (and a strong hand from Dan Garth) as the Zodiacs pulled up to the rocky shore. The next two hours were spent roaming the quiet mining town; we saw broken windows, doors left ajar, and felt the eerie silence of a once-vibrant hamlet. The cryolite that was once mined here remains the only mineral to ever be mined to extinction (it can now be synthesized). During the Second World War, it was crucial for the creation of aluminum to make airplanes for the war effort.

Ivigtut Arsuk 1

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Afternoon teatime was served with a twist in the Aurora Lounge. Nive and Ashley Savard introduced us to dried seal, minke whale fat and skin (which pairs well with dried cod), and dried capelin. Fermented seal blubber was also on offer for the more adventurous, and sweet treats to top it all off. The room was packed as we excitedly tasted the traditional Greenlandic food, which is served raw to absorb the vitamin C and traditionally eaten communally amongst friends and family.

We settled into the Nautilus Lounge for “I See Sea Birds on the Sea” with Dani Fife, who told us about her seabird data, while John Blyth led a “Map Café” up in the Meridian Club, where we perused multiple Arctic maps and naval charts and learned about the history of polar explorations. At twilight we grabbed our guitars and ukuleles and clapped and sang along to some classics like “Stand by Me” and “Fisherman’s Blues” around David Newland's "campfire".

Day 10 – Tuesday, July 23

Nuuk

Coordinates: 64°16'N 51°72'W

Weather: Moderate, some fog, 10°C

Sightseeing in Nuuk

The morning began slowly: some joined a morning stretch with Lindi Du Plessis while Krista Gooderham talked about plant identification in the Nautilus Lounge. By mid-morning we gathered for the Adventure Canada 2019 Auction, hosted by John Blyth (who was inexplicably dressed in a cowboy costume) of which proceeds went to The Walrus Foundation and Students on Ice. The items ranged from a stay at Jane and Callum’s beautiful Vancouver Island home, to the opportunity to deliver the next day’s wake-up call. More than a few bidding wars erupted, and we cheered as our fellow shipmates upped the ante.

Nuuk giftshop greenland

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

It was finally time to disembark to Nuuk—Greenland's capital city and home to one third of the population. We set off on our various walking and bus tours (and solo tours as well), stepping off the gangway into a biting wind and grey sky. Nothing like a summer day in Nuuk!

The walking tours braved the chill and hiked into the heart of the capital city, while father-daughter team Mike and Nicky Erdle were one of many who rented bikes for the day. The bus tours motored around the outskirts, passing the Nuuk airport and harbour; our guides Taatsiaq Kokholm and Tina Kûitse told us that Nuuk’s harbour is the largest in the Danish kingdom. They also say it’s more valuable to own a boat than a car since there are no roads connecting Greenland’s towns and cities. We also learned that in the past the colours of the houses indicated the work of the tenant: yellow for hospitality and teachers, green for hunters and fishermen, blue for businesses and banks. Only colours found in nature are permitted. “Absolutely no hot pink!” said Kokholm.

Nuuk greenland 1

© Dennis Minty

Most of us ended up down by the shore in the old part of the city, where the Greenland National Museum was packed with our blue coats. The museum features the “Greenland Mummies” discovered in Qilakitsoq in 1977. The low-hanging rock, lack of sunlight, and icy wind had a freeze-drying effect on the gravesites, which date back to 1460 AD. We also frequented the many shops and Nuuk’s Katuaq Cultural Centre, which had the best coffee and a place to sit near the windows.

Back on the Ocean Endeavour we had a special guest: Angu Motzfeldt, a Greenlandic photographer and artist. We finished the night with a chocolate extravaganza surprise from the restaurant staff, and another concert with Nive and Charlie!

Day 11 – Wednesday, July 24

Evighedsfjorden

Coordinates: 66°00'N 52°34'W

Weather: Partly cloudy/sunny, breezy, 12°C

The Fjord of Eternity

As the top bidder in yesterday’s auction, Rachel Barreca started our day with a beautiful morning announcement, focused on gratitude and community. This was the perfect setting for our journey into Evighedsfjorden, the “Fjord of Eternity.”

After Lynn’s “Geology Overview” and two short films from artist Rob Saley, we disembarked on our Zodiac and kayak voyages. The Wanner family, who had won yesterday’s bid for the private Zodiac cruise, whizzed away with coffee and Baileys!

Evighedsfjorden greenland zodiac

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

We returned to a jovial BBQ on the back decks, just as the weather warmed up and the sun began to shine. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, a piña colada bar, and ice cream station were laid out on Deck 5, and it felt like a true summer’s day as we picnicked amongst friends and family beside a towering mountain.

After lunch it was time for the Polar Plunge! We packed into the Nautilus, vuvuzelas wailing, tunes pumping, and everyone dancing around in their robes and silly hats nabbed from the “Tickle Trunk”. We paraded from the Nautilus Lounge to the gangway, shaking in our housecoats as we prepared to immerse ourselves into the Fjord of Eternity. The icy plunge nearly stopped our hearts, but our collective spirits were renewed!

Murre

© Dennis Minty

On our Zodiacs we travelled past colossal glaciers and bird cliffs, where thousands of kittiwakes and thick-billed murres nested in crags on the sheer rock face. The scars of past glaciers were evident in every direction, and we witnessed some icebergs calving with a rumble and a crack. As we absorbed the landscape, we wondered: how many of them would be here for future generations?

Evighedsfjorden greenland zodiac 3

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

Our evening took place back in the Nautilus—by now feeling like our living room. Rob Saley, Jenn Wilkins, and Katherine Burns displayed their artwork for all to see, and champagne was handed out as we bid each other farewell.

Evighedsfjorden greenland zodiac 2

© Jessie Brinkman Evans

A final highlight awaited us the next day: the long-awaited variety show, featuring contributions from passengers and staff alike, and bringing our trip to a cheery conclusion in time for our last Zodiac ride: to Kangerlussuaq, where our plane would deliver us back to the world beyond.

Laura Baer’s parting summed up our journey wonderfully: “I’ve fallen in love with this type of travel, there’s something magic about these lands,” she said. “I’m in awe of this place, and I’m in awe of all of you.”

About the Author

Amy van den Berg

Amy van den Berg

Writer

About the Author:

Amy is a writer from Oakville, Ontario. She loves to travel and explore new places.

She has an undergrad in international development and a master's degree in journalism, and has lived in Banff, Alberta, and Newcastle, Australia (despite being an awful skiier and surfer).

You can find her published work in The Walrus, Broadview magazine, and This Magazine.