Kayaking amongst Greenland’s Iceburgs
This incredible expedition level trip is a spectacular way to enjoy Greenland like never before.
It’s called falling in love because that’s just what happens to everyone who goes there. It’s impossible not to. Look at the photos. There’s nothing like the fjords of Uummannaq. The climate here is high arctic desert. In summer Uummannaq has 2000 hours of sun. The temps budge past 70° F at times and can occasionally dip to freezing. Annual rainfall is 2 inches per year. Some days are so calm the ocean is like a pond and the reflection of the mountains on the water makes you wonder which way is up. The 24 hour sun will tan your skin and live in your blood forever.
We travel self-contained in a tight group, paddling through the fingers of water that border the second largest ice cap in the world. Ice is floating everywhere, in batches of bergie bits to coliseum-like behemoths. The play of light on the ice and its constant booming in the fjord is pure magic. We’ll camp by pure fresh water streams and hike to mountain lakes at the edge of the ice cap. Whales blowing, icebergs rolling and shattering, fox sneaking through camp, the sun circling but not setting — these are just a few of the impressions you’ll bring home from Greenland. It’s a dream vacation for all who cherish nature and the glide of their kayak in clear waters.
Since there really is no night, you can explore and take pictures twenty-four hours a day. Just living in twenty-four hours of sunshine is a never-forgotten experience. We begin in Reykjavik, Iceland and stop at Kangerlussuaq on our way to the quaint Danish and Inuit village on the island of Uummannaq off the west coast of Greenland. We’ll stay in quaint guesthouses, enjoying their splendid fare before heading off for the start of our trip.
We’ll spend our paddling days amidst the smaller fjords within sight of the Greenlandic ice cap. The sights from our kayaks are expansive and breathtaking: 1500 foot gneissic rock walls rise beside us, distant glaciers gleam in warm sun, icebergs the size of convention centers drift with winds and currents, and the whales are on the roam.
We’ll also paddle on a freshwater lake and fish for landlocked arctic char in its cold depths. On several day hikes we’ll see waterfalls, wildlife, the ice cap and fjords. Nights are spent camping at sites near freshwater streams where we’ll take photos of arctic wildflowers, icebergs, whales blowing offshore and the dramatic play of light on massive rock faces.
Day 1 This is truly an expedition level trip. We’ll spend the first few days of the itinerary traveling to get to our final destination. You can arrange the travel on your own, but we usually find it easier for the group if we arrange it to make sure everyone makes it to Uumannaqq at the same time. Flight and travel costs are approximately $3000 from Reykjavik to Uumannaqq but please check with us when you book your trip to get the most up to date pricing. Greenland Air usually requires booking tickets months in advance. Day one is a travel day. After your arrival to Reykjavik, we’ll depart from Reykjavik, Iceland for Ilulissat. Overnight in Ilulissat. Free time to explore and Dinner with the group or on your own at your expense.
Day 2 (B, D) Fly to Qaarsut with short lay over and then helicopter to Uummannaq. Overnight in Uummannaq in a guest stay with a local family or small guesthouse with dinner served by the family or similar arrangements.
Day 3 (B, L, D) Free day to explore the town of Uumannaqq after enjoying breakfast with your local family, hike to Santas home and enjoy walking around this quaint little town. Lunch sack provided for you as guides prepare equipment for our trip. Overnight in a guest stay with a local family or small guesthouse with dinner served by the family or similar arrangements.
Day 4-13 (B, L, D) After a warm breakfast we’re off to the docks, we’ll plan to launch around noon with all our gear aboard. Our first campsite will be about 32 miles east of Uummannaq Island. Once there, we’ll set up our kayaks and campsite. We will have a safety talk and itinerary briefing before we explore the area for signs of Inuit hunters and arctic wildlife. We’ll spend our days paddling the waters of Greenland as we travel through the upper reaches of the Uummannaq Fiord region. Our days will be a mixture of exploring by kayak and layover days filled with day hikes and leisure time. We’ll camp by calving glaciers and freshwater streams. Our backdrop will be the innate beauty of 2,000 foot tall cliffs and the spectacular vista of ice fiords.
Day 14 (B, L, D) After enjoying 10 nights traveling through the Uummannaq Fjord region, it’s time to pack up and head back to Uummannaq. Today we’ll kayak back to Uummannaq island and conditions allowing arrange a fishing boat for the last leg of the journey, after arriving back to Uummannaq, free time on your own as the guides pack up the gear and dinner as a group.
Day 15 (B, D) Free day to explore the town of Uumannaqq as we prepare our journey back home. Dinner as a group for our final night in Uummannaqq.
Day 16 (B) Today we’ll wake up, pack up our gear and say our goodbyes to Uummannaqq for now then we’ll and hop on the helicopter for our journey to Qaarsut. Once in Qaarsut we’ll take a plane back to Ilulissat. After arrival we’ll take a shuttle to our hotel and have time to freshen up and enjoy dinner as a group or on your own at your own expense.
Day 17 (B) Wake up, enjoy breakfast and enjoy a free day in Ilulissat at your own leisure or with the group, lunch and dinner at your own expense.
Day 18 (B) Today we’ll wake up, enjoy breakfast and have some final free time to explore as we get ready for an early afternoon departure to Reykjavik. Arrive in Reykjavik in the evening and hop on your plane home or extend your stay a few days in Reykjavik at your own expense.
Chris Bandy With more than 25 years of expert wilderness paddling experience, co-owner Chris Bandy is a master guide who knows both wilderness and safety. He has been trained and certified by the American Canoe Association and specializes in teaching open water rescues techniques and navigation. Chris’s experience includes extensive paddling on Lake Superior-with its’ special challenges- and also paddling on most of the oceans on earth. He has been guiding our sea kayak adventures to Greenland, Lake Superior, the Bahamas and Vietnam for the past 15 years. Chris’s clients feel safe and well cared for. He’s well known for his ear to ear smile and adventure travel stories. You can’t travel with Chris without catching his adventurous spirit.