HDS13-23, trip log, East Greenland, Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Akureyri- Embarkation Day

Akureyri- Embarkation Day
Fecha: 09.09.2023
Posición: 65°69.12’N / 018°08.68’W
Viento: N6
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +8

Finally the day we long expected has arrived. Our expedition to the East Greenland was about to begin. We arrived from Reykjavik to Akureyri in the afternoon, having travelled from all over the world to reach this northern corner of Iceland. Once everyone was on board, we took part in the necessary safety briefings, including an emergency drill, and were shown where important safety features of the ship are, such as the lifeboats. We then spent some time familiarising ourselves with the layout of our new home, Hondius, got settled into our cabins, and enjoyed the views outside as we set sail towards Greenland. Before dinner, Captain Ernesto wished us well on our journey with a toast in the lounge, along with some delicious snacks and bites.

Later our Expedition Leader, Hans, introduced himself, and we got to know the entire expedition team: many interesting people with fascinating backgrounds. We then headed to the restaurant for a delicious first buffet dinner. After a lovely first dinner on the ship, we went to enjoy the views outside while the ship was cruising. Some of us went to bed early after a long day of travelling. We all were very excited for the trip to come.

Day 2: At Sea Denmark Strait

At Sea Denmark Strait
Fecha: 10.09.2023
Posición: 68°57.1’N / 020°47.8’W
Viento: NNW3
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +4

When we woke up this morning, we found ourselves steaming across the Denmark Strait at an impressive speed of 13 knots, taking advantage of the calm sea, light winds and good visibility. From the northern coast of Iceland, we had made good progress over the night towards the Eastern coast of Greenland, to the mouth of Scoresby Sound, which we aimed to reach around evening time. The moderate pitching over the night was replaced by a gentle rolling during the morning and soon we were woken up by Hans’s announcement of the PA system. From the bridge a small pod of Orcas had been spotted, thus we rushed out of bed, got quickly dressed and moved to the bow and the outer decks to witness this incredible moment. A small family of four individuals including a calf, swam from portside to starboard right in front of our eyes. Big white patches right upon the eyes of this spectacular marine mammals were clearly visible together with their prominent and point dorsal fins.

Captain Ernesto slowed down the vessel, and for a little while longer than fifteen minutes, the small pod kept the pace of the ship on the starboard side, less than 100m away. Then another individual, a big male, appeared on the portside. First in the distance, then slowly approaching us and finally cruising by the stern of the ship. His immense dorsal fin marked with scars and a beautiful grey saddle.

The morning continued smoothly with mandatory briefings about Zodiac operations, AECO guidelines and Polar Bear safety guidelines. Then time came to get our boots handed over by the incredible and funny expedition team, and right before lunch buffet was served in the dining room, we had the first glimpse of the coast of Eastern Greenland with some glimmering tabular icebergs popping out from the blue waters of a smooth Denmark Strait.

Right after lunch, Misha introduced us with the life of migratory birds, followed by Laurence and his marvellous introduction to “Greenland the greatest island in the world”, while the afternoon was wrapped up by Koen and his “Introduction to photography”. While gently gliding into the entrance of Scoresby Sund, we moved into the early evening and our daily recap. Hans, our expedition leader, presented ‘Plan A’ for tomorrow, followed by Nicole explaining the Orcas’ life and behaviour we had observed earlier in the morning. Simone presenting the workshop she will be holding during the next week and Bill wrapped up the evening with a sensational “Looking, Seeing, Thinking, Understanding” talk. A delicious dinner followed before everyone was again outside on the upper decks for a fantastic sunset over the immense Greenland Ice Sheet.

Day 3: Vikingebugt and Danmark Island

Vikingebugt and Danmark Island
Fecha: 11.09.2023
Posición: 70°28.1’N / 025°07.3’W
Viento: SW5
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +6

With images of last night's magical northern lights still fresh in our minds, some of us still had the courage to get up early and watch the sunrise over Vikingebugt, our next destination. After breakfast, the expedition team invited us for our first Zodiac outing. Weather conditions were perfect, and we head out into a huge fjord, lined with basalt cliffs bearing witness to past volcanic activity. As we advance, we could see the superb glacier at the bottom of the fjord. A few glaucous gulls flew overhead, creating a magical atmosphere.

Just as we're about to finish crossing the fjord and head for the Hondius, we were delighted to see two polar bears resting on the moss-covered slopes. Everyone had the chance to observe the kings of the Arctic before returning to the ship for a well-deserved lunch. After lunch, the ship moved to a position opposite to Danmark O, an island where we offered three hikes of varying lengths. Everyone could stretch their legs and set foot on a piece of Greenlandic land.

While some reached to a high point to enjoy the splendid panorama, others did photograph arctic hares and walked through typical arctic vegetation, slow-growing, century-old willows just a few centimetres tall, whose branches grow right on the ground to withstand the extreme winter weather. Then it was time to head back to the Hondius, where Hans presented us with tomorrow's program. Pieter talked about parhelia, an optical phenomenon observed in the sky early in the day, and the reasons for the cold temperatures in polar regions. After dinner, some of us head off to bed early, having not forgotten to set an alarm for the middle of the night, so that we could once again enjoy the magical light that Arctic sky.

Day 4: Røde Island and Langenaes

Røde Island and Langenaes
Fecha: 12.09.2023
Posición: 70°27.9’N / 028°08.5’E
Viento: Variable 1
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +4

Today was an emotional rollercoaster of a day in East Greenland. Once again, we were blessed with the most glorious sunny weather, which only added to the breathtaking beauty that unfolded before our eyes.

Our morning started with a Zodiac cruise along the shore of Red Island. It was like stepping into a dream. There, amid an "iceberg graveyard," twinkling and shimmering in millions of blue and ice hues, we witnessed a spectacle like no other. It felt like we were sailing through a magical wonderland, where nature itself had painted the most glorious palette for our eyes to behold. We were left awe-struck, surrounded by towering icebergs that glistened under the sun's rays. It was a scene that will forever be etched in our hearts.

But the wonders of the day did not end there. We also had the incredible opportunity to step foot on Red Island itself. As we climbed its rugged hills, we were greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. From high up, it seemed as if we were soaring with the birds, taking in the dramatic fjords and majestic icebergs. It was a perspective that filled our souls with a deep sense of gratitude and awe for the magnificence of Mother Nature.

In the afternoon, Hondius repositioned to the Rode Fjord area, and we eagerly set foot on the shore once again. This time, we embarked on a challenging journey up a high hill. Each step was a test of our determination and physical strength, but those who made it to the top were rewarded with a view that defied words. Beneath our feet stretched a monumental glacier, spanning a staggering 100 kilometres in length or more. It was a sight that left us breathless and humbled. The glacier's towering margin, standing more than 50 meters high, reminded us of its sheer power and relentless movement as massive icebergs floated nearby. It was a stark reminder of the delicate balance that exists within this icy kingdom.

Time seemed to stand still as we stood there in awe, absorbing the magnitude and fragility of our surroundings. Some of us couldn't resist the lure of exploration and embarked on an even longer hike around the glacier's margin. The experience was both thrilling and humbling, as we ventured further into the heart of this frozen wonderland.

As the day ended, we returned to the warmth and comfort of our ship, carrying within us a wealth of incredible experiences. And as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the Arctic landscape, we couldn't help but be filled with a profound sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to witness the raw beauty of East Greenland, gratitude for the resilience of this icy kingdom, and gratitude for the memories we have made together on this emotional journey. With hearts full and a newfound appreciation for the wonders of our world, we head to bed tonight, eagerly anticipating the adventures that await us tomorrow.

Day 5: Bjørneøer and Sydkap / Ingmikertikajik

Bjørneøer and Sydkap / Ingmikertikajik
Fecha: 13.09.2023
Posición: 71°13.4’N / 025°0.’E
Viento: SW3
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +3

We, the guests aboard this incredible ship, had such an exciting day in Scoresby Sound! The morning began with a thrilling Zodiac cruise and a hike in Bjorneøer (Jytte Havn), and let us tell you, the sights were breathtaking. As we glided through the crystal-clear water, surrounded by magnificent icebergs, our cameras worked overtime to capture every angle of their majestic beauty. It was as if we had entered a frozen wonderland.

Later in the evening, during our daily recap session, our knowledgeable guide Marco shared with us his extensive knowledge about icebergs. We learned about the various shapes, sizes, and unique features that make these frozen giants so captivating. It was a fascinating insight into a world we had only glimpsed before.

During our hike, we were lucky to witness the remnants of a glacier, as we traced the path of its moraines. The U-shaped valley carved by this powerful force of nature left us awe-inspired, and we just had to capture the majestic scene in a photograph.

In the afternoon, we embarked on a hike in Sydkap, navigating the bumpy tundra with every step. Our trek led us through varied tundra, with stunning panoramic views of East Greenland. Little did we know that our adventure would conclude with an opportunity to take a polar plunge, jumping headfirst into the freezing arctic waters. But before we took the plunge into the icy waters, we enjoyed some warmth and comfort by sipping on delicious hot apple juice. It was an exhilarating and once-in-a-lifetime experience that will forever be etched in our memories.

As night fell, we gathered on deck for a delightful BBQ under the stars, accompanied by the sound of laughter and the joyful beats of music.

We danced and celebrated, cherishing the camaraderie among our fellow adventurers. East Greenland had truly stolen our hearts, and we couldn't help but feel grateful for this extraordinary journey.

Tomorrow, we eagerly await the surprises and wonders that Day 6 will bring. Stay tuned for our next thrilling update!

Day 6: Ittoqqortoormiit and Nøkkedal, Hurry Fjord

Ittoqqortoormiit and Nøkkedal, Hurry Fjord
Fecha: 14.09.2023
Posición: 70°26.0’N / 022°09.8’E
Viento: Variable 1
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +3

And so began our sixth full day aboard the ship! After a night of Northern lights galore, stretching across the skies all above us and dancing merrily, we awoke to perfect light conditions, a clear blue sky in Scoresbysund. In front of us stretched the town of Ittoqoortoormit, the only settlement of native people in the east of Greenland. Colorful houses cover the landscape, each of them having a specific role due to their coloration. After a lovely breakfast, we set off to explore the ways of life of this remote part of the world.

As we arrive, the sun shining, the people go about in their busy lives. There is a bearded seal roped to the pier, hunted somewhat previously, as well as polar bear hides and musk ox skulls, hinting at a different relation to nature than the one we have in our homes. You could visit the church, the shop to buy some locally made handicrafts, the museum, and just walk around and try to imagine existing in a place like this. At 10. am, the sledge dogs were fed, causing howls to permeate throughout the village. Ravens flew over, husky pups were petted, and then it was already time to go home. Usually, this place has a rather somber feel about it, but today the locals seemed cheerful, perhaps caused by the changing seasons and blissful weather.

After an amazing lunch as per usual, acknowledged by many as the best meal on the ship, we relocated to Hurry Fjord. Here, we were separated into different hikes of varying difficulty. The long hikers went up the slope, encountering Arctic Hares and Rock Ptarmigan along the route, whereas the medium hikers went deep into the valley for a nice leg stretch. The short hikers went on a gentle tour, making many stops and basking in the silence of the arctic as often as possible. The time was favorable, gentle, the seas flat calm, it was a time of bliss. Back on the ship, everyone proceeded to dinner and then busied themselves with photos, reading, drinks or just enjoying the outside. Another lovely day in Greenland, another day full of natural insights and spectacular scenery.

Day 7: Rømer Fjord and Turner Sund

Rømer Fjord and Turner Sund
Fecha: 15.09.2023
Posición: 69°13.0’N / 023°37.7’E
Viento: SE4
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +3

Unbelievable… beyond belief… amazing! We woke up to another superb day, what a trip we were having, great weather every day. Hondius edged slowly into the mouth of Romer Fjord and Turner Sund whilst the dark masses of the mountains loomed majestically over. A perfectly calm dark sea… These were ideal conditions for the kayak group who were to set off on a major all-day expedition to the end of the Fjord .

Everyone else boarded Zodiacs for a short cruise to a perimeter landing beside the hot springs in Romer Fjord. Guides [ heavily armed! ]were posted as guards on high ground in an arc around the site enabling us the freedom to wander at will… perusing the profusion of colourful plants sprouting healthily from the rocky landscape around the bubbling springs. It was a truly spectacular sight. Steam rose into the air from the hot rocks, in some places the extruded water exceeded 55 degrees. Musk Ox and Arctic Hare were sighted in the distance on the tundra landscape. After this landing everyone returned for lunch on board the ship.

Meanwhile we in the kayaks paddled steadily up the fjord encountering sheet ice forming on the surface after the half-way point . Water temperature was 2.8 degrees and the air temperature fluctuated around 2 degrees. Zodiacs and kayaks churned through this crisp transparent layer to reach the base of a multi-drop waterfall cascading down, a series of rocky terraces on the rugged mountain side on the right. We landed and had leisurely picnic lunch before being led by Bill up to the base of the falls. We left the kayaks on the beach Zodiac cruised through the crackling ice towards the head of the Fjord.

After-which we started the long paddle back to vessel which was a distant image sandwiched between the towering mountains on the horizon …somewhat dauntingly miles away at the head of the Fjord. Eventually as the sun vanished behind the mountains, it became much colder, and as this coincided with our flagging strength, we all decided to opt to board the Zodiacs and to tow the kayaks the remaining distance to our distant home. As this was happening the ‘landing group’ on a lengthy Zodiac cruise first in Romer Fjord then in Turner Sund.

Sadly, for the last time on this expedition as the activities ended and our adrenaline slumped, we all returned to Hondius feeling tired but once again incredibly happy.

The evening ended with the viewing and judging of the creative entries in the various categories of the photo competition. It was another memorable Oceanwide Expedition Day.

Day 8: At Sea Denmark Strait

At Sea Denmark Strait
Fecha: 16.09.2023
Posición: 67°09.1’N / 019°20.2’W
Viento: E6
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +5

There and back again… Once more we woke up to a gentle rolling of the ship while Hondius crossed over the Denmark Strait into open ocean. It was hard to believe that we were in these same waters just a week ago. We had such an unforgettable week of adventures in East Greenland, it felt like it was ages ago when we last were in the open ocean. Early risers were rewarded with a sight of a wonderful breaching Minke Whale just before breakfast. All of us had a long leisurely breakfast chatting with the friends we made during this wonderful voyage. Morning was slow and peaceful.

Our expedition team had a very interesting lecture program prepared for us. We first heard from Regis. He talked about the time he spent in the Northeast Greenland National Park, where he was involved in a research project studying various Arctic bird species. It was a very well-prepared talk with lots of interesting information. Then we were delighted to hear from Hazel, who talked about Polar Bears, the true kings of the Arctic. We learnt all about these amazing critters and felt very lucky and privileged for having seen not one but two of them early in the voyage. Before lunch we were called to return our muck boots. It was a sad affair, since it meant that our expedition was coming to an end. Lunch was excellent as always. Our Galley team went beyond and above to feed us with the most delicious food every single day of the journey. After lunch, our Captain Ernesto informed us that because of a heart-breaking development we had to cancel our plan to cruise around Grimsey Island. Instead, we were heading to Akureyri full speed.

Afternoon we heard from Bill and Jakub respectively. Bill talked about art in the sea and made us rethink our significance in the grand scheme of things. As one of the glaciologists on board, Jakub presented us with a lecture on the future of ice. Around 6pm, we were invited to the lounge once more by the Captain Ernesto himself. Just like we did the first day of the voyage, we raised our glasses to the wonderful journey we had together. We also had a chance to see Koen’s marvelous slideshow. It brought tears to our eyes. Such a wonderful expedition we had!

Day 9: Akureyri- Disembarkation Day

Akureyri- Disembarkation Day
Fecha: 17.09.2023
Posición: 65.6912° N, 18.0868° W
Viento: SW2
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +7

Today we were gently awakened by Hans’s voice for the last time, heading to the restaurant for our final breakfast. We gave our fond farewells to the wonderful hotel and restaurant crew who had helped make our voyage unforgettable.

As the buses arrived at the pier, it was time to disembark. We stepped off onto dry land and back into the real world. We said goodbye to the expedition team, the crew, and the ship of Hondius. Some of us shed a tear at the bittersweet moment. We had shared such an incredible trip and were sad for it to end, but we were leaving with memories to treasure forever!

Thank you for travelling with us and for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!

Total distance sailed: 1072 Nautical Miles

Farthest north: 71°13.04’N / 0°25.0’W

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Ernesto Barria, Expedition Leader Hans Verdaat, Hotel Manager William Barnes, and all the crew and staff of M/V Hondius, it has been a pleasure travelling with you!


Código del viaje: HDS13-23
Fechas: 9 sept. - 17 sept., 2023
Duración: 8 noches
Barco: El Hondius
Embarque: Akureyri
Desembarque: Akureyri

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Aboard El Hondius

El Hondius es el primer barco de clase polar 6 registrado en el mundo y fue construido desde cero para cruceros de expedición.

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