PLA15-17, trip log, Spitsbergen – Northeast Greenland

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation, Longyearbyen, Adventfjord

Embarkation, Longyearbyen, Adventfjord
Fecha: 29.08.2017
Posición: 78°14.0’ N / 015°35.8’ E
Viento: light air
Clima: overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +7

Some of us had just arrived at the Longyearbyen airport as scheduled. For the ones who were supposed to come last night, the plane was not able to land due to fog, but the new flight landed by midday at 78 degrees North. We had a few hours to explore Spitsbergen’s small capital city, visiting the museum and the church. At 16.00 we were able to board M/V Plancius. Sandra, our Assistant Expedition Leader, greeted us on the pier and we took the first steps up the gangway into the ship. Once on board, Hotel Manager Dejan welcomed us. And with the help of the hotel crew we settled into our cabins; our luggage was already there! We had a few minutes to wander around and get familiar with the interior of the ship, as this would be our home for the two following weeks. By 17:00, all passengers were on board and Plancius cast off the pier and started sailing into Adventfjorden. We were soon gathered in the observation lounge to be briefed about safety on board. The briefing was held by First Officer Artur who was talking about ship safety and how to prepare for the worst. A general alarm-drill (seven short blasts followed by one long) was made, and we all took the SOLAS orange life jackets and mustered in the lounge guided by crew and staff. After a roll call to assure everyone was present, we went out to the lifeboats hoping to never actually have to use them again. After a short break to enjoy this scenic navigation, Christian, our Expedition Leader, invited us for another briefing about life on board given by Dejan. We were a very multicultural/international group. All orientation material was given both in German and English. Dejan introduced us to the ship, hotel operations and dining room meals while Christian introduced the expedition team. Captain Evgeny joined us in the lounge for a welcoming toast of sparkling wine or juice before we headed down to the dining room for our first scrumptious dinner prepared by Head Chef Ralf and his staff. Some of us were eager to get out on deck to enjoy the arctic light and views of Northern Fulmars and Kittiwakes. An exciting first day came to an end, but that was the start of many more adventures to come in the following two weeks.

Day 2: Northwest Spitsbergen: Raudfjord and Magdalenefjord

Northwest Spitsbergen: Raudfjord and Magdalenefjord
Fecha: 30.08.2017
Posición: 79°47.9’ N / 010°28.0’ E
Viento: N-8
Clima: snow
Temperatura del Aire: +1

Many of us were already awake before Christian’s wake up call, the movement of the ship to which we were still trying to get used to, was the responsible for keeping us in veil. Christian informed us that we had 30 knots of wind outside and that visibility was very poor. It was indeed, some of us plucked up courage and went outside to check it out, and While we approached our intended landing site in order to scout conditions there, we attended the mandatory briefings on zodiac operations and polar bears after which we were given our rubber boots. When we thought that the morning was almost gone, Christian surprised us with an announcement, we were going ashore! We all rushed to our cabins to get ready and in no time we were by the gangway, still trying to figure out the lifejackets! We landed on Alicehamna, a beautiful harbour within Raudfjord, completely covered in fresh snow; it looked magical. We soon split up in different groups with different pace and we went out exploring the site, closely followed by our guides. We had some first approaches with birds like Purple Sandpipers, black-legged Kittiwakes and Arctic Skuas but above all we were taking in the splendid Arctic. Back on the ship we warmed ourselves up again and had a comforting meal while the ship repositioned for the afternoon activity. The wind was still blowing as we sailed into Smeerenburfjord first and then through Sørgattet Strait into Magdalenefjord afterwards, the sun was shining now and the light enhanced even more the beauty of the landscape surrounding us. Once again our Expedition Leader surprised us, we were going to land on Gravneset (norwegian for “The Grave Peninsula”). This was the chosen place by 17th century whalers to establish a whaling station that worked until 1623. The name of this place is a clear reference to the approximately 130 graves that can be found here, one of the three largest burial areas in Spitsbergen. When whaling turned into a pelagic activity, Gravneset still continued to be visited for freshwater, repairs and burials. The crosses of the graves are gone, either because they fell victim to the weather or because the trappers that followed the whalers’ steps used them as firewood. Not only coffins but also some skeletons have surfaced due to the constant freezing and melting of the ground. We split once again in 3 different groups and went out on a hike, filling our memory cards with images of the amazing landscape. After a nice hike we went back on board where a delicious dinner was waiting for us. Some of us stayed in the lounge for a while before going to bed as we sailed into open sea towards Greenland.

Day 3: At sea

At sea
Fecha: 31.08.2017
Posición: 78°18.8’ N / 000°06.8’ E
Viento: N-4
Clima: cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +4

Today we woke up at sea in route towards the biggest island in the word: Greenland. The morning was the time to catch up with what we had left behind the day before; it was time for recaps and lectures. We started our educational program with an Introduction to Spitsbergen/Svalbard given by Gérard. It was a review of the Arctic Archipelago’s geography, geology, flora and fauna, and the human presence and its political status. Right after the lecture we heard over the P.A. system that there were some blows ahead, we gathered in the lounge, the bridge and the outer decks to see these giants of the sea. They seemed to be fin whales, but they were quite elusive. Some of them came a bit closer and we managed to confirm the species. After an hour, Plancius resumed the navigation and we went to the dinning room for a recap about the activities we had done in Svalbard and to listen to the new plans. We also learned from Steffi about the life and adventures of Wanny Woldstad, the first female trapper that lived in Svalbard. After a nice buffet lunch, the first pieces of sea ice started to show up here and there in the water. Christian announced the first tabular iceberg of the trip. It was time to go to our cabins, dress up warmly, get our cameras and go out on deck. It was a big tabular iceberg, square shaped, with lines of blue and some white. In every place of the ship it was possible to hear the “click”, “click” of our cameras taking pictures. Later in the afternoon we reached the sea ice, what a delight to see the white in the horizon! At first, it was just open water with big and small ice floes at a certain distance from each other, but then, Plancius went deeper into the icy world and we noticed that the ice had caused the swell to calm down. Most of us were outside on deck checking for wildlife, we saw a group of harp seals swimming nearby the ship, and there was an astonishing number of ivory gulls flying around us. We also spotted Pomarine Skua, Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, Northern Fulmars and some beautiful Little Auks. By dinner time, Plancius made her way out of the ice. At night encountered some head winds and waves that made Plancius pitch her way overnight to the “Land of Men”. Another exciting sea day was waiting for us tomorrow.

Day 4: At sea

At sea
Fecha: 01.09.2017
Posición: 75°23.2’ N / 009°42.6’ W
Viento: W-4
Clima: cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +3

Traveling by sea was easy these days, as we made our way westwards, towards Greenland. The sea was quite calm, the visibility was perfect and we were making good speed towards our goal. We had been in open water all night, actually since we left the sea ice the day before, this meant that we had made such a good speed that Christian decided to take a slight detour to see if we could find more sea ice. The day started strangely, because it was our Hotel manager DJ that made the wakeup call, or rather there were no announcements before breakfast was announced. After breakfast and another cup of coffee, the day’s program started with a lecture by Valeria about the history of whaling, both in the Arctic and Antarctic. This lecture gave a good understanding of this gruesome industry, the extent of the hunt and the background of why this happened in the first place, very interesting for everyone listening and we all left the lecture knowing a bit more about this part of human history. Then was time for recap with Christian in the lounge, this was our Expedition Leader’s chance to tell us all about the plans for the close future, but also so that the Expedition Staff could explain a bit more in details some of the interesting things we had seen the past days. After a morning full of mental exercise, we were all famished, so time for lunch! After lunch, quite a few disappeared to the cabins and we had a little naptime before the afternoon’s lectures program. But before we could get the lectures started, Christian came in the PA to announce that there was sea ice in the horizon and that was time to go on deck and enjoy the fantastic weather, with no wind, sunshine and clear blue skies. As we got closer to the sea ice, there was one thing that went through the head of the Expedition Guides: “will we find polar bears here?” So it was with all eyes behind binoculars and scopes that we approached this habitat of the real king in the North. The scouting pays off! Christian spotted animals by a scope from the top deck, the distance was great and his eyes must be sharp like an eagle, because most of the rest of us could not find the animals at this distance. Then Captain Levakov himself took over the controls on the bridge, because as we approached the patch of sea ice where the bears had been found, we could see that there was quite a swell, more than a meter actually. The swell also made it perfectly clear that this ice was not thin first year ice, no, this was the mighty multiyear ice coming from the North Pole basin, several meters thick and the floes weighing more than Plancius itself. The ice combined with the swell made it very tricky fot navigation between the floes, so having the Master behind the wheel was very reassuring. We managed to get a very good look at the bears, in the beginning we were delighted to see that this was a mother with her two cubs! But as we came closer, we realised that there were at least two more, some said that they even saw a sixth bear close by. The mother and her cubs were eating a freshly killed seal, and the other bears might already have had their share of the same dish, because they looked very heavy and very lazy, so this were surely happy bears that we were lucky enough to get a good look at. We spent more than an hour with the bears and could observe how they interacted with each other and how they consumed the leftovers of the kill. At some point we had to pull back again an resume our cause towards Greenland, but there were lots of happy and smiling faces that went to warm up in the lounge, no one was sorry that the lecture program was cancelled! In the evening the good weather continued and the dinner was served on time, likxse every other night. What a day.

Day 5: Myggebugten and Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord

Myggebugten and Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord
Fecha: 02.09.2017
Posición: 73°24.7’ N / 021°14.9’ W
Viento: NE-3
Clima: overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +1

We arrived in Greenland and had our first landing at Myggbukta after breakfast. The good weather of yesterday was no longer present and a dense layer of low clouds was covering the whole sky. Soon after breakfast Christian announced the landing near a Norwegian cabin built in 1922. The zodiacs shuttled us to this cabin by groups of ten. After having a look at the inside, we separated in three groups with different rhythms of walk. While the long hikers started quickly with Kasper and Steffi in direction of the closest hill, the leisurely group stayed around the cabin with Christian and Gérard, having a lot of time to talk about the numerous species of plants seen in this rich tundra. The medium group went for an intermediate walk on top of some nearby undulated elevations with the rest of the guides. Although it didn’t look to be a good place for wildlife, some species of birds were spotted, including Pink-Footed Geese and Barnacle Geese. A few Musk Oxen were also seen through the mist but only with binoculars. While being ashore, the weather deteriorated and it snowed more and more. It was time to come back on board before being completely soaked and cold. During the afternoon, as the visibility did not improve and we were not able to look at the nice scenery of Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord, instead the staff invited us to some lectures. Gérard talked about Polar Bears and Miriam about the sea ice, two appropriate topics after the sightings of the previous day. At 18:30, we met Christina in the Lounge for a Recap. He explained us the plans for the following days in the fjord system on North-East Greenland. Kasper then gave us some general information about Greenland.

Day 6: Sunrise at Teufelsschloss, Blomster Bugt and Maria Ø

Sunrise at Teufelsschloss, Blomster Bugt and Maria Ø
Fecha: 03.09.2017
Posición: 73°19.7’ N / 025°17.5’ W
Viento: light air
Clima: clear
Temperatura del Aire: +1

Wake up call was earlier than usual today, but it was for a good reason, the sun was rising as we sailed into Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord. By 5.30 am many of us were already in the outer decks admiring the impressive landscape as the sun caressed the folded slopes of Teufelsschloss and the mountains all around. It was a breath-taking scenery. The hotel staff kindly brought some pastries to the bar that we very much enjoyed while we kept looking at the sunrise. At seven o’clock we heard the second wake up call and shortly after we had breakfast before getting ready for our morning landing. The day couldn’t be better, the sun was shining and not even a drop of wind was blowing, Blomster Bugt , the “Flower Bay”, was waiting for us. The place is named so due to the variety of plants that can be encountered but also it is a known spot for Arctic Hare and Musk Ox, our binos were ready! As we got ashore we divided in the usual groups, fast hikers, medium and leisurely and quickly dispersed on land. As we explored the area we saw more and more droppings of oxen, they had to be somewhere close. We finally caught sight of them! Although the hares remained elusive some of us had the chance to spot some Musk Ox in the distance. The morning went through and we were once again by the landing site ready to come back on board for the desired lunch. During the afternoon we sailed along Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord while we kept enjoying the views all over the place, some from the inside others from the outer decks. After a fairly long navigation, we arrived at Maria Ø a middle sized island named after the eldest daughter of the Swedish explorer Nathorst. The sky was partly covered with clouds but they still allowed a beautiful light to go through, and the water in the fjord was in absolute calm. As soon as we got ashore we divided into the usual groups and explored the coastline, the valleys and the higher ridges. The smaller things such as flowers, lichens and mushrooms caught our eyes but so did the wonderful landscape surrounding us. We explored the island for about two hours before we all met back onshore ready to board the zodiacs that would take us back to the ship and to the dinning room! Some of us gathered around Charlotte’s bar and had a drink while chatting about another awesome day in the far North.

Day 7: Segelsällskapet and Holm Bugt

Segelsällskapet and Holm Bugt
Fecha: 04.09.2017
Posición: 72°28.8’ N / 024°44.6’ W
Viento: SW-3/4
Clima: overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +3

In the morning Plancius made her way towards a very special place. The name is almost impossible to pronounce: Segelsällskapet in Swedish. To pronounce it more easily Sandra told us to remember the phrase… "Seagull Sells Carpet", more understandable in English. The place was named by A.G. Nathorst in 1899 after the Royal Swedish Yacht club. We landed on a nice pebble beach, close to a very fascinating geological formation. The rocks were made of many layers of red, yellow and brown lime-stone, polished by the huge glaciers that covered Greenland during the last ice age. As an alternative to the walking groups, the staff defined a perimeter within which we were allowed to walk freely at our own rhythm. Some of us enjoyed a bit of privacy and contemplation by sequestering away from the large group for a moment. We had a lot of time to observe and take photos of these very unique rocks. Even some of the ship’s crew members joined us in this unique place. After taking pictures of the most beautiful sights we divided into groups. The leisurely stayed behind, scattered and hung around the nicest rock formations on the beach, while the medium and fast groups set off in the direction of a nearby saddle. On the voyage up we saw many unusual geological formations and reddish tundra with prostrate dwarf willows and blueberry bushes, all quite reminiscent of autumn weather. Rocks rounded by ancient glacier movement and layered slates put down millions of years ago were commonplace in this fantastic landscape. The hikers found Musk Oxen on the other side of the saddle, past a beautiful lake and sneaked closer to get a better view. They were lucky and skilful enough to get away with a ‘unique picture’. The medium group stopped on top of the saddle and gathered. Getting closer to the lake, however, was a true delight. There was no wind, providing for an excellent reflection on the lake surface. Later, everybody headed back towards the zodiacs, and to the ship. In the afternoon we landed on Holm Bugt, a long sandy beach with a long flat tundra with some undulations and some hills and mountains on the background, roughly about 2 kilometres from the beach. Again we split into 3 groups and started our afternoon adventure, the long hikers aimed for the hills behind where they managed a quite rare and amazing sighting: a stoat in its white pelage jumping from rock to rock. The medium group walked towards a scenic river where they performed some exploration, and the third group had a nice walk over the flat tundra. In the evening we headed towards Scoresby Sound, getting there would take us a full night sailing and the weather forecast was not the best, so we prepared our cabins securing our cameras and fragile objects before we went to sleep.

Day 8: At Sea and Scoresbysund

At Sea and Scoresbysund
Fecha: 05.09.2017
Posición: 70°22.9’ N / 022°13.8’ W
Viento: NW-5
Clima: rain
Temperatura del Aire: +1

After yesterday’s landing, we set sails eastwards, out of the big fjord of Kong Oscar and out of the National Park of East Greenland. As we approached the open sea of the east coast, Plancius started to move, just a little at the beginning, but late in the evening the ship was really moving. Living on a ship means that we have to expect our home to move with wind and the waves, but when the action really starts it’s always more comfortable to lay flat instead of walking around. When we got up in the morning, and shuffled into the dining room for breakfast, there were a lot of tired faces and a lot of talking about sliding from side to side in the beds. The reason for all the movement was a low pressure front located between Iceland and Greenland, sending 50 to 60 knots of wind down from the north and this of course needed to happen when we had to sail out of one protected fjord and enter another. The morning was grey, with a bit of snow and wind, enough to make the tops of the waves white. After breakfast the program said that while sailing towards our afternoon destination, Kasper would give a lecture in the lounge. The subject of this lecture was the “History of East Greenland and the National Park”, something that clearly was close to the lecturer’s heart. Since Kasper does not speak German, Christian showed a lot of skill by translating the lecture into German simultaniously! After lunch we were soon let down by the fact that the wind had not died down enough to do the planned zodiac cruise, so Christian quickly made up a plan B, to go further into Scoresbysund in the search for better weather! To spend the time, Kasper was put on for a second lecture, this time about the SIRIUS patrol of Northeast Greenland. Our disappointment lasted only a short while, because as we made our way to the West, away from the sea, the weather improved! We were rewarded with some spectacular light falling on the icebergs of the inner Scoresbysund. The Captain skillfully manouvered the vessel between and as close as safety allows to these massive structures. The outside offers so spectacular sights that Kasper was happy to cancel his talk and joined everyone else on the outer decks. The evening was ended with the daily recap together with Christian and the Expedition Team and then dinner was served. Another good day on board the MV Plancius.

Day 9: Sydkap, Jytte Havn (Bjørneøer) and Arctic BBQ

Sydkap, Jytte Havn (Bjørneøer) and Arctic BBQ
Fecha: 06.09.2017
Posición: 71°17.4’ N / 025°00.7’ W
Viento: light air
Clima: cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +4

After a calm night at anchor, Christian woke us up at 7:00 am. As announced yesterday, we had the choice between a landing at Sydkap or a zodiac cruise. As some Arctic Hares were spotted near two former local houses, that are uninhabited nowadays, Christian changed his plans to give us the opportunity to have a look at them. We landed on a small rocky beach near those houses. As we were only about 40 people who chose to go on the hike, we separated only into two groups: fast and medium. The fast hikers headed towards a slope in order to reach the top of the neighbouring hill, while the medium group walked on a somewhat easier terrain along the shore. Some Arctic Hares were observed during the walk. At the same time, in the fjord, the other 60 of us boarded the zodiacs and went around some huge icebergs slowly drifting in the mouth of North-West Fjord. The icebergs were gigantic, and especially one of those massive pieces of ice was impressive showing many blue lines made of pure ice that originated from meltwater freezing inside the crevasses. During the lunch, Plancius moved westward to the entrance of Ø Fjord (the Fjord of Islands), close to a small archipelago named Bjørneøer (the Bear Islands). Captain drove Plancius carefully around a huge iceberg to choose the correct spot to anchor. We landed in a small cove of a place named "Jytte Havn", so called after a small wooden ship. As usual we made four groups of different speed. Surprisingly, this island was covered with a lot of vegetation, mainly Northern Willows, giving a predominant green-yellow colouration. As opposed to many other places, there were still a lot of flowers as if summer was lasting longer on this island. The four groups made a more or less long loop on this island to have a look to the other side with a picturesque sharp mountain range. During the afternoon, the weather improved and the sky cleared. Just after coming back on board, the sunshine appeared, giving us a bright view on the big iceberg near Plancius. The dinner was a bit particular: a barbecue on the back deck. The crew set up some tables and benches and many of us had dinner outside, while watching the magnificent light on the surrounding mountains.

Day 10: Ø Fjord, Harefjord and Rypefjord

Ø Fjord, Harefjord and Rypefjord
Fecha: 07.09.2017
Posición: 70°57.7’ N / 026°21.3’ W
Viento: SW-6/7
Clima: cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +3

Wake up call was a bit earlier today when Sandra announced that we were sailing into Ø Fjord while the sun timidly lit the landscape around us. The wind was blowing at about 30 knots but that was not an impediment for those of us in the outer decks enjoying the morning breeze. A second wake up call was heard at around 7.30 and shortly after we all gathered in the dinning room for a warm tea and deserved breakfast. The sun was shining brightly in a clear sky, and the sea was dead flat, somewhat like a mirror. We hopped on the zodiacs ready for our morning landing in Harefjord. The autumn colours, the blue sky and the majestic icebergs combined, created fantastic scenery. Once on shore Christian told us that there were some Musk Oxen around so we tried to reach a viewpoint within the perimeter that the expedition staff was marking. Unfortunately the oxen remained elusive but we still enjoyed the views from up the hill and the sun warming us up. Back on board we had lunch while the ship repositioned for the afternoon landing in Rypefjord. The day was getting warmer and we all had to put some layers away as soon as we started the different hikes in the usual groups. We were glad to learn that there were oxen on land; we had a second chance after all. Almost all of the groups managed to get a good sighting of these great animals. That was not an easy task, approaching them silently and without being seen was the central key for successful sighting, otherwise these nervous animals would’ve ran way. More than 3 hours later we were back on the landing site, longing for a fresh shower and a proper meal! In the evening we met at the bar for the recap where Christian told us that we should not be surprised if we heard an announcement late that night, we were on the quest for northern lights. We remained optimistic since the sky was still clear, ideal for these lights. It was close to midnight, not many were still around Charlotte’s bar, when we heard Christian’s voice, we had northern lights in the sky! Not only the Aurora Borealis but also an almost full moon in a quiet and clear night, just the perfect ending for a great day.

Day 11: Røde Fjord and Røde Ø

Røde Fjord and Røde Ø
Fecha: 08.09.2017
Posición: 70°41.5’ N / 027°53.7’ W
Viento: W-2
Clima: clear
Temperatura del Aire: +4

Last night we had little sleep, but it didn’t matter because we stayed up to watch the Northern Lights. While we were still dreaming about Auroras we heard the first wake-up call at 6 am to see the sunrise and jumped out of bed. It was another day full of activities. This morning's plan was to sail down Røde Fjord marvelling at the red mountains and white icebergs. It took us a couple of hours to sail the fjord and in the meantime we were delighted by the icebergs we saw along the way, some were electric blue, and they came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. As we progressed down the fjord, the density of icebergs became greater and greater. Our first stop was in Rolige Bræ with its super tall glacier front. As we approached the glacier with the zodiacs we entered into an “Icy Wonderland”: brash ice, small icebergs, big icebergs, bergy bits! The treat of the morning came when we saw a polar fox near the glacier, it was chasing two ravens in the steep slope and we all had a great view of it while it moved from one rock to another. We made our way back to the ship, but only for a short lunch while we were repositioning to Røde Ø (Røde Island, or Red Island in English). Right after lunch we boarded the zodiacs for an incredible zodiac cruise around the icebergs. The shallow waters around the island make these huge icy beasts to strand here and give us the perfect opportunity for pictures in the ice. The shapes, the colours, and the size of these pieces of ice were just astonishing. What a fantastic place! After a little over an hour and a half the zodiacs came to land in a small bay on the North of Røde island, which is indeed red, and cut by huge basaltic dykes. The intense colour comes from sediments of Carboniferous and Permian age, which were laid down in desert conditions, thus allowing the development of haematite. The brilliant red of the rock and some strange and magnificent rock formations, together with the huge concentration of icebergs grounded by the shallow water round the island made it an ideal contrast for pictures. From the small bay many of us went up the slop to reach a view point, there we gazed at the iceberg graveyard we had just cruised through, seeing it from a bird’s-eye view, which gave us quite a different perspective. While we were on top, two icebergs calved, the first one was a small one (but the echo around the island made it sound like a big thunder), but the second one was much bigger and the calving made the iceberg flip over completely. Back on the ship we set sail one more time, this time through Føn Fjord. Many of us went out on deck to enjoy the calm day and beautiful scenery. In the recap Christian and Sandra talked as usual about the plans for the next day, then Gérard talked about Northern Lights and Vale explained why the glacier ice is sometimes blue, after it was time for dinner.

Day 12: Igterajik and Ittoqqortoomiit

Igterajik and Ittoqqortoomiit
Fecha: 09.09.2017
Posición: 70°25.3’ N / 022°45.1’ W
Viento: W-2
Clima: cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +5

And then we sailed west, the long trip home had almost begun, but gladly, we still had a full day in Greenland to look forward to. The morning started at Kap Steward, at the entrance to Hurry Inlet. Here the Expedition Staff tried to get a landing going, but due to swell on the beach this plan was cancelled. So when everyone was back on board, a new plan B was made, to go further into Hurry Inlet and look for shelter, and to spend the time in a good way while we repositioned, Kasper held his second lecture. This lecture was about what he described as his biggest dream, it was about the SIRIUS patrol of Northern Greenland. His voice broke as he told about not making it into this small elite unit of the Danish Navy and it was apparent that this was a subject that was close to his heart. After this interesting lecture, Christian and the Expedition Team found a landing site that looked promising on the eastern shores of the Inlet. We set off for our last expedition landing of this voyage and were greeted ashore by a few very excited staff members, because this place was a former Thule Inuit settlement site, with house ruins and everything. So those interested in this could listen to stories about the Thule people and the rest could get out and stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Back on board we enjoyed lunch and then it was civilisation time. First a briefing about our visit to the settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit, the northern most settlement of East Greenland and one of the most isolated in the world. Coming here was strange, in many ways, first and foremost, because we suddenly saw other people, for the first time in a few weeks, but also because this was a special place. We visited the church, the local tourist office and had a walk around, most of us thinking about the remoteness of this place. Some returned quickly back to Plancius other spent as much time ashore as possible. Some visited the local policeman and his wife for a chat about life and art. Once back on board we had the daily recap where Christian told about the plans for the crossing to Iceland, Kasper told a little bit about the Thule people, in which he gave a very graphic explanation this time using a chair…and then our Hotel Manager DJ had bad news for us, the bills had to be paid the following day. To wash away our sorrow about the bills, we enjoyed another great dinner before we exited the shelter of the Scoresbysund and headed out into open sea, the Denmark Strait and potentially with a night full of rolling...

Day 13: At sea towards Iceland

At sea towards Iceland
Fecha: 10.09.2017
Posición: 67°59.4’ N / 019°57.3’ W
Viento: N-7
Clima: overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +2

Finally again a sleep in! There was no wake up call, only a breakfast call at 8 am, while the Plancius made her way towards Iceland on the Denmark Strait in 30 knots waves. Yesterday was our last day at beautiful Greenland, the land of people, and today we were on our way home, well, our way to Iceland in the first place. At 10.30 am a movie about the Sirius Patrol was on the programme, a movie that Kasper kindly was provided by friends of him who had joined this patrol. At 12.30 pm everybody was invited to the restaurant for lunch. Due to the strong movement of the ship, there was no buffet this time, but Nasi Goreng was served at the tables. In the afternoon Christian invited us into the lounge to show a picture show from his adventures in East Greenland. Our Expedition Leader is a skilful kayak paddler and has led several kayak trips in the fjords of Greenland, as guide but also in personal trips. Beautiful pictures and short videos were screened over the TVs of the lounge. The presentation was shortly interrupted by the call of the bridge that it was possible to see dolphins at starboard side… These marine mammals apparently heard the call and decided to not dive up anymore. Afterwards the horror started! The Hotel management “invited” us to come to the reception to pay the bills… While we were slowly coming closer to Iceland, the sea was calming down a little. Bird watchers got very exited to see the Northern Gannets flying around the ship. The last evening had finally arrived, however it was still a very diverse evening with the Captain´s cocktail, a last delicious dinner in the restaurant and last but not least the return of the rubber boots. Now it was time to pack the suitcases!

Day 14: Disembarkation in Akureyri (Iceland)

Disembarkation in Akureyri (Iceland)
Fecha: 11.09.2017
Posición: 65°41.6’ N / 018°05.0’ W

After the breakfast it was time to say goodbye – to the fantastic days on board Plancius, from the team, from new friends… The buses were already waiting for us, and the little blue expedition ship that became a home for us in the last two weeks had to be left behind while we were driving to with the buses to Reykjavik to continue our voyage or travel home. We will never forget this voyage and its unforgettable moments that were - also for the globetrotters among us - an amazing adventure with unique impressions of Spitsbergen and Northeast Greenland. We definitively know now how it feels to get infected by the polar virus the expedition team had mentioned. Some are already planning in their minds the next trip to the far North, or maybe the far South. Thank you very much for this wonderful voyage, for your flexibility and enthusiasm. We are looking forward to see you back on board at any time - in the North, the South or somewhere in between! Travelled distance on our voyage: Nautical Miles: 2044 Northernmost Position: 79°55,1 N / 011°04,8 E On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Evgeny Levakov, Expedition Leader Christian Engelke, Hotel Manager Dejan Nikolic and the rest of crew and staff on board MV Plancius: We wish you all the best and a good voyage home!