Departure from Copenhagen Airport with Greenland Air to Kangerlussuaq. From there we proceed with a smaller aircraft approx. 1 hour to Ilulissat. We stay at the old wooden hostel, the only hostel in town. The rest of the day is free for enjoying the special vibe of this typical Greenlandic town.
Sightseeing in and around Ilulissat. The town is in fact the third largest in Greenland and the town has lots of ambiance and culture. Nestled here at the banks of the UNESCO protected icefiord, the nature here is absolutely unique. We will pay a visit to the childhood home of the famous arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen. Today it is a museum and a fine starting point for getting an overview of the Greenlandic history and culture. We drop by the harbor to watch the hunters returning with their catch of the day. And maybe buy freshly caught fish for our dinner at the hostel.
First paddling day. After breakfast we organize a short transportation of our gear down to the waterfront where our kayaks are waiting. We take our time packing the kayaks as we have a relatively short distance to paddle. We head north up along the coast as we pass the harbor front and the airport area. Our destination today is Oqaatsut, a small fishing and hunting village just north of Ilulissat. 250 years ago this used to be a Dutch whaling station. The Dutch name Rodebay (Red Bay) indicates that it was quite a slaughterhouse. The main income today comes from trading halibut and seal.
Leaving Oqaatsut we spend the coming days exploring the Ataa-sound as we wind our way northwards. Here you will find myriads of little islands, skerries and fiords. This area offers plenty of opportunities to see whales. The most common ones are humpbacks and minke-whales. And occasionally a fin whale.
We want to reach Eqip Sermia, a geologically interesting area with a huge and very active glacier leading directly up to the Greenland Icecap. This used to be the starting point for numerous ice cap-expeditions led by the famous expeditioner, Paul-Emile Victor. If conditions are good, we might get a chance to hike up close to the ice cap rim. After spending a couple of days in this magnificent place we paddle west, bound for the abandoned settlement of Ataa beautifully situated natural harbor on the island of Allutoq. There is a nice creek running behind this once prosperous hunting and trading village - a resource of fresh trout through hundreds of years. A fresh dip to rinse off the saltwater from bodies and drysuits is recommendable.
Leaving Ataa we either follow the steep coastline of Allutoq or we make a direct crossing to the mainland. We head south as we search for yet another beautiful spot to camp. There are lots of fine spots with traces of old inuit culture as locals for generations searched for the same qualities in good camping areas as we do today.
We continue our way southwards as we leave Alluttoq behind us. A good day’s paddle will take us back to Oqaatsut. Depending on our urge for the comforts of civilization, we either camp just behind the village or approx. 1 km away by a river with good opportunities for collecting mussels and for fishing cod.
Last paddling day and we have plenty of time and a relatively short paddle ahead of us before going ashore back in Ilulissat where a beer and a shower awaits us. The evening should be celebrated with the legendary Greenlandic buffet at hotel Hvide Falk.
A full day of well-deserved relaxation at your leisure. For those with more appetite for adventure, there are plenty of optional activities. But really – none of the offered ones even begin to compare with the adventure you have just finished. For those with restless feet a hike to the ancient settlement of Sermermiut and to Holms Hill is recommended. You can also spend some time souvenir shopping in one of the many stores offering local crafts.
Transfer to the small local airport and return flight to Copenhagen.