august 24 - 3. september 2022
One of the most inaccessible places in the world is East Greenland. Sea ice covering the coast for up to 10 months a year blocks the way from the east, and Greenland’s enormous ice cap blocks the way from the west. This is an untouched and solemnly visited area, where we find completely unique landscapes and undisturbed wildlife. On this expedition we also get a feeling of big ocean sailing on our way to and from Iceland.
On this expedition we get to feel Greenland's greatness. We will spend several days among the fjords, mountains, and glaciers along the northeast coast. This is an area very few have been before us and we will be far from civilization and truly alone. We must be careful and maneuver slowly, but we will also get to experience some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. In these waters at this time of year we no longer have the full midnight sun, but it will be quite bright even at nighttime, which is always a good starting point for an adventure trip.
After crossing the Danish straight from Iceland, we arrive at the inlet of Scoresbysound (Kangertittivaq). This is the world’s largest fjord system, made up of glaciers, mountains, and smaller fjords. Here there is a lot to see and discover. At the entrance to the sound we also find the northernmost settlement of Greenland’s east coast: Ittoqqortoormiit, which has just over 400 inhabitants.
We will really get the chance to explore Scoresbysound on this trip. We plan to sail around the large inland island called Milne Land. Here we will pass historic places such as Hekla Harbor, and we will experience unique landscapes like Øfjord and Bjørneøene. Perhaps we will even reach all the way up to the Northwest Fjord and the Stauniger Alps. Weather permitting, we will take plenty of time to go ashore and explore the most beautiful places.
After almost a whole week of exploring east Greenland and Scoresbysound, we hoist our sails again and set course back towards Iceland and the port city of Ísafjörður. The crossing takes around 2 days, and weather permitting we will take a trip on land on Iceland’s Westfjords to celebrate a successful and unforgettable expedition!
From SeilNorge we will be skipper, co-skipper and guide/crew onboard. All of whom are great sailors, and at least one of whom has solid experience from similar expeditions. We will work as guides and polar bear guards when we are ashore in the terrain. Along the way, sailing or on motor, we will include all participants in the sailing. We will generally sail at all times of the day, and everyone onboard will be running watches of 4 hours on and 8 hours off.
It's not just any sailboat we use on this trip, but the newest addition to our fleet: Hardagerjakta Alma. This slightly smaller replica of Amundsen’s well-known expedition ship “Gjøa” is a newly built traditional sailboat. She is a very solid 52-foot boat which weighs 45 tons, and has plenty of deck space to enjoy the views of Greenland’s mountain peaks, glaciers, and icebergs. Comfort on board is ensured by spacious below deck areas with central heating, a social galley midships, and cozy beds with warm duvets and pillows. For photos and more information about Alma, check this link.
This expedition, like our other longer trips, is first and foremost a great voyage of discovery, but also an excellent opportunity to learn about sailing and navigation. Using the boat as a starting point for discoveries and experiences ensures a truly unique experience. Are you ready for the summer’s big expedition to Greenland
The Arctic is a vulnerable area which is under pressures from humans and the changing climate. At SeilNorge, we are concerned with taking care of the environment as much as possible, and we believe that small boats with few people and little pollution and waste are much less harmful to the environment, climate, and local wildlife than larger boats and cruise ships. We also try to clean up rubbish and waste in the places we visit, instead of leaving anything behind. In Svalbard and Greenland, we follow AECO’s guidelines for encounters with wildlife, beach cleaning, and cultural heritage sites. You can read more about AECO’s guidelines here.
Great program, nice atmosphere, fantastic nature experiences, professional and skilled skipper and co-skipper that involve the crew in a good way. Memories for life with great people in a good atmosphere”
Day 1: Trip start in Ísafjörður
We meet at 12.00 on the harbour in Ísafjörður, on the northwest coast of Iceland. We start with getting to know each other, before we go through the schedule for the week. We get to know the boat and the equipment, and finish packing provisions and equipment. Life onboard requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures onboard, for sailing and emergency situations. We start sailing out of Isafjordur on this first evening.
Day 2 - 3: Across the Danish Strait from Iceland to Greenland
The first sea crossing stage is about 230 nautical miles, and we will spend around 2 days, depending on the weather and the wind. We sail straight north from Iceland and aim for a bit south of the inlet to Scoresby Sound. During the crossing, we can truly feel the connection to nature, as we won’t have mobile coverage but will be in touch with the raw forces of nature. The sea birds will follow us out to sea, and maybe we will even be lucky enough to get a visit from some dolphins playing around the bow. Once we see Greenland’s steep coast on the horizon, it will be exciting to see where we make landfall.
Day 4: Scoresby Sound, the world’s largest fjord
We quickly notice that everything in Greenland is huge. Just the entrance to this fjord is 27 kilometers wide, and inside we find a huge system of fjords and glaciers. After the experience of the crossing, it is nice to get into the fjord where there are generally calmer waters and weather. We start the journey into the fjord along the steep and glacier-clad southside and spend almost a full day here. Maybe we will get all the way to Hekla Harbor where we can anchor for a good night’s sleep.
Day 5 - 7: Around Milne Land
There are so many exciting places to visit once we arrive in Scoresby Sound. Here we can sail between icebergs as large as apartment blocks, huge glaciers that calve in the sea, and granite cliffs towering to up to 2000 meters above sea level. We set course around the inland island Milne Land, where we find many of our favorite places like Snesund, Øfjord, and Bjørneøene. We anchor up to allow for trips on land to explore. Hopefully we will find enough firewood for a campfire on the beach, and we will take the opportunity to go for a hike or two during these days.
Day 8: Ittoqqortoormiit
After some fulfilling days of exploring the inner parts of Scoresby Sound, we set course east again, towards the inlet of the fjord. Here lies the east coast’s northernmost settlement, the village of Ittoqqortoormiit. There are more than 400 inhabitants here, all living in small wooden houses in the coolest colors. We arrive at the warmest days of the year, and the residents spend most of the time outside and enjoy the sun before the tough winter returns.
Day 9 - 11: Back across the Danish Straight from Scoresby Sound to Ísafjörður
We leave the huge fjord massif of Scoresby on track to return to Iceland in good time. Along the way we can expect to see more icebergs, but also whales that both sleep on the surface and swim and dive. Ísafjörður is a charming little port town where we will get the chance to rest both our bodies and souls: here we find both good swimming pools with both hot and cool water, as well as delicious restaurants and bars that we can check out. Well done, and welcome back ashore!
This program should be viewed as a starting point that we adapt to the weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to continually improve the tour program for the better. With us along the way, we always have lightweight boats for beach landings and small expeditions, we have fishing gear for the cod, and equipment for bonfires and trips ashore - we are ready for adventure!
Trip deposit and payment
You only pay deposit (NOK 6000) at booking, the rest is due 60 days before departure.
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also gives another start to a holiday. Cycling, taking the train or driving a car together are good alternatives! Feel free to add some extra time before and after, since up in the north weather that can sometimes change your plans…
From Iceland there are many different routes. One option are the ferry route from Denmark via Faroe Islands. There are also several daily departures and arrivals by plane from the Nordics, Europe and America. If you want to sail more, you can join us on the rest of this expedition, which goes from Iceland and all the way home to Norway, via the Faroe Islands and Shetland.
Safety and risk - in general
We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. On board the boat and trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant is trained quickly enough to be a participating crew, not a passenger. It contributes to learning, sense of achievement and increased safety for all. This is also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses, you are trained to be one of the crew members on board.
Mountain hikes and alpine/backcountry trips involves a certain risk, as does sailing. However, we as an operator, and our skippers and guides, do everything we can to minimize the risk in a professional manner. Everyone gains on this and we have no one to lose.
In terms of risk, we sail a safe and sturdy steel boat that is well equipped for this type of trip. However, all sailing in general, and sailing in arctic regions, involves a certain risk that you must be willing to take.
Feel free to contact us for a chat and guidance about risk.
Level of this trip
Sailing wise, our trips are not difficult, and you are always welcome to join us! We have with us both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. However, you must be prepared for everything from no wind to sailing in harsh weather. If you are a beginner, we will try to make you a seaman/woman as soon as possible. If you are experienced you will be given responsibility and greater challenges.
In Northern Norway and the Arctics we must be prepared for all seasons, often during a single day. It’s a part of the experience; it’s wild, beautiful and raw – in all aspects, also with regards to weather. Prepare for the contrasts! For us the most important thing is to enjoy the ride and the sailing. Use what you have, borrow if you can, and invest in something new if you must. In good time before departure we will send you a detailed recommended packing list for this trip.
Food and cooking
On our trips everyone contributes to the operation of the boat, so as long as you have not booked one of our trips with a designated chef, all take their turns in the galley during the trip. Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. In advance of the trip, we set up a menu and shop what is needed. We try to offer good menus with healthy and “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences let us know in the registration form, and we will take that into account. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
What we expect from you
We want you to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat, whether it is sailing, docking, navigating, looking for whales and icebergs, washing up, cooking, clean the boat or contribute in other ways when required. Our trips require a little effort from all participants - and you should be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people go very well together. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least do things with new people with different personalities than one might be used to, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable stories :)
Life on board and accommodation
Life on board a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate and crowded, which is important to be prepared for. On our trips everyone participates in the operation of the sailboat and everyone is considered crew. We would like to get to know you well and hope that you will get to know everyone else on the sailboat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences are quickly what will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. The accommodation is in single bunks in one of two common cabins/roms onboard. The distribution is quite a puzzle, but we do believe we are quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.Any accommodation before and after the trip must be arranged on its own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we’re happy to give you some recommendations.
On the boat we have a lot of heat and a lot of good food, but not always abundance of fresh water.
What kind of people join this trip - and how many are we on board?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, some travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and committed people you become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but that is not so important to us. It doesn't matter if you are young or old as long as you want to go on a trip and intend to do your part so that you and the rest of the crew will have a good trip together. The number of participants varies from trip to trip. If we get many participants, we will expand with more boats and skippers. On most trips we sail more boats in a fleet, with 7-9 people onboard each boat.
ECO, Environment and sustainability
Both sailing and hiking/alpine/backcountry trips are environmentally friendly activities and we sail as much as we can and use the engine as little as possible. We encourage crew and participants to travel as environmentally-friendly as possible, and we use local ingredients and resources as far as possible. We also have our own trips where we collect litter and clean ocean trash from beaches.
Philosophically we often say that sailing is an exercise in sustainability; we move with the wind and we have limitations on things like water, diesel, electricity and food. In order to run sustainable - knowledge, patience, agility and hard work are required. The same applies to almost everything you try to do in a sustainable way.