august 20 - 30. august 2023
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!
The program should be seen as a rough itinerary that we can adapt to the weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to change and improve our itineraries. We will have a dinghy for beach trips and small expeditions, fishing gear for cod, and gear to hike or make bonfires on the beach on all our trips - we are ready for adventure! Are you?
Deposit and payment
You pay a 6000NOK deposit when you book the trip, and the rest of the payment is due 60 days before the trip begins.
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage you to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also allows you to start your holiday in a special way. Cycling, taking the train, or driving a car together can be good options! Feel free to add some extra time before and after your trip, since up north the weather can be unpredictable and might affect your plans!
From Iceland there are many different routes. One option is the daily 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 our further expeditions from Iceland, towards Scotland, Norway, Faroes 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 a boat and on trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant are trained quickly enough to be a participant - not a passenger. It contributes to learning, a sense of achievement, and increased safety for all. It's also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses: you are trained to be one of the crewmembers on board. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.
Safety and risk - expeditions
On our expedition trips, we often spend multiple days on sea-crossings, and we sail into areas far from people and with extra risk factors, such as sea ice and unreliable navigations charts. This requires our crew to have extra focus and awareness of the potential situations that might arise. We sail in these areas only in the most optimal seasons, and use only our largest and most sturdy boats, which are both equipped and dimensioned to cope with this type of expedition sailing. We are fully aware that sailing is the safest and most accessible way to visit these very inaccessible places. However, sailing in general, and especially sailing in the Arctic and over the high seas, involves a certain risk that you must be willing to take. Feel free to contact us for a chat and guidance regarding risk.
Level of this trip
This is a sailing expedition where we will undertake multi-day sea crossings, which can be an incredibly wonderful and special experience! You do not need to have sailed before to be on board, and we are joined by both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. If you are a beginner, we want to make you a seaman / woman as soon as possible, and if you are experienced, you will quickly get more responsibility and greater challenges. The group and crew will be divided into watch teams so that we can learn from each other and help each other out.
The boats we sail on our expeditions are large, robust, and sail well in the open seas.. However, we do not control the weather, and we must be prepared for wind and potential heavy seas that we might encounter offshore. From light breezes to sailing in hard weather with several meters of swell, and the proximity to the forces of nature on such an expedition is something most people find very unique and rewarding!
As with all activities, there is plenty of specialized equipment and clothing for sailing. We do not expect you to buy lots of new equipment to join any of our trips, so, use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, try to purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment - buy quality items that will last. What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered clothing underneath. Some jackets may not be waterproof enough, or might not perform well in saltwater, so you might want to consider purchasing or renting a set of “oilskins” from us to use on the wettest days (included for borrowing onboard Alma). A pair of higher rubber boots for landings from the dinghy is very nice to have, in addition to slippers to wear below deck. Out on the high seas and in the Arctic, it is cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. We will send you a detailed recommended packing list in good time before departure.
Food and cooking
On our trips you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all aspects of the running of the sailboat. This includes the cooking, where everyone is taking turns in the galley! Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. Before the trip we set up a menu and purchase what is needed. We offer good menus with healthy “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account. During the trip, we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat.
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, cleaning the boat, or contributing in other ways when required. You will be split into a watch team, with the teams working in rotations of 4 hours on and 8 hours off, with a rotating system to make sure that the night-shifts are divided equally among all watch teams. Our trips require a little work from the participants - and you must be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people get along very well. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least doing 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 one should 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 boat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. Accommodation is in separate single berths in two large cabins / common rooms, with several shared bathrooms. Figuring out who sleeps where can be a bit of a puzzle, but we do believe we’ve gotten quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.
We have plenty of heating and good food on the boat, but not always abundance of fresh water. This means it will not be possible to shower every day, but more or less every other day we are either in a harbor with fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or enjoy a sauna. A morning swim in the sea is free and is available all year round!
What kind of people join this trip - and how many are we on board?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, and others travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and interesting people you will become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but this isn’t 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 in making this a great trip for everyone. Most of our participants are usually between 25-55 years old. The number of participants varies from trip to trip, but on these trips we are usually between 6 and 11 people.
Environment and sustainability
In general sailing is an environmentally friendly activity,, 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 much as we can. We also run 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 sustainably, knowledge, patience, flexibility, and hard work are required. The same can be said about many other things that one tries to do in a sustainable way.