Scoresby Sound, Greenland
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Overnight we continued towards Cape Brewster at the entrance to Scoresby Sound, the largest fjord in the world, stretching more than 300 KM in length. The sound is named after an English explorer, William Scoresby, who mapped the area in 1822. The sides of the fjord are surrounded by mountains more than 2000 meters high, much like Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, but on a far greater scale, with icebergs often choking the channels. We do not know how far into the sound we can go, based on the ice and also the lack of accurate depth data.
The area is part of the Northeast Greenland National Park, created in 1974 and larger than France and Spain combined, and has no permanent residents. The park stretches to the top of Greenland, the northernmost land on our planet.
We encountered a large berg shortly after passing Cape Brewster and the ship stopped so we could enjoy the “Caviar on the Ice” gala with the berg in the background. Proceeding on after lunch we stopped briefly at another spectacular berg just before dinner before stopping for the evening about 70 miles into Scoresby Sound.
Since we are still well above the Arctic Circle it never really got dark, instead we had an extended sunset/sunrise that started about 12 PM midnight and ended at 0500 when the sun was again above the surrounding hills.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
As the sun fully rose, we were positioned off of Hekla Havn, which had a well sheltered harbor with two sailboats at anchor. Both left shortly after we started zodiac operations to view the archeological ruins at Hekla Havn. The ruins consisted mostly of dwelling foundations and food cairns. There was also a cabin on the far side of the harbor. Seabourn also started dive operations with the two submersibles and Patrick joined the kayak excursion.
By noon, expedition operations were complete and the ship proceeded further into Scoresby Sound, passing numerous large icebergs before stopping at Rode O, a red island seeming out of place in the mostly tan and gray rocks. Positioning the ship off the island, more dive, kayak and zodiac excursions began, looking at a large iceberg graveyard off the island, where the currents move the bergs into shallow water where they were grounded. Shallow is relative, since some of the bergs were several hundred feet high and were grounded in hundreds of feet of water.
About 7pm operations were complete and the ship continued around Danmark Island, weaving past larger tabular icebergs which had blocked the channel just days earlier. We spent the night in Orefjord, a narrow channel with mountains up to 2000 meters and water depths of nearly 1000 meters and spectacular glaciers everywhere.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
The ship launched 20 zodiacs and nearly passenger on the ship headed down Orefjord. Miriam joined Patrick for this excursion, which was intended to take about one hour, but stretched into two hours. Seabourn Venture followed the zodiacs down the fjord with stunning views of glaciers and peaks on both sides. Returning to the ship we continued our journey around Danmark Island to the Bear Islands where dive, zodiac and kayak excursions started. Patrick finally got his first ride in the submersible, going to a depth of 90 meters and slowly ascending along a sheer rock wall with some sea life, many strange jelly fish and a krill layer closer to the surface.
Zodiac Tour in Orefjord
First Dive Adventure
Submersible Control Console
After operations were complete, we headed to the small community at the north entrance of Scoresby Sound. The community of Ittoqqortoormiit is outside the park boundary and has about 370 permanent residents who hunt, fish and have some tourism.
On the way we had a Seabourn Epicurean Event in front of a massive iceberg. The weather was amazing, no jackets required.
Friday, August 19, 2022
Patrick took another dive excursion, shallower this time with a maximum depth of 50 meters, but good visibility and lots of interesting life (and garbage) on the bottom. By the time the dive was over there was no time to go ashore, but from the zodiac the town looked much like the small communities we visited several years ago in Western Greenland. The simple houses were all painted bright colors like red, blue green and even purple. The town is ice free only about 2 months a year.
As we headed for Iceland, the weather deteriorated, with winds gusting to 50 knots and seas to 5 meters. The ship rode well and we gathered with several other couples for a leisurely dinner in the main restaurant.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
The seas were still rough as we headed for Patreksfjordur in the northwestern corner of Iceland. There is a small fishing village of 750 inhabitants, with fish processing facilities, and access by road to high cliffs with some of the largest sea bird colonies in the world.
After breakfast we got a surprise call from the medical department and had to be tested for Covid since one of our dinner partners from the previous evening tested positive for Covid and the couple was moved to an isolation suite. We both tested negative and were advised to just wear a mask in the public areas and get tested again after 72 hours when we return to Bellevue.
Arriving at Patreksfjordur the wind and seas were still high, but the ship created a lee to get zodiacs ashore for the included tours to the bird cliffs and fish tasting in town. Since the bird cliffs were a one hour bus ride each way, we elected to not run the risk of further exposure, since too many guests were either coughing or not wearing masks. We have seen plenty of fish processing operations so elected to just stay on board and in our suite as we finalized our packing for disembarkation in the morning.
Our checked bags have to be placed outside the door between 11 PM and 1 AM for transfer shoreside in the morning.
We disembark in Rekjavik at 0900 and have a van transfer to the airport at Keflavik, with lunch on the way for our 5 PM 8 hour non-stop flight on Iceland Airlines to Seattle.