2018 Greenland (1/2): Northwest

Places Northwest Greenland. Qaarsut, Uummannaq, Saattut, Ikerasak, Nussuaq Peninsula, Saqqaq, Ilulissat
Time & length July/August 2018
Partners several
First, we explored the islands and peninsulas in the area around Uummannaq on foot and with packrafts. Our route led us 500 km north of the Arctic Circle, the terrain was rugged and had little vegetation. The fjords were full of icebergs and the Greenland ice cap in the east was visible most of the time. Later, we traversed the Nussuaq Peninsula and ended our trip in the village of Saqqaq.
Our route, roughly: Northwest Greenland

I found my travel companions through my “Join Me” program on Outventurous. Before we took off to Greenland, I taught everybody some packrafting basics during a preparation weekend in Austria. At the end of the weekend, some of us paddled the Imsterschlucht, video footage on Youtube.

My journey started on July 19. I flew from Vienna via Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat, where all group members came together. From there we flew to Quaarsut, a place with less than 200 inhabitants, and camped close to town.

Paaluk, the operator of “Ummannaq Seasafaris”, picked us up on July 21 and brought us to our starting point close to the settlement of Saattut. He also brought some boxes with food that I had sent to his address weeks before. Everything went smoothly, I very much recommend using his service!

The first two weeks we often had marginal weather with a lot of strong winds and more rain than usual for this area. But the landscape was breathtaking!

We reached the village of Ikerasak on August 2 and spent the night there. Paaluk picked us up the following day and brought one friend and me to the other side of the fjord, from where we continued our route. The rest of the group had to fly home and were brought back to Qaarsut.

The two of us then traversed the Nussuaq Peninsula all the way to the village of Saqqaq. There were two large lakes on our way, which we paddled in heavy tail wind. That saved us time and we reached Saqqaq earlier than expected.

Before we entered the weekly boat to Ilulissat, we spent a couple of days taking pictures, relaxing, packrafting in the area around Saqqaq. Surprisingly I met my friend Willem there, who I had travelled with in summer 2017 in Greenland. He had just finished his journey and was waiting for the same boat that collects passengers in the Disko Bay area.

On August 16, we arrived in Ilulissat, where we explored the Icefjord a bit.

Somewhere in the Northwest (I won’t give the exact location) we met a man who we called “The Greenlandic Survivor”. He is a Frenchman, who has been returning to the very same island for 15 years in spring and summer. This island is only 200 m wide and located in a remote place. Visitors are rare, since only few people know where he lives. We accidentally came across his island, which he called an “autonomous republic”. He built his “cottages” of driftwood and garbage and melts little chunks of ice to get freshwater. He lives of mussels and fish, which he catches from the canoe. He is very proud of his island and showed us around like it was a palace. He invited us to spend one night at his island, we felt honoured. 😉