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Reasons to visit East Greenland

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If Greenland is known for one thing, it is probably its amazing views of the Aurora Borealis. Known to most as the “Northern Lights,” this majestic display of natural light in the northern sky is breathtaking to say the least.

The Greenlandic people believe the dancing of the Northern Lights are their “ancestors’ spirits playing football [soccer] in the sky.” Some of the best displays in August and September can be found near Scoresbysund Fjord where the white and green colours dance around the night’s sky. Meteorologists say that 2013 will have the best display of lights in over a decade. So take a blanket, a hot drink and sit back and enjoy the show on a clear night!

During the day, Arctic animals are plentiful like the curious Arctic fox playing in the valleys and musk ox families roaming everywhere. These pre-historic animals resemble shag carpets with legs and hooves. When the ice is thick, spot polar bears walk around purposefully hunting for food, while in the sea orca, fin, humpback and minke whales abound as the Denmark Strait is a rich feeding area.

photo credit: Terri Chalmers

What Greenland might not be known for as well, but definitely should be, is its beautiful lush scenery. With icebergs of every shape and size everywhere you turn and blossoming colorful flowers guide you along your hikes, you won’t know where to look. Choosing to hike up to the top of Ella Island will present you with a view of five converging fjords; a spider web of fjords.

iceberg in east greenland

A perfect, and calm, way to enjoy the Greenlandic landscape is by sea kayak. While on a single or double kayak, you’ll sail past icebergs, float through fjords and marvel at the marine wildlife. The narrow fjords and high walls on each side, not to mention the multitude of places to pull ashore and explore this land make this a unique opportunity to see Greenland like it was meant to be seen.

Part of Greenland’s rich past includes old trapper huts scattered across its eastern seaboard. While out on a winter hunt, men would stay in these huts for months at a time. Some of these historical huts have been restored and modern-day adventurers sometimes choose to stay in them, while other huts are run down and barely left standing. Take a tour and let your camera be your guide.

Ittoqqortoormiit

A small village of 450 people await you in Ittoqqortoormiit; the most northern town on East Greenland. This hunting community still abides by the ways of old; traditional garbs, pelts and exotic animal meats will entertain all your senses.

So visit East Greenland for a chance to see some of the natural wonders of the world.

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To the Arctic with Quark Expeditions

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We sat down with Quark's Polar Travel Manager Terri Chalmers and asked her to tell us a little bit about her Three Arctic Islands voyage with us last fall. She also shared a few of her favourite photos from the voyage - thanks Terri! Thinking of taking this expedition? Read all about it from the eyes of a Quark passenger below!

 

Name: Terri Chalmers

Job title: Polar Travel Manager

Trip Name: Three Arctic Islands

Pre-post night city: Oslo/Reykjavik

Date of Travel: Sept 4-17, 2012

 

1. How would you describe your personal travel style & why?

I'm always looking for excitement and something new. I like to visit remote places.

 

2. What were the weather conditions like during your trip?

It was a mix but was mostly sunny and mild temperatures. Not as cold as you'd think!

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

3. Best memory on the ship or your overall impression of the ship and/or staff:

I know I might sound biased but we really do have fantastic expedition staff – always striving to provide the best, most memorable experience possible.

 

4. Top 3 things you did or experienced on your Polar expedition:

- Snuck up on a group of musk ox on the side of a hill in Greenland

- Saw a polar bear on an ice floe, with her fresh kill

- The Northern lights!

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

5. Describe a wow moment or particularly special memory from your trip:

- Cruising in the zodiacs along the beach, watching a mother polar bear and her cub.

- The water was so cold during our Polar plunge, that they had to use a Zodiac to break the thin layer of iced that had formed at the surface before we could run in! But don’t let that stop you from trying it - the warm ship and hot beverages are not far away!

 

6. Sum up your trip in 3 words:

Breathtaking

Exhilarating

Emotional

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7. What would you say to anyone who is considering travelling to the Polar Regions:

Don’t let the thought of going to a cold environment dissuade you from visiting. The stunning landscapes and the immersion in nature and its wildlife are more than worth it.

Three Arctic Islands by Terri Chalmers

8. Are there any other experiences, restaurants, food, people, places or sites you would like to highlight?

Reykjavik is a great city in which to extend your trip. Easy to get around on foot, lots of interesting sights and culture, fantastic food. Ask your polar travel adviser for details on extending your trip!

 

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