The early risers among us were not as richly rewarded this morning, with views consisting of nothing but fog. However, it was not long before we glimpsed patches of blue sky, the summit of a mountain, the outline of an iceberg…and suddenly, in the most incredible morning light, the entrance to Ikerasussaq (also known as Prins Christianssund) was in front of us.
This spectacular network of fjords that crisscross the southern tip of Greenland was the setting for our morning. It provides a shortcut, a secret passage from the east of Greenland to the west. We cruised below sheer cliffs, glaciers tumbling down into the fjord, and cascading waterfalls. At times, the channel was unbelievably narrow. At every turn (and there were a lot of them!), we observed a different view and exhaled a new “ooh” or “ahh.” The last remnants of the fog provided atmospheric views as distant peaks and glaciers were revealed before being shrouded once more.
We passed by a tiny village, Aappilattoq, which provided our first glimpse of a Greenlandic settlement. Towering peaks in the background dwarfed the colourful houses.
As we left the fjord system, we were once again surrounded by fog, which meant we could eat our lunch without worrying about missing a spectacular sight. After lunch, we escaped the fog and anchored at the village of Nanortalik, Greenland’s eleventh largest settlement with a population of 1,185.
We went ashore to the village, and we were treated to an incredible kayaking display. A local Inuit showed us his skills in handling the craft he made for himself. He demonstrated the paddling technique, rolling, and the balance he can gain from the use of a traditional Greenlandic wooden paddle. There is a fantastic open-air museum in Nanortalik that consists of several buildings, all with different historical uses. In one, there is even a replica of a kayak that you can sit in and practice balancing!
After visiting the museum, we spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the rest of the village, buying souvenirs, and reflecting on the challenges associated with living in such a beautiful but remote place.
We returned to the ship for our daily recap and cocktail hour, followed by yet another excellent meal from our chefs.
Today was another incredible day on board National Geographic Explorer. We enjoyed spectacular scenery and learned about the fascinating culture. We are looking forward to continuing our journey up the west coast of Greenland.