Throughout the night, we sailed north from Sisimiut to Ilulissat, which means “icebergs.” There is not a more apt name to describe the place, as the first thing you see from the window upon entering the area are massive icebergs. On the coast lies the town of about 4,500 people, but up the fjord and over thirty miles away is the face of the Ilulissat Glacier, or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic. From this glacier, we receive over 10% of all the icebergs that come off the Greenland ice sheet. It is a stunning sight, and it became the focus of our day here in Ilulissat.
Throughout the day, we had opportunities to enjoy the landscape in two different ways. The first was to board one of the local boats from town and enjoy a scenic, up-close view of the various icebergs. The day was overcast and occasionally rainy, but the darker backdrop helped the icebergs really shine and allowed us to see more of the subtle textures and various “glacier blues” that are hard to look away from.
The second option brought us into town through the main port. The ports in Greenland are the heartbeat of every city, and the pungent fishy smell of wild caught halibut filled the air as we maneuvered our Zodiacs past fishing boats to the local pier. From there, we headed up and out of town to the walking paths that lead down to the water for more stunning views of the ice. On the walk, we were accompanied by snow buntings flying through the air and beautiful wildflowers next to the path.
In the evening, we started heading west. During the night and over the course of the coming day, we will cross Baffin Bay to reach the Canadian Arctic and the adventure that awaits as we enter the Northwest Passage.