Nordvestfjord, Greenland, 9/28/2022, National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance
Today we awoke on National Geographic Endurance to beautiful pink skies and icebergs passing by the ship as we sat down for breakfast. We enjoyed a nice cruise into the furthest northwestern fjord of Scoresby Sund. Today was a lovely day filled with ice and dramatic scenery, making it hard to walk away from the window for even just a moment.
Today we visited Isafjordur, the capital of the Westfjords of Northwest Iceland. It was wet and windy, but this did not deter us from a great morning. Guests were offered a range of activities. Some of us hiked to the Valagil Falls at the back of a huge valley filled with the colours of an arctic autumn, and some of us stopped to pick succulent blueberries along the way. Others went to explore one of the many large fjords in this part of Iceland and one of Iceland’s oldest arboretums at Skrudur, complete with a whale arch made from the jawbones of a large fin whale. Yet another group took a walking tour of the historic fishing port of Isafjordur, rounding off the morning in the local microbrewery. In the afternoon, we turned our thoughts to home and sailed south of Reykjavik after an amazing adventure in West Iceland and East Greenland.
The day started with an approaching storm bringing with it strong winds and whipping up the waves in the fjord. We decided to attempt our last landing in East Greenland by visiting the hot spring pool on the beach. After scouting the beach for bears, we disembarked guests on a windy and wet ride to shore. Most people came ashore to take advantage of the rare opportunity to bathe in Greenlandic hot springs. The landing time was not as long as usual because of inclement weather, but a good time was had by all. After an atmospheric visit to shore, all returned safely to enjoy lunch on the ship.
This morning we visited our first Greenlandic settlement on this incredible expedition. Ittoqqortoormiit, meaning “Big-House Dwellers,” has a population of roughly 345 people and is known for being one of the most remote settlements on the planet. We were free to roam this colorful little town. We visited the local museum, a beautiful church where we saw thread spun from muskox hair caught by the local villagers, and the tourist information center where some of the braver amongst us sampled muskox meat and had the opportunity to buy souvenirs from the gift shop. We even got to see the local Greenland working dogs getting fed seal meat close to our wet landing spot on the beach. A walk around this remote Greenlandic settlement allowed us to appreciate a very different way of living, which starkly contrasts to that of how most of us live and see the world.