When your first full day on board National Geographic Endurance comes to a close, it is easy to believe you have been at sea and enjoying the comforts of this spectacular vessel for many weeks. And yet here we are, sailing along the towering coastline of West Greenland with numerous experiences, sights, and sounds already embedded in our memories.

Sisimiut was our destination today, a little pocket of color amidst this rocky landscape. As we approached through calm seas, we were able to become better acquainted with the ship, its prodigious crew, and our expedition team before we disembarked to explore the town. While some of us chose to hike, others chose to explore the local museum. Some guests took quiet time to meander between the colorful buildings.

While the guests were enjoying the sights of Sisimiut, the undersea team went to explore the underwater world of West Greenland. On National Geographic Endurance, the undersea team brings the underwater world to the surface, showing everyone on board what they cannot always see for themselves. This often involves scuba diving in places where very few people have ever dived before. Indeed, it is a privilege to do this work.

As the ship docked in Sisimiut and people disembarked to explore the town, two divers with the topside support of two crewmembers started driving out to sea in a Zodiac. Heading back towards the entrance of this natural, sheltered harbor, the divers found a sheltered, rocky island and rolled backwards into water of just 4 degrees Celsius. Being enveloped in layers of thermals and a sturdy dry suit allows the divers to explore such frigid waters. Despite the chill, these waters harbor an array of life.

With good visibility leading down a rocky ledge lined with kelp fronds, the divers stumbled across multiple bulky-looking scorpion fish, multitudes of sea urchins, and large sea cucumbers and sea stars peppering the rocks. What is more, the water column was filled with ctenophores – small jelly looking creatures that are actually invertebrates, more commonly referred to as comb jellies. If the water had not been so cold, the divers could have spent far longer gathering images to share on board. It is often hard to leave a good dive behind, but the thought of a warm and cosy ship will always be tempting…and appreciated.

Photo caption and photographer: Divers rolling in for the dive. Photo by Erin McFadden