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Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis

Greenland or "Kalaallit Nunaat" ("Land of the People") in the Greenlandic language, is the largest island in the world, it stretches from 60º to 83º north latitude. Kap Farvel, its southern tip, is located at almost the same latitude as the Shetland Islands in Scotland. The extreme north of Greenland is the northernmost point of land on our planet. Greenland is dominated by the second largest ice-sheet in the world; more than 80% of its surface area is covered by ice reaching a thickness of over 3000 meters (10,000 feet) in the interior. Although huge in size (2,166,000 km²), it is inhabited by less than 60.000 people. Greenland is geographically a part of the North American continent but has more social and political ties with Europe.

The coastline of Greenland is spectacular. Heavily indented with numerous fjords, the coastline consists of spectacular high mountains, 2000 meters (6500 feet) high cliffs and innumerable glaciers. The large glaciers produce the huge, cathedral-like ice-bergs that are abundant in Greenlandic waters. The largest fjord is Scoresby Sund and is more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) long. Our voyages focus on East and North-East Greenland, among the most isolated, sparsely populated and scenically superb parts of the island.

The name Greenland was given by Eric the Red, a Norwegian-born Icelandic settler who was banished from Iceland around the year 982 after committing a murder. He found refuge in Greenland. When his exile was over, he returned to Iceland with stories of a green and fertile land to the north-west to lure potential settlers, hence the name Greenland. Although initially flourishing, the Icelandic settlements disappeared from Greenland around 1400, probably due to a climatic change, the Little Ice-Age. But the Norwegian settlers were certainly not the first humans to have lived on Greenland. For thousands of years Palaeo-Eskimos (the Dorset culture) had been living on the coasts of Greenland: they were finally replaced by Inuit (or Kalaallit as they call themselves in Greenland) around 1300 A.D. The Inuit now make up the majority of the Greenlandic population. The Inuit, the word means "men" in the Inuit language, are nowadays seen as the indigenous people of the North American Arctic. Inuit are traditionally subsistence hunters, living primarily from whales, walruses, Caribou, Musk Oxen, Arctic Foxes, Polar Bears and seals.

Climate
Our cruises to North-East Greenland are planned in August and September. The reason is that access to this wild coast is dependent on the ice conditions. For much of the year the region is locked in by pack-ice, which only by late summer has broken up sufficiently to allow vessels such as ours to reach land.

Please note; although we expect to be able to reach Greenland, nature does not give us a guarantee. Pack-ice is unpredictable and may prevent our ships to complete the planned itinerary.

The Greenlandic weather varies enormously depending on where you are on this vast island. Influenced by its high latitude, the gigantic ice-cap and the surrounding oceans and seas, Greenland has an Arctic to High Arctic climate. Still, East Greenland has on average 300 days of sunshine in the year. In August we can expect surprisingly warm daytime temperatures. In Scoresby Sund the average daytime temperatures are between 5 and 9ºC (41 and 48ºF) with the highest observed temperature being 21ºC (70ºF). On a sunny, windless day even 9ºC feels quite warm. By September, autumn rapidly begins to take a hold. Temperatures drop below zero, the sea in sheltered fjords begins to freeze, the winds strengthen and snow can be expected. Still, the low sun gives spectacular sunsets and the snow adds to the Arctic feeling.
15 May, 2014 to 22 May, 2014 Make a booking request for Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis, departing on 15 May, 2014
Triple Private $ 2700 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole, ample storage space and 1 upper/lower berth + 1 lower berth
Twin Private Inside $ 3000 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet and ample storage space
Twin Private Porthole $ 3250 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole and ample storage space
29 May, 2014 to 05 June, 2014 Make a booking request for Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis, departing on 29 May, 2014
Triple Private $ 2700 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole, ample storage space and 1 upper/lower berth + 1 lower berth
Twin Private Inside $ 3000 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet and ample storage space
Twin Private Porthole $ 3250 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole and ample storage space
05 June, 2014 to 12 June, 2014 Make a booking request for Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis, departing on 05 June, 2014
Triple Private $ 2700 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole, ample storage space and 1 upper/lower berth + 1 lower berth
Twin Private Inside $ 3000 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet and ample storage space
Twin Private Porthole $ 3250 USD pp
The cabin has private shower and toilet, 1 porthole and ample storage space

Additional charges:

Flight - chartered and scheduled None USD pp

Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1
We arrive in Aasiaat from Kangerdlussuak by chartered plane (flight not included in the voyage cost). Aasiaat, is a settlement which was created in the 17th century to support the whaling at the mouth of Disko Bay. Its port is ice free from late spring to early winter. We spend the first part of the night at anchor in Aasiaat or in one of the bays nearby.
Day 2
Today we are at the mouth of the Disko Bay, surrounded by rich waters, which attract both seabirds and whales. We expect to see our fist Greenland Whale. In the evening we spend the night in Fortune Bay or Engelsmandens Haven, where there are warm springs.
Day 3
Another day of opportunities to see Greenland Whales, when we sail south of Godhavn. In the afternoon we sail to the mouth of the Jakobshavn Isfjord with its enormous icebergs, where we will float for quite some hours.
Day 4
In the morning we land at Flakkerhuk, on the east side of Disko Island, making our way through waters dominated by huge icebergs. We intend to land at several points along the coast, like Narujuk and Modderbugt to observe a population of birds typical to the High Arctic, with species such as Long-tailed Skua, Turnstone and Grey Phalarope. The birds breed on a beautiful tundra landscape backed by basalt cliffs. Later in the day we may also pay a visit to Saqqaq, famous because of the remains of dwellings of the Saqqaq Culture, 4000 years ago. An alternative is to sail into Ata Sund to the glacier front of Eqip Sermia
Day 5
In the morning in Davis Strait we may glimpse the edge of the Baffin Bay sea-ice, some tens of miles west of Disko Island. We will try some landings in Nordfjord and Qasigissat, in a lush tundra landscape near lakes in valleys surrounded by basalt cliffs. At Qasigissat there are accessible populations of of ducks and geese.
Day 6
In Diskofjord we sail into the Kuanerssuit Fjord toward some warm springs. Near Sioraq settlement, where the people keep sledge dogs, we also visit a Thule dwelling site with large turfhuts in a great setting. In the evening we cruise along Queqertaq Island (1000 m high) with the largest Northern Fulmar colony in Greenland
Day 7
Another day of opportunities to see Greenland Whales when we sail south of Godhavn to Hunde Ejlands, with a small Greenlandic settlement, old dwellings of Greenland’s Thule culture (dating from 11th century) and graves from 18th century European Whalers.
Day 8
We arrive in Aasiaat. In the morning we fly from Aasiaat to Kangerdlussuak by charterd flight, and onward by scheduled flight to Copenhagen (flights not included in the voyage cost). If there is still too much sea ice around Disko Island (possibly in May and early June), we will remain in Disko Bay and explore to the southeast of Disko Bay to Grønne Island (cruise at 200m from seabird reserve), Saqqaq site at Qajaa, and to Cristianshaab = Qasingiannguit. After mid- June the Greenland Whales have disappeared from the Disko Bay region and the program will not focus on them anymore. In 2013 we will have maximal displays of Aurora borealis on the autumn voyages.

Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Day 8 *
We arrive in Aasiaat. In the morning we fly from Aasiaat to Kangerdlussuak by charterd flight, and onward by scheduled flight to Copenhagen (flights not included in the voyage cost). If there is still too much sea ice around Disko Island (possibly in May and early June), we will remain in Disko Bay and explore to the southeast of Disko Bay to Grønne Island (cruise at 200m from seabird reserve), Saqqaq site at Qajaa, and to Cristianshaab = Qasingiannguit. After mid- June the Greenland Whales have disappeared from the Disko Bay region and the program will not focus on them anymore. In 2013 we will have maximal displays of Aurora borealis on the autumn voyages.
Day 7 *
Another day of opportunities to see Greenland Whales when we sail south of Godhavn to Hunde Ejlands, with a small Greenlandic settlement, old dwellings of Greenland’s Thule culture (dating from 11th century) and graves from 18th century European Whalers.
Day 6 *
In Diskofjord we sail into the Kuanerssuit Fjord toward some warm springs. Near Sioraq settlement, where the people keep sledge dogs, we also visit a Thule dwelling site with large turfhuts in a great setting. In the evening we cruise along Queqertaq Island (1000 m high) with the largest Northern Fulmar colony in Greenland
Day 5 *
In the morning in Davis Strait we may glimpse the edge of the Baffin Bay sea-ice, some tens of miles west of Disko Island. We will try some landings in Nordfjord and Qasigissat, in a lush tundra landscape near lakes in valleys surrounded by basalt cliffs. At Qasigissat there are accessible populations of of ducks and geese.
Day 4 *
In the morning we land at Flakkerhuk, on the east side of Disko Island, making our way through waters dominated by huge icebergs. We intend to land at several points along the coast, like Narujuk and Modderbugt to observe a population of birds typical to the High Arctic, with species such as Long-tailed Skua, Turnstone and Grey Phalarope. The birds breed on a beautiful tundra landscape backed by basalt cliffs. Later in the day we may also pay a visit to Saqqaq, famous because of the remains of dwellings of the Saqqaq Culture, 4000 years ago. An alternative is to sail into Ata Sund to the glacier front of Eqip Sermia
Day 3 *
Another day of opportunities to see Greenland Whales, when we sail south of Godhavn. In the afternoon we sail to the mouth of the Jakobshavn Isfjord with its enormous icebergs, where we will float for quite some hours.
Day 2 *
Today we are at the mouth of the Disko Bay, surrounded by rich waters, which attract both seabirds and whales. We expect to see our fist Greenland Whale. In the evening we spend the night in Fortune Bay or Engelsmandens Haven, where there are warm springs.
Day 1 *
We arrive in Aasiaat from Kangerdlussuak by chartered plane (flight not included in the voyage cost). Aasiaat, is a settlement which was created in the 17th century to support the whaling at the mouth of Disko Bay. Its port is ice free from late spring to early winter. We spend the first part of the night at anchor in Aasiaat or in one of the bays nearby.
* = Indicative
Map for Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis
Rembrandt van Rijn, the ship servicing Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis

Rembrandt van Rijn

Vessel Type:  Expedition Yacht

Length: 56 metres

Passenger Capacity: 32

Built / refurbished: 1900's / 1994 

S/V Rembrandt Van Rijn was  built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in he Netherlands in 1994 and sailed in Spitsbergen (1994 – 1996) and in Galápagos (1998 - 2001). The vessel underwent a complete rebuilding and refurbishment program until 2011. The communication and navigation equipment has been completely renewed according to the latest SOLAS regulations.


The Rembrandt van Rijn measures 56 meters in length (168 ft.), 7 meters in width and has a draft of 2,5 meters. The maximum speed on engines is 9 knots. It has an experienced crew of  7 persons on board including 2 tour guides.

The ship is well suited for expedition cruising among small islands and offer good open deck viewing areas, also when under sail. The 2 inflatable rubber crafts (zodiacs) enable landing and wildlife viewing opportunities in otherwise inaccessible areas.

Ice class:
The s/v Rembrandt van Rijn has no ice class. During her refit, the bow of the vessel was enforced and is therefore suitable to sail in the Greenlandic waters.

  • Passengers: 32 in 16 cabins      
  • Ice class: - (The bow of the vessel is enforced and is therefore suitable to sail in the Greenlandic waters.)
  • Displacement: 451 Ts
  • Propulsion: 2 cummins engines together 550 KW
  • Speed: 9 knots maximum
  • Staff & crew: 12
  • Length: 56 meters (168 ft)
  • Breadth: 7 meters (22,9 ft)
  • Draft: 2,5 meters (8 ft)

 

 

Cabin layout for Rembrandt van Rijn
Observe Greenland Whales and birdlife
See Greenlandic history
Sailing among enormous icebergs
Enquire now about Disko Bay Whale Safari & Aurora Borealis