sailboat & trail running adventure
east greenland with Anna frost
29th of August - 5th of September 2017
Location: East Greenland
Special guest: Anna Frost
The east coast of Greenland is an awesome wilderness. Only 3,500 people, scattered among small towns and settlements, inhabit its 2,600 kilometres of stunning coastline. This is the Arctic with all its breathtaking beauty and striking scenery.
This trip is suitable for anyone interested in experiencing the magic of early autumn in East Greenland. Cruising in the sheltered ice-filled fjords of the Ammassalik area onboard our expedition sailing yacht the Arktika, we welcome all runners with experience of technical running.
This is true exploration—the final itinerary only gets decided upon after setting sail from the Kulusuk harbour. We will take into account weather and sea-ice conditions and always look for the best possible option. The following description gives an idea of how a day-to-day plan might materialize:
We will visit the big Sermilik ice-fjord, walk the streets of Tasiilaq and cruise the sounds and channels between the villages in the East. We will visit the abandoned WWII military base (Bluie East 2) and spend nights in spectacular, remote anchorages.This is early autumn in the Arctic and the northern lights will surely light up the night sky for us. We will feel the winter approaching and it will be quite possible to see a sprinkle of fresh snow on the mountaintops. The trip will start and end in the village of Kulusuk, from which there are daily flights to Iceland and other parts of Greenland.
The expedition sailboat Arktika is our movable ‘backcountry hut’ and awaits us at the end of every day with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.
Arrive onboard our sturdy expedition sailboat Arktika at noon in Kulusuk. We will leave our anchorage around 2pm and sail out of the Torssut Sound and into Ammassalik Fjord where we will immediately view our first large icebergs. We sail to the much bigger island of Ammassalik and have our first run around the lake Qorlortoq. In the late afternoon we will move to our first anchorage a short distance from the lake for a satisfying dinner and our first night onboard the Arktika.
Continuing on to Kong Oscar´s Harbour and the town of Tasiilaq. This is the largest town on the east coast with almost 2000 inhabitants and centre for culture and administration. We will go ashore and explore the colourful town and run into ‘Flower Valley’ and Seaman's mountain and the stunning hills surrounding Tasiilaq. We meet up with our sailboat on the sand beach on the other end of the Ammassalik island.
We continue our journey past Ammassalik Island and into the great Sermilik Fjord passing the abandoned village of Ikateq and the Erit Skerries (made famous when Bill Tilman lost his boat Sea Breeze there in 1972). We continue in the fjord onwards to the village of Tiniteqilaq. This tiny settlement with approximately 120 inhabitants is situated on a small promontory with spectacular views over Sermilik Fjord.
Hunting, fishing and tourism are the main sources of income for the population of Tiniteqilaq. Seals are hunted throughout the year together with a restricted number of polar bears and narwhals. We´ll visit the village and run in the neighbouring hills before spending the night at anchor adjacent to the village.
We start the day with a run even further north and closer to the glacier where the drift ice falls from. We will cross a sandy beach, rocky cliffs and run by a glacial tongue. We meet up with our sailboat and sail across Sermilik and into Johan Petersen Fjord where we will anchor. This majestic landscape offers numerous calving glaciers which cascade directly off the inland icecap creating gigantic icebergs that fill the fjords. Option for a paddle in the afternoon.
A day spent running in Johan Petersen Fjord with captivating views over the inland icecap from the nearby mountains. We hope to see whales and seals, frequent visitors to this fjord. Second night will be spent at the same anchorage.
Start the morning running from the huge Sermilik fjord crossing the land on foot to get further south direction Isortoq. We run to by a glacial tongue which has been retreating over the decades and has left behind testimonial of that. Once passed the glacier we run along a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and ridges and once on the other side of the lake we start seeing the sea again and our sailboat.
Probably the most green terrain we will experience on our trip is to be found on today's running route. We start our run in the morning and follow the beautiful fjord up to a mountain top where we can overlook a glacier descending into the fjord. We go down into that fjord to meet with our sailboat Arktika.
Our journey concludes as we return by sail to Kulusuk for return flights to Iceland.
East Greenlandic terrain is very technical and challenging. This trip is for experienced runners who are used to run on and off trails. On this trip there is less distance but more technique. Typically we spend 4-5 hours on land each day, enjoying what the nature on land has to offer. We are not running the whole time, everybody at their own pace take the time to enjoy the scenery, we stop for photos, lunch etc. Technical, but easy going days.
The short summer in Eastern Greenland can exhibit all kinds of weather — most of which is governed by the warm gulf current between Iceland and Eastern Greenland. The weather pattern is an unpredictable mixture of marine low-pressure systems mixed with the more stable high-pressure inland climate (generated by the immense, cold Greenland icecap). The temperatures range from 0 to 15 degrees Celsius. In other words, you should prepare for sunshine as well as showers. Winds can shift quickly and we might experience the ferociously katabatic Piteraq hurricanes (very rare, but nonetheless possible). Given the area’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, while it´s a bit early in the season, it may still be possible to see the Northern Lights at night.
Wildlife in Greenland
East Greenland is the homeland of polar bears. We will take measures to stay away from these beautiful animals, and view them from a safe distance, if spotted. It is advisable not to go for a walk alone or without letting the guide know. The waters are teeming with various species of seals and whales. On land we may meet the Arctic fox as well as various species of birds.
Price: 490.000 ISK per person
Included: 8 days (7 nights) on a yacht, guided trail runs and land excursions, sailing instruction, services of guides and crew, guided paddling in sea kayaks amongst the fjords for those who want, use of stand up paddle boards (SUP), use of wet weather sailing clothing, all meals for the duration of the trip.
Not included: alcohol, international flights
Thule Trails can assist with getting to and from Kulusuk if requested. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.