These are our yearly kayaking, hiking & whale watching trips in one of Greenland’s most unique arctic environments. We go to Disko Bay which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, kayak among huge icebergs, hike to the interior, whale watch and enjoy the magical light of the midnight sun. We time the trips at the best window to whale watch.
In our trips we hope that you will enjoy what we bring and our way of doing things:
Our group leader, Roger Chandler, is an experienced coach and guide with a track history of mentoring and bringing both male & female paddlers to top levels of development.
We have a group spirit and friendly attitude which we share during our trips: we cook together and enjoy social time in our communal tipi tent where you can eat your meals relax before returning to your own tent.
We prepare all your breakfasts and dinners taking into account that you will be hungry, will need calories and a good meal at the end of the day counts for a lot. In 2019 we had Italian pastas with forest mushrooms, Indian curries with plenty of veg, Moroccan stews full of flavour and French veg dishes full of non-animal protein. We cater for a variety dietary & allergy requirements, vegetarians and vegans.
We work with local people because we believe that making a contribution to the economy of small remote communities is important. In return, we have made friends and get fantastic local logistic and emergency support.
We go to Disko Bay, where the possibility of encountering a polar bear is less than 1%. Therefore, we do not endanger them or encroach on their territory.
In order to enjoy the trip and the wonderful environment to the full we recommend that you have experience of paddling trips of several days duration and are comfortable paddling a loaded boat for as much as six hours a day, with breaks (though days will often be shorter than this). Winds are usually light, and if the wind gets up we stay off the water. However, if necessary, you need to feel comfortable paddling in winds which may occasionally reach Force 4. Landings can be rocky and, while the group leaders will ensure landing sites are feasible, you should be prepared for this. Journeying and camping is a fantastic experience, and can be quite hard work. If you have done it before you will enjoy the frequent experience of packing and unpacking the boats and setting up and breaking camp in different places.
The duration will be 16 days which include time travelling from the UK. To maximise the time, the trip will take place over 3 weekends and 2 weeks, meaning participants only need 2 weeks off work.
The 2020 expedition is be led by one of the UK top kayak coaches. Roger Chandler works in Anglesey and coaches and expeditions in demanding environments. He runs one to the roof of Scotland, participates in coaching in the Orkney islands and has done several arctic expeditions. You will be in very good hands and will have the opportunity to develop your kayaking skills to a new level.
This expedition is an opportunity to paddle in a pristine ice environment in the arctic. We will set off from Ilulissat and travel north exploring the coastline, fjords and bays on the route before turning around. We expect to see plenty of wild life, including polar foxes, Greenland falcons and several species of whales. In 2018 & 2019 we had sightings of whales most days during our trip. The Jackobshavn glacier next to Ilulissat calves the largest icebergs in Greenland which makes paddling here a once in a lifetime experience. At midnight, the light turns golden and the seascape with its bergs and puffing whales becomes magical.
We work with local businesses to make sure our visit benefits the local community. In 2019 & 2020, we work with a local Greenlandic family who has recently established a new business in a small village.
A typical day in Greenland during our expedition is anything but predictable. The weather rules all! But it might go something like this:
Breakfast is at 9am in our communal tent if the temperature has climbed by that hour. If not, we will have a lie in until the day warms up. There is light for 24 hrs, so there is no pressure to start or stop early. Everyone is involved in cooking and camp duties so you will get to help around. If the conditions are good for paddling, we will spend 2 or 4 hours on the water covering between 10 and 20 kms. The going among the bergs is slow, as we need to be cautious, but also because they are spectacular and everyone wants to enjoy the sights and take pictures. When whales appear among the bergs, we spend time enjoying the scene, taking video and photos.
We normally stop for a hot drink and a light lunch. In the evenings we cook together and socialise. Not every day we might move camp. If the camp is good to go exploring from the kayaks or on foot, we might stay there more than one night. If the weather is not right for kayaking, we might go hiking in the tundra, go foraging for mussels or fishing, and those wanting a rest, can spend a day sleeping, reading or chatting in the communal tent.
Additionally to the expedition price, you will need to budget for expenses including kit, flights, two nights’ accommodation in Copenhagen (if you are travelling from the UK), three nights in Ilulissat, snacks, all your lunches and some sundries.
Day 1Arrive at Ilulissat Hostel and meet the group leaders. You will have time to do some chopping for provisions and making your kit expedition ready. The group will then go for dinner at the Thai Cafe in the village.
Day 2Early morning start to pack all your kit & provisions as well as the group gear on the kayaks. We will be setting off more or less after lunch and paddling north. The way out of Ilulissat is breathtaking: There are huge icebergs surrounding the village as its proximity to the glacier means the bergs have not started to break up. This will be your first night camping in the arctic! The groups will help with putting up the tipi which is our social tent where we gather, cook and eat. Your guides will prepare the meals.
Day 3After a communal breakfast in the tipi, we will pack our camp and continue north. We will pass the small village of Oqaatsut which is the last settlement of our route. Your guides will decide how far you will go on this day depending on the weather conditions and the group. Everyday from now on, until you return to Ilulissat will be planned the previous night to ensure you are safe and have a good experience.
Day 4Some days, due to weather or because the spot where we camp is so special and frequently visited by whales, we stay more than one night at the same campsite. This give us an opportunity to go hiking and explore the interior to experience the lakes, rivers and tundra. It is also an opportunity to rest, take in this monumental landscape or just relax and sleep.
Day 5Paddling day.
Day 6Paddling & hiking day.
Day 7Journey north whale spotting & kayaking among icebergs. Opportunity to do night paddles in the midnight sun.
Day 8Around day 9 we turn back down south and make our way back to Ilulissat.
Day 9Paddling day.
Day 10Journey south whale spotting & kayaking among icebergs. Opportunity to do night paddles in the midnight sun. Group dinner with beers at the local traditional Greenlandic restaurant in Oqaatsut.
Day 11Journey south whale spotting & kayaking among icebergs. Opportunity to do night paddles in the midnight sun.
Day 12Afternoon arrival in Ilulissat. Unpacking the kayaks and leaving behind the time you've had in the wilderness. The best thing about it? A hot shower at the hostel! The groups normally go for dinner to the local cafes or, they have dinner with the last extra meal that is always packed for emergencies. Night at the hostel.
Day 13Day in Ilulissat to dry and clean kit, explore the village, buy presents. It is possible to book boat tours to enjoy the glaciers or even helicopter flights.
Day 14Breakfast at the hostel. Departure and journey home.
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