Thule, Disko Bay – Midnight Sun Exploration (2019)
Duration: 16 days
Ship: MS Fram
5 August 2019
- Visit Thule – the northernmost town on Greenland’s west coast
- Majestic Ilulissat Icefjord: a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Quiet settlements and bustling, colourful towns
- Luxuriant green tundra and narrow twisting fjords filled with ice
Your flight from Copenhagen arrives in the evening in Kangerlussuaq, where MS Fram will be waiting for your embarkation.
Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland, with a population of only 5.600. The community subsists on fishing, with a large fleet of trawlers, a shipyard and a fish factory prominent in the town. Set in lovely, rolling countryside at the foot of a steep hill, Sisimiut offers exciting excursion that require a reasonable level of fitness. Our visit will focus largely on sites around the harbour. Our Expedition team will be at your disposal at different locations in the settlement.
Situated on the volcanic island of Disko, Qeqertarsuaq ("the Big Island"), hosts the tiny settlement of Kangerluk with a population of 60. Fishing and seal hunting are important here, and there is a long tradition of whaling. The town is set in wonderful surroundings at the foot of impressive basalt mountains. An Arctic Station is situated here, part of Copenhagen University´s study of Greenlandic flora and fauna.
A PolarCirkel boat will transfer you from the ship to Qeqertarsuaq and our Expedition team will be at your disposal at different locations on the walking excursion. A small local café will be open for you during the visit.
The town of Uummannaq is located in scenic surroundings at the foot of the 1,170-meter tall, heart-shaped mountain. Halibut reigns supreme here, and is the town's major source of employment. Visit the settlement´s magnificent church and a curious old turf house. There will be a PolarCirkel boat transfer from the ship to Uummannaq.
We sail the northwest coast in the Davis Strait from 71 to 76 degrees north, and enter a great northern wilderness. A series of lectures about this area of Greenland will be held during the day.
The Qaanaaq (or Thule) district was the first part of Greenland to be colonised by Inuits from the west. The district is among the northernmost inhabited places on earth and has a population of around 1,000. It is also the last bastion of US military presence in Greenland.
Traditional hunting for seal, whale and polar bear remains the way of life in the town and small settlements. We may visit the Ultima Thule souvenir shop here, to see and shop for original artwork and handicrafts from the Qaanaaq district.
Situated only 1,362 km from the North Pole, Siorapaluk is the most northerly natural community in the World. The settlement was founded in 1933 and is known for its beautiful surroundings and geology. Siorapaluk means "little sands" and was named after the small sandy beach in front of the village. This will be the northernmost landing on this trip. The church, museum and shop are open for all to enter.
Cruising along the ice edge, we will sail as far north as possible and hope to reach 80 degrees north. This will depend on ice and weather conditions that are impossible to predict.
While we are at sea, a series of lectures will be held on board on topics related to history and wildlife in the area. Another focal point for our lecture programme is the environmental challenges of the world’s oceans. There might also be a chance to look behind the scenes and partake in our Guest Expedition Staff programme. Our onboard Expedition photographer will show you the basics of expedition photography. There will also be gathering with the Expedition team to summarize the voyage so far, and present the plan for the following days.
Greenlanders have lived in the settlement now known as Dundas for the last 900 years, and the Danish explorer Rasmussen founded a trading post here in 1910. Dundas Village is protected by Denmark and specifically excluded from areas under US Air Force control. Go ashore and stroll in the old settlement and continue to the other side of the peninsula, where you will find the remains of old turf huts from earlier times.
Enjoy more fascinating lectures from our Expedition team, and relax as you get to know your fellow explorers on board.
Upernavik was founded in 1772, and means "place of spring" because the hunters moved here after spending the winter further inland. It is situated nearly 800 km north of the Arctic Circle, and more than half of the municipality’s 3,000 inhabitants live in ten settlements spread along a coastal stretch of 450 kilometres. Here the primary occupation is fishing for Greenland halibut, but hunting still plays a decisive role for employment in the settlements. Polar bear hunting is also done in this area.
Today, you will have a unique opportunity to witness the true power of nature on a visit to the Eqip Sermia Glacier, which calves icebergs into the open ocean. We will use the ship’s tender boats to go ashore in this beautiful area. If you're feeling more active, you can take a short hike on your own in the area.
Icebergs are called Ilulissat in Greenlandic, and it comes as no surprise to anyone who has been here that this is the town’s name. This is the third largest town in Greenland with a population of about 5,000. Ilulissat is set in marvellous surroundings at Ilulissat Isfjord, which in 2004 was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here enormous icebergs run aground at the mouth of the fjord, just outside of town.They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the northern hemisphere.
Ilulissat is the metropolitan centre of the Disko Bay area and this aspect will be the theme of the settlement visit, together with the town's long-standing history. The most important trades in Ilulissat are fishing and tourism. The conditions will decide if MS Fram will dock at the quayside in Ilulissat or shuttle in with the PolarCirkel boats. Our Expedition team will be at your disposal at points of interest.
In the early afternoon we reach the small settlement Itilleq, meaning “the hollow”. The town was founded in 1847 on another island, but was later moved one kilometre east to its present location. The village is located about 50 km south of Sisimiut at the head of the Itilleq Fjord. Around 130 people live here, mainly engaged in hunting and fishing. The island has no freshwater, and for this reason Itilleq makes use of a facility for creating freshwater from seawater. The church here has and interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak- North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963.
As its name suggests, the village is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers, and it can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village as the Arctic Circle is indeed found only 200 metres to the south.
As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Fram has come to an end. We take you on a final excursion towards the Greenland Ice Cap and the Reindeer Glacier. This vast icy wasteland stretches 2,400 km north and reaches heights of up to 3,200 metres above sea level.
The road to the edge of the Ice Sheet boasts beautiful natural scenery, ranging from Arctic desert and tundra with low-growing shrubs, to hilly terrain offering breathtaking views over the landscape. Join us for a barbecue meal before we transfer you to the airport for your late evening flight to Copenhagen.
You arrive in the Danish capital early in the morning and may even have the time to explore "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" before you head home.
Included in your voyage
- Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Return economy class flights from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq
- Transfer from airport to ship and from ship to airport in Kangerlussuaq
- Excursion towards the Ice Cap incl. a barbecue meal
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage handling
- Optional Excursions and Gratuities
This cruise is not suitable for guests using wheelchairs due to the possibility of using tender boats during embarkation or disembarkation.
|Year of refurbishment||2020|
|Passenger capacity||318 (200 in Antarctica)|
The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.