September 2010, MS Expedition set sail on a trip of a lifetime to Svalbard and Greenland with Gap Adventures. Booked on an impulse and at half price, the trip diverted us from our holiday to Namibia, Africa – A country which had our heart and souls. It’s a decision we don’t regret.
Greenland doesn’t disappoint.
I have seen Greenland described in guidebooks as ‘The place you go when you’ve seen everything else’ – implying it’s last on the ‘to do’ list with no worthy sights to be had. I’d like to offer a different interpretation …… It’s a place you daren’t go before you been other places, because the immense landscapes and outrageous scenery compromises every memory you’ve had of beautiful Norwegian Fiords, Scottish Highlands and Antarctic tabular icebergs. Greenland is, in two words, immense and outrageous. Everything’s bigger, more powerful, more impactful. It challenges your senses and alters your perspective on the power and beauty of the natural world. It turns expectations upside down and amends your travel ‘to-do’ list forever.
Greenland’s a place I had little expectations of, but was humbled and shaken by. It’s a land of outrageous scenery, one that made me feel alive again. Immense 150 foot icebergs adorned every corner of my vision, framed by 4000ft snow topped mountains.
Icebergs enliven the child in every one of us. They make us rush to our feet and exclaim out loud. I wanted to reach out and touch the scalloped patterns, stroke the smoothened sides. A zodiac cruise by them made me feel as vulnerable as a newborn or as joyous as a child at Christmas. Their colours penetrated my vision as if it was the first time I’d seen true blue and white. Their scale both impressed and daunted. I felt insignificant but honoured to be in their presence. An immaculately sculptured iceberg creates special moments, forms lifelong memories and delivers a powerful sense of nature at its most potent, most outrageous and most beautiful.
Suffice to say, the expedition far exceeded expectations. The ever changing Arctic landscapes and the polar days and nights charmed all who viewed them. To witness the elusive wildlife was a privilege and a pleasure. Lifetime goals were achieved as passengers cruised with titanic icebergs and marvelled at them rolling over. We watched glaciers carve and marvelled at polar bears stalking the barren landscape for a late autumn feed. We were ‘kissed’ by an iceberg, traversed 80 degree North alongside dolphins and spent evenings watching the aurora borealis.
The Captain negotiated the ship through narrow fiords and waters seldom visited. In Scoresby Sund he navigated unchartered alleys of icebergs, narrow inlets and fiords too deep to anchor. We ‘bumped’ into sleeping Blue Whales, cruised alongside Orca Whales and Humpbacks and were finally welcomed into Reykjavik Harbour by Minke Whales and dolphins swimming alongside the ship’s bow.
We sang sea shanties together, drank and dined together and mourned the end of the trip together… These are my Arctic Highlights.