Trip date: July 2022
During our week in Greenland we did two seperate boat tours. The first we booked thru Disko Line for a full day trip to Eqip Sermia. We were picked up at the Hotel Arctic, an easy walk from our apartment in Ilulissat, and taken to the marina. The boat was pretty large, lots of seating below, and lots of room to move around up top.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day for this trip, good thing as it was 3 ½ hours up to the glacier! On the way we passed so many icebergs! Most were pretty small, being July and being a bit far from the glacier they had come off of. But we did pass a few massive ones! Icebergs are a bit like clouds in that you can play "what does that one look like to you?" A swan? A seal?
We also passed a couple of partially frozen waterfalls. Always such a beautiful site!
We were traveling about 50 miles north of Ilulissat and it got significantly cooler as we neared the glacier. Eqip Sermia is called the calving glacier and is one of the most active in all of Greenland, you are pretty much guaranteed to see ice falling off!
The glacier is about 3 miles wide and is an impressive sight on its own. But when a hunk of ice calves off it makes a loud cracking sound and a splash when it hits the water. The boat keeps a good distance so there isn't any danger.
Our boat stayed in front of the glacier for 2 hours, which sounds like a lot of time, but it was great! They served lunch during this time, and as Forest and I happened to be sitting on the glacier side of the boat, so we had a lovely view as we ate.
The lunch was served in super cute tin bento-style boxes and was very Danish; potato salad, meatballs, and salad of cabbage and pickled vegetables. When we booked, the site said you could bring your own beverages so we put a bottle of rosé in an insulated Corkcicle canteen. But it seemed like maybe they didn't mean wine so we were glad that you couldn't tell what was in our bottle!
The onboard guide told us about the glacier and showed us some photos and graphs depicting how much it has receded over the years. It was shocking to me, and really sad.
When we left the glacier the boat made a stop at Glacier Lodge Eqi to let off some passengers who were checking in there. The bungalows here look straight out onto the glacier so you can watch for calving ice all day long if you like! There are also a couple of cool hikes you can take to get closer.
They served coffee and little cakes on the way back, and most of us spent the time outside in the sun watching for whales. I think a couple of people thought they saw some but we didn't. We did pass some buoys which the guide explained were deep fishing lines for halibut. These long line systems are set with 5,000 hooks!
Back in Ilulissat, the transfer vans were waiting at the marina to take us to the Hotel Arctic. It had been a great day!
When we stayed at the Ilimanaq Lodge, we booked an Iceberg Sightseeing cruise through World of Greenland. You'll see in the pictures on their site that the boat looks medium sized and includes coffee. Our trip cost a little less and we were on a small outboard motor craft. We were also the only ones who had signed up for the tour, so it was just us, our tour guides from the Settlement Walk, and Captain Frank.
As soon as we headed out into Disko Bay we spotted 2 whales! They were pretty close and the captain stopped the boat so we could watch for a while. We got to see a few whale tails but then it was time for the icebergs!
Our small boat turned directly into the iceflow that breaks off of the Ilulissat Glacier. There wasn't another boat around, the only sound was of the water, the crack of ice falling off the bergs, and the cry of flying birds. It was spectacular!
And unlike the smaller glaciers we saw on our big day trip cruise, these didn't look like animals, they were huge and architectural!
We were able to get so close to some of the smaller ones, it was amazing to peer into the clear water and get just a small idea of how deep these bergs go! They say that 90% of an iceberg is underwater!!!
Captain Frank stopped the boat and showed us on a map the enormity of the icefjord. We felt very tiny amidst these floating giants.