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Ilulissat & Eqi - Amazing Views

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9 days in the land of the midnight sun. Experience the city of Ilulissat, the settlements of Ilimanaq and Oqaatsut and get close to the Greenlanders in their own country, Kalaallit Nunaat. Near Ilulissat we trek to the Kangia Icefjord, where enormous icebergs from the largest glacier on the northern hemisphere - Sermeq Kujalleq - float by. Follow the great Arctic explorer Poul Emilie Victor in his old foot steps and trails to the ice cap around Ice Camp Eqi. 3 boat trips are included in this trip of which there will be excellent possibilities of seeing whales and seals at close range.
  • By boat through the Ataa strait to the active glacier of Eqip Sermia – with some good possibilities of whale safari during the trip (return trip is 2 days later)
  • Huge icebergs right outside the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat
  • 2 overnight stays in the charming wilderness cabins in Ice Camp Eqi situated close to the Eqi glacier
  • Impressive treks in some of Greenland’s most beautiful Arctic nature
  • Trek to the edge of the ancient moraine, from where we can see the glacier calve close by
  • Trek to the ice cap from Eqi
  • Experience the vibrant life of a Greenlandic city and two settlements
  • Enjoy the midnight sun 24-7 in North Greenland
  • Extended boat trip to the Icefjord with picnic in the southern part of the mouth of the Icefjord and local visit in the settlement of Ilimanaq
  • Lunch in the restaurant H8 in the settlement of Oqaatsut/Rodebay with the possibility of trekking back to Ilulissat
  • Trek to the old settlement of Sermermiut by the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord
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Day 1. Copenhagen – Ilulissat

We take the flight from Copenhagen to Ilulissat with a stop-over in Kangerlussuaq. In the afternoon we arrive in Ilulissat and will be accommodated in Hotel Arctic. The hotel is beautifully situated high above the city with an impressive view of the Disko Bay. From the hotel it is possible to enjoy the view of the huge icebergs stranded on the iceberg bank as well as the Disko Island more than 100 km away with its basalt mountains rising majestically.
We spend the afternoon taking a closer look at the city. A good place to start the city walk is in the harbour area, which is the city’s natural pivotal point. At here you will find the city’s oldest houses dating back to the 1700 as well as the biggest workplace – the Royal Greenland fish factory. The factory mainly processes halibut and shrimps, which are being purchased daily from the fishing boats and trawlers. The harbour is humming with activity and life and dinghies and fishing boats frequently harbour with today’s catch of seal, sea birds and fish. We also pass the beautiful, old Zion Church, where the father of the Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen preached in the late 1800. During our city walk we soon get a sense of this modern Greenlandic city adapted to a life in the Arctic, far north of the Arctic Circle.
If time and energy allow it, it is possible to visit one of the two museums in the city. Ilulissat Museum, previously the public college and also the birth home of Knud Rasmussen, and the Art Museum that houses a unique collection of paintings of the Greenlandic painter Emmanuel A. Pedersen, respectively. However, it is also possible to postpone the visits to the museums till the end of the trip.
Dinner this evening takes place in the Ulo restaurant at Hotel Arctic and is a welcome dinner and included in the package of this trip.-/-/D
Day 2. Boat trip to Ice Camp Eqi with a chartered boat for the group

We leave Ilulissat in the morning and head towards the north. During the boat trip we pass Rodebay and continue through the Atâ strait with the massive mountains on “Arveprinsens Ejland” on the port side and several bird cliffs on the starboard side. Here cormorants, petrels and Arctic skua species thrive on the harsh and steep cliffs. During the trip we might encounter both seals and whales and will naturally use the necessary time to gaze at these amazing animals if we are in luck. After approx. one and a half hour of sailing, the Eqi glacier appears towards the east with the overarching ice cap in the background. However, we continue our boat trip further towards the north and arrive at a fabulous location north of the island of ”Igdluluarssuit nunatat”. Surrounded by icebergs and floes with a view of the giant glacier of ”Kangilerngata Sermia” we enjoy our lunch on the boat. After lunch we continue by boat passing by the glacier of Eqip Sermia and finally disembark near Ice Camp Eqi, or more specifically at Port Victor, situated in a reasonable distance from the calving glacier. Further up on a plateau we find the small and cosy Café Victor – the place where we will be enjoying our coming meals. The café and the harbour are both named after the French Arctic explorer Paul-Emilie Victor, who arrived and settled in the area to explore the ice cap after the second world war. At that time Eqi was the most suitable place in Greenland to access the ice cap bringing heavy expedition equipment. Paul-Emile Victor overwintered several times on the ice cap itself under harsh and sometimes inhuman living conditions. We will be accommodated in comfortable 20 m2 cabins all furnished as double rooms with double beds or single beds. Each cabin is equipped with a couch area with the possibility of changing it into a bed section and a big veranda with a magnificent view of the Eqi glacier. Each cabin has its own toilet/earth closet and a heater for the chilly evenings and nights. After check in we will pack our day backpacks and circle around a small lagoon in order to get closer to the front of the glacier. The hike takes us up on the edge of an old moraine – a relic of the glacier’s former heyday. Since 1930 the glacier has constricted itself up the hill and thereby ascended from the water. This has resulted in a glacier front now rising more than 100 meters at the highest point and several times during the day immense lumps of ice break off. The lateral moraine provides us with a safe spot to get nearer this impressive glacier. From here we will be able to have an overall view of the more than 4 km wide glacier front. After this unique experience we will return to Eqi where dinner will be ready for us in Café Victor. B/L/D
Day 3. Trek to the ice cap

We will enjoy breakfast in the café to the sound of the calving glacier, sometimes so powerful that the vibrations can be felt in Ice Camp Eqi. We will pack our day backpacks with lunch packs etc. and begin our ascent to the ice cap. We will follow the historical track/trail established by Poul Emilie Victor during his expeditions to the ice cap. Poul Emilie Victor used 2 tons heavy expedition vehicles to bring equipment to the edge of the ice cap from where he constructed and established an ingenious wire system to cover the last precipitous ascent. The wire system no longer exists but various parts of the equipment still stand as a memory of bygone days. After a trip up on the ice cap itself we head back towards Ice Camp Eqi. After passing numerous small lakes we find ourselves on the top of the last ridge with a stunning view of the entire area. It is possible to get quite an extended view above the edge of the Eqi glacier and towards the ice cap, which stretches boundlessly into the horizon. We return to Eqi and to the homely comfort and dinner in Café Victor. B/L/D
Day 4. Boat trip to Ilulissat passing through the settlement of Oqaatsut/Rodebay

The morning is at your own disposal. You can have a closer look at the ”Frenchman’s House” – a hut that was constructed by Paul-Emilie Victor as a base for all his expeditions in the late 1940ies. It is still possible to see the original inscriptions on the wall and encounter several other quaint objects from the previous expeditions. Late in the afternoon our boat arrives to Eqi and we head towards the south. At lunchtime we arrive to the settlement of Oqaatsut, also known as Rodebay (approx. 40 inhabitants), named by the Dutch whalers who inhabited the area years ago. Rodebay means ”the red bay” and refers to the small bay by the settlement that was coloured red by the blood that emerged during the flensing of the whales. In Rodebay we will enjoy a delicious lunch in the restaurant H8, tastefully and gently decorated and restored in an old house previously belonging to the Royal Greenlandic Trade. Lunch is based on fresh Greenlandic products such as "rækling" (air-dried halibut), a well-known and famous speciality from the settlement and a lot cheaper than the fortune it costs on the local fish market “brættet” in Ilulissat. If the weather and energy allow it, it is possible to trek back to Ilulissat – a beautiful and diversified trip that takes about 5 hours. The tour leader will decide whether it is convenient or not to do the trek on the actual day as regards weather and time schedule.
Back in Ilulissat we check in at Hotel Arctic and enjoy the evening and civilisation in the light of the midnight sun. B/L/-
Day 5. Icebergs and visit in the settlement of Ilimanaq

After breakfast we depart from Ilulissat to Ilimanaq. We are heading out on a very picturesque boat trip passing by the mouth of the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord and the immense icebergs – the largest in the northern hemisphere. This is the ”real” Greenland. Being on the boat to Ilimanaq will leave us with good chances of spotting several whale species, both humpback whales and fin whales frequent these waters during summertime. Just south of the mouth of the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord lies Ilimanaq. The settlement is relatively scantly visited by tourists, and it is a very quiet and tranquil place compared to the ”big city”. Approximately 90 people live in Ilimanaq, also known as Claushavn in Danish. Hunting is still the main occupation in this area. According to the season the hunters’ catch consists of seal, whale and reindeer. In addition, some of the inhabitants make occasional trips to Kangerlussuaq in the autumn to hunt for musk oxen. The settlement is also known for its heather-smoked trout caught in the fjords around Tassiusaq just behind the settlement and subsequently sold on the local fish market in Ilulissat. We take a stroll around the settlement and inhale everyday life in this typical small Greenlandic society. All this will probably leave us with quite an appetite and we will sail northwards to the mouth of the icefjord and disembark and enjoy a picnic with a magnificent view of the fjord and its various icebergs of different shapes and sizes. On our return trip to Ilulissat we get yet another glimpse of the impressive icebergs – this time from a closer range being on the boat B/L/-
Day 6. Trek to the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord and the Sermermiut valley with the old inuit settlement

We begin the day with a trek to the Sermermiut valley. Here it is possible to see ruins from the old Inuit settlements. We will use the well-established tracks on the west side of the valley. Sermermiut was inhabited from approx. 1400 to approx. 1850. The place housed the biggest settlement in Greenland in 1737. In 1742 the merchant Jacob Severin founded a harbour and a trading station nearby. Throughout the following years the trading station developed and expanded and soon became the biggest village in North Greenland – today Ilulissat. Archaeologists have established that all the cultures and civilisations settling along the Greenlandic west-coast have also been settling in Sermermiut for a shorter or longer duration of time. The ruins, which we will take a closer look at, have low, round or square walls all covered with grass and by the shore it is possible to see old kitchen dunghills. The hill side right next to the previous settlement is filled with bones from seals and other animal species. The rich animal life consisting of seals and fish is the main reason to why people have been settling here for thousands of years. One of the main reasons to this vivid animal life is that the melting glaciers liberate high amounts of oxygen from the ice, subdued to great pressure throughout centuries. This vitalising oxygen is very favourable to the fauna in the icefjord and the process throughout the entire food chain is immense.
Just east of Sermermiut we will take a closer look at”Kællingekløften” (Suicide Gorge). From here we can enjoy a spectacular view. From "Sermeq Kujalleq", the huge and very productive glacier situated 60 km inwards in the fjord, calves off immense icebergs, which are transported slowly towards the mouth of the fjord meeting the Disko Bay. The icebergs float around 34 m per day and completely fill up the fjord and its 1500 meters of depth. The icebergs are crammed together in the fjord because of the submarine moraine situated at the mouth of the fjord making it difficult for the icebergs to pass at a depth of only 200-300 m. You will get a chance to see this phenomenon and the ice packed fjord with its shining and glistening icebergs at a very close range. 1-2 years easily pass by from the time the ice cracks off at the edge of the ice cap and is calved off from the glacier and until it reaches the mouth of the fjord. We will take plenty of time to gaze at this ice chaos and inhale and enjoy this impressive sight. The rest of the day will be at your own disposal. B/-/-
Day 7. Day off in Ilulissat

The day is at your own disposal. There is plenty of opportunities to go shopping in Ilulissat and look for souvenirs such as seal skin gloves, jewellery made of polar bear teeth and carvings – the well-known ”tupilak”. Another option is to visit Ilulissat’s the two museums in case you did not make it in the beginning of the trip.
In addition there are various excursions to do in the area such as helicopter flights to the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord, long line fishing, lecture on the huskies etc. Your tour leader will be able to assist you with any kind of information and help you book the excursions and trips if requested.
In the evening Hotel Arctic is hosting a farewell dinner in the restaurant and later on in the evening it will be possible to do a midnight boat trip to the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord where we will pass the giant and immense icebergs and their beautiful and golden colours glowing in the sun and leave this beautiful setting and country behind us in due form (midnight boat trip is not included in the package). B/-/D
Day 8. Ilulissat – Kangerlussuaq

Morning can be spent on your own in Ilulissat. In the afternoon we leave for the airport and take the flight back to Copenhagen with a stop over in Kangerlussuaq. In clear weather there is a beautiful view of the icefjord and the Disko Bay.
If time allows it, it is possible to take a stroll in the area around Kangerlussuaq. Even close to the populated area it is often possible to encounter musk oxen, which makes it interesting to do a hike or even better a bicycle tour towards the ice cap in order to get close to these magnificent animals. (Activity in Kangerlussuaq, will be on your own) Air Greenland’s Airbus will take us safely to Copenhagen and leave us with enough time to let all the great experiences and impressions settle in our minds while we cross the North Atlantic. B/-/-
Day 9. Arrival in Copenhagen, Denmark

Early arrival in the morning, Copenhagen - Denmark
Meals

Included meals are indicated each day in the itinerary with B (Breakfast), L (Lunch), D (Dinner). Meals that are not included in the package are marked with a – in the itinerary.
Accomodation

In Eqi you spend the night in log cabins with comfortable double rooms and excellent view of the Eqi glacier. Each cabin has its own toilet/earth closet. There are no shower facilities in Eqi. In Ilulissat you will be accommodated in the best hotel in Greenland – the Hotel Arctic, in superior rooms with a splendid view of the Disko Bay.
Single rooms

It is not possible to book single rooms on this trip since the capacity in Ice Camp Eqi does not allow it. If you travel alone you will be accommodated in a shared double room together with a person of the same sex.
International departure

This trip is sold internationally, which means that the tour will be conducted both in Danish and English by a Danish tour leader.
Eqip Sermia – ”the Active Glacier”

Approximately 3 hours north of Ilulissat by boat you will find one of the most picturesque areas in Greenland. The glacier Eqip Sermia with its 5 km long glacier front calves off ice directly into the sea several times a day and there are excellent possibilities of seeing this natural phenomenon at close range. Ice Camp Eqi lies in this beautiful area surrounded by calving glaciers, mountains and only a few hours walk from the ice cap. This is the nature-lover’s true paradise - a place to take walks, relax, have a pleasant time and enjoy the good food.
Ilimanaq

The name means ”place with good hunting possibilities”. Ilimanaq is a modern, well-functioning Greenlandic settlement with approx. 96 inhabitants. Ilimanaq was founded in 1747 by the Dutch whaler, Klaes Pieterz Torp, and named "Claushavn" in Danish because of him. Today the main income still comes from whaling and fishing for mainly halibut as well as production of dried fish. In the settlement you find a church, a village house, where the locals meet on special occasions, a school and of course a local shop, where you can find almost anything you need. Ilimanaq has, as many of the other settlements In Greenland, a joint service house with good laundry and shower facilities – a necessity since the majority of the houses in Ilimanaq do not have running water.
Ilulissat – “The place with icebergs”

The Greenlandic name for icebergs is "Ilulissat" and this is of no surprise to those who have spent time in this city. Ilulissat is beautifully located and the neighbour to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord/Kangia with its 60 km in length – an impressive sight. The Sermeq Kujatdleq glacier in the head of Kangia is the place where the well-known giant icebergs derive from. A boat trip – or helicopter trip in this area is something you will never forget. The biggest icebergs strand at the mouth of the Icefjord at a depth of 250 – 300 meters and they are stuck there until the next spring tide. 5000 people and 4000 sledge dogs live in Ilulissat. It is also the third-largest city in Greenland and houses one of Greenland’s biggest fishing industries - Royal Greenland. The factory primarily processes halibut and shrimps. Only a few kilometres from the city you will find the lush and green Sermermiut valley that stretches all the way to the icefjord. In 1727 this settlement was the largest settlement in Greenland with more than 250 people. Excavations have shown that this beautiful valley has been populated for thousands of years.
Duration

9 days, of this 2 trekking days, grade 1-2 and 1 trekking day to the ice cap, grade 3, as well as an optional ½ trekking day from Rodebay to Ilulissat, grade 2-3 (all trekking days are optional).
Difficulty

The trip is overall estimated as a grade 1-2. It is possible to bring your luggage on the boat to Eqi, however, you need to carry it yourself a few hundred meters up to the cabins. Thus, you only need to bring a day back pack for the treks in the area.
The trip offers a total of 4 treks in the terrain as well as 2 shorter city/settlement walks in Ilulissat and Ilimanaq respectively.
All the treks are included in the trip price and are all optional, which means that you can choose not to do the treks in accordance with your own requirements and needs and without it having an influence on the contents of the rest of the trip.
If you choose not to do one of the treks in Eqi, there are several other options to do easier and less challenging trips in the area of Ice Camp Eqi on your own.
Trek to the moraine near Eqi, grade 1-2; trek to the ice cap near Eqi, grade 2-3 (grade 3, if you trek all the way to the ice cap); trek from Rodebay to Ilulissat, grade 2-3; trek to Sermermiut near Ilulissat, grade 1-2.
Climate

In the Ilulissat area the day temperature in June, July and August is approximately 5°C -8°C. The nights can be colder, but during the day the sun and the dry air give the impression of warmer temperatures than is actually the case. Night temperatures sometimes come below 0°C. Rain and showers may occur but at this time of year the weather is usually very clear, with good visibility.
Maps

Hiking maps North Greenland, Ilulissat. 1:100.000 and the Disko Bay, Saga maps 1:500000
can be bought locally.
Power admission

There are good opportunities for charging batteries for digital cameras at the hotel in Ilulissat (using your own charger). However, in Eqi electricity supply is limited as it is being produced by a generator and used only for the VHF and the satellite phone. Thus, bring plenty of spare batteries for this stay.
Mobile phones

Not widespread mobile coverage on this trip. It is only possible to use mobile phones in certain areas, such as in Ilulissat. Generally, we urge people not to use their mobile phones when with the group in order to not interrupt the trekking trips and different excursions by conversations over the phone.
The price includes

Flights: Copenhagen – Kangerlussuaq, return
Flights Kangerlussuaq – Ilulissat, return
Boat transfer: Ilulissat – Eqi, return (including lunch on the boat at Torssukatak)
Boat transfer : Ilulissat – Ilimanaq, return (including picnic at the southern area of Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord)
English/Danish speaking tourleader
Welcome dinner at Hotel Arctic
Farewell dinner at Hotel Arctic
Guided tour in Ilimanaq/Claushavn
Trek to the old Inuit settlement Sermermiut by the Kangia/Ilulissat Icefjord
Optional treks at Eqi to the moraine by the Eqi glacier and the ice cap, respectively
Optional trek from Oqaatsut/Rodebay to Ilulissat
Guided city tour in Ilulissat
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
Luggage transfer between the overnight accommodation
All accommodation (superior room at Hotel Arctic and a 2-person log cabin in Ice Camp Eqi)
Not included

Personal travelling expenses – including expenses for drinks, beverages etc. during the stay
Meals as indicated in the itinerary – allow approx. 150-175 DKK per meal for not included meals in restaurants. In addition, there are cafes and take away restaurants where meals can be bought for less money
Rental of bikes in Kangerlussuaq
Entrance fees to museums etc.
Travel and travel cancellation insurance
Please note:

The program is subject to alteration. A trip like this is very dependent on weather conditions; such as changes concerning wind, precipitation and ice. As a consequence of this some delays or cancellations of some parts of the program may occur, especially those that concern flight or boat transportation. No compensation will be offered within the first 24 hours of delay or change of program due to circumstances that can not be influenced by Topas. Your tourleader will aim to lessen the inconveniences and fill out the time with an alternative program.
 

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