Hvalsund, West Greenland

Sep 02, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

We are exploring Greenland once more. After our adventures in Arctic Canada and a couple of days exploring the ice, we made landfall in northwestern Greenland this morning.

Just after 5 a.m., before most of us were awake, we passed the community of Qaanaaq, near Thule Air Base (the United States Air Force’s northernmost base), on our way towards Bowdoin Fjord. The fjord was full of icebergs and the incredibly calm conditions created extraordinary reflections all around us.

On shore, we found lush tundra everywhere. With a warmer current running up this coast and some more protected habitat, we walked in cushions of moss, blueberry, and heather. Many of us followed a small stream into a gentle valley, and those of us who could climb a little higher had an opportunity to look out over a large glacier and up to the Greenland ice sheet itself.

On our way out of the fjord, the reflections and spectacular ice continued. Rather than turning west back to Baffin Bay, we continued east as our ship began exploring new territory. We had never been further inside this system of bays and glaciers before.

Many guests crowded onto the bridge to look for a good place to land. We saw a small settlement and several hunting camps along the way before our expedition leader, Russ Evans, went scouting by Zodiac. He found an interesting camp where hunters had recently been, and we took the opportunity to hike up some more hills and to explore the soft and sandy beach—a rare find up here!

During dinner we cruised past Qaanaaq once more, on our way south to see what else we can discover. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Kingsley


Jennifer Kingsley is a Canadian journalist, a National Geographic Explorer, and the Field Correspondent for Lindblad Expeditions. She has travelled extensively in the global Arctic and throughout the temperate rain forest of the Pacific Rim. After completing her biology degree, she worked in Canada's Rocky Mountain National Parks before moving to British Columbia to specialize in grizzly bear ecology. Jennifer spent several seasons sailing among the whales, bears, and wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest. 

About the Photographer

Carl Erik Kilander


Carl was born in Norway and received a master’s degree in forestry and nature conservation from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in 1973. His professional experience is mainly connected to environmental issues and natural resource management on the Norway mainland and in Svalbard. A major part of his professional experience comprises planning and management of protected areas, particularly in the southern parts of Norway and Svalbard. During the period 1999-2001 Carl was Head of the Environmental Department at the Governor of Svalbard´s office. He has also been District Manager (southwestern Norway) followed by the position of Senior Environmental Adviser at the Norwegian State Forest Service.

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