East Greenland – Tasiilaq
Aug 25 – Sept 2, 2016
Post Tour Update
This tour has completed, and was a great success. See photos from the tour in Martin’s Greenland portfolio, or checkout our 4 part travelogue series of podcasts and posts here. We haven’t planned any future Greenland tours yet, but if you would like to go, please contact us and let us know. Also, subscribe to our Tour & Workshop newsletters to hear about future tours and cancellation openings.
Greenland truly is a world of its own. Icebergs and the inland ice are probably the most famous aspects of the Greenlandic nature – and with good reason. Colossal icebergs in fantastic shapes of blue and white float on the deep blue sea.
Greenland is also about green mountains with beautiful wild flowers, long fjords, precipitous cliffs, hot springs and skies so high and air so fresh. It is easy to see why it is not just people who enjoy living here. Animals also thrive here – at sea and on land – whales, seals, reindeer and musk oxen, to name but a few of the spectacular wildlife.
In Greenland the past is never far away, and even in the biggest towns you experience culture of bygone times.
Natural wilderness the beauty of East Greenland’s natural wilderness combined with the Inuit cultural experience may very well result in your visit to Greenland ranking as one of your most cherished memories.
East Greenland is one of the most isolated habitations in the world. Along the more than 20,000 kilometers of coastline you’ll only encounter two towns and 5 small settlements, inhabited by no more than 3,500 people. As it is only just over 100 years since the first Europeans came to the area, the traditional Inuit culture still plays an important role in day-to-day life. The culture is still strong where life follows the heartbeat of nature. Hunting is still the main source of income for many people.
Coming to Ammassalik you enter the very heart of East Greenland’s exceptional beauty, and one of the most beautiful and unspoiled arctic areas in the world. The awesome landscape has no parallel in the entire arctic. A mosaic of steep, dramatic mountains, countless lakes, streams and rivers, waterfalls, glaciers and green valleys. Ammassalik radiates a purity, which has overwhelmed and fascinated visitors throughout time.
Ammassalik is known to local residents as Tasiilaq which in East Greenlandic means something resembling a lake. It is the largest village in East Greenland with about 2000 residents situated 100km south of the Arctic Circle. The town has a picturesque setting in a fjord surrounded by high mountains and bisected by a small river that flows through the town. The Flower Valley behind the town has a unique flora and is a popular place for short or long hikes.
Weather and temperatures
Whenever you are in an Arctic area you can expect changeable weather and must be prepared for all kinds of weather when you go on a tour. In summertime the average temperature varies between plus 6 degrees Celsius to plus 15 degrees. Humidity is very low in Greenland so it does not feel as cold as in Europe as the wind is very dry.
Day 1 – Arrival at Keflavik airport – Iceland
Transfer to a hotel in Reykjavík
Dinner and accommodation in Reykjavík
Day 2 Reykjavík – Kulusuk – Tasiilaq
We fly from Reykjavík to Kulusuk in the morning. From Kulusuk we go by boat or a helicopter, depending on weather conditions.
While sailing from Kulusuk to Tasiilaq you will enjoy your first sight of the picturesque icebergs with a stop on the way at the tidewater glacier Aputsiaq. The icebergs are truly as masterpieces coming in all shapes and sizes and no two icebergs exactly alike.
Tasiilaq is only a 10-minute helicopter ride from Kulusuk, but this short flight is one of the most scenic expeditions imaginable as you cross the ice-filled sea separating these two mountainous islands.
Day 3 Knud Rasmussen glacier
We leave at 9am to Ikateq a deserted village where nearby you find a rusty old American base that creates a contrast to the beautiful wilderness scenery surrounding it. From Ikateq we sail to Knud Rasmussen glacier where we stop for about 2 hours.
In the Ikateq Fjord connecting Sermiligaaq and Kuummiut you’ll find the abandoned American airbase, founded shortly after World War II. When the Airport was moved to Kulusuk everything was left behind, and despite the fact that a lot of “souvenirs” have been collected in the past years, the place is still worth a visit.
The Knud Rasmussen glacier is more than three kilometres long and is approximately 900 meters in width. Because of the glacial activity the Sermiliqaq Fjord is coloured with sediments, giving it a very distinctive milky blue color. The place is beautiful and perfect for photography.
There are many large glaciers calving in the area near Tasiilaq, among other places in Sermilikfjorden. A boat trip out here to one of the settlements reveals the wonder of nature with an abundance of icebergs floating alongside you as you sail. On a boat trip, you are given a compelling demonstration of the scale of the icebergs towering over the boat.
Facts: Icebergs occur when glaciers calve. Only about 1/9 of it is above water, although this depends on how much air is trapped in the ice.
Day 4 Sightseeing tour and a cultural visit in Tasiilaq and surroundings.
Today you will simply enjoy the fantastic experience of watching the daily life in the settlement. As is the custom in the villages of east Greenland, the wooden houses of Tasiilaq are colourful and scattered on rocks on the hills of the mountains. Tasiilaq is located in an almost circular fjord and, as is usual in the area, surrounded by tall mountains with steep slopes. Tasiilaq is split in two by a small river, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland.
We will visit a workshop where they make the traditional kayaks (Harpoon) and the little museum, which is built inside the town’s old church. This will give you an insight into the fascinating East Greenlandic culture and you can see examples of the fine figures made out of teeth and bones that East Greenland is known for. In the museum you will find kayaks, tupilaks, termojakke and masks. We also take a peek inside the beautiful church, decorated by Greenlandic artist Aka Høegh.
The port in Tasiilaq is the town’s main artery. It is strange to imagine that it is not more than 120 years ago since the first Europeans set foot on East Greenland.
We will also visit a family performing the Inuit Drum dance for a photo session.
The drum has been known and used in the whole of the arctic region. It represents a tradition that has been adapted to the special nomadic way of life of the Inuit and which has made a great impact on their culture and society. The unwritten history of the Inuit has survived in songs, stories and legends passed on from one generation to the next on dark winter evenings, accompanied by the monotonous rhythm of the drum.
Day 5 Boat tour in Ammassalik fjord – Ikasagtivaq fjord
The landscape of the Ammassalik district is exceptionally beautiful and is like no other in the entire arctic. The district is full of lakes, large and steep mountains, green valleys, long rivers and huge glaciers. The area is largely uninhabited and breath-taking in its purity.
The boat tour starts at 9am from the harbour and we will sail along the Ammassalik fjord and from there through the deep fjord Ikasagtivaq to the settlement Tinit (Tinitiqilaaq)
We stop for 2 hours and have lunch on the shore of the ice fjord.
Placed on the lower part of a small peninsula the Tinit settlement offers a spectacular view to the Sermilik fjord where huge icebergs floats by. To the south the fjord Ikâsagtivaq separates Tinit from Ammassalik Island. From the settlement you have a great view to the northern mountains and one of the big glaciers of Ammassalik Island.
Whales are very common in the sea and fjords of Ammassalik. The likelihood of seeing them is therefore high, and a normal boat trip along the coastline and in the fjords can turn into a real whale safari. The best time to see whales in Ammassalik is from the middle of July to the end of September.
Day 6 Sail to Ikateq deserted settlement
We sale in the direction of Semmerlik an ice fjord and our first stop will be in Ikatek, a deserted settlement. Heading back we explore the various formed icebergs and if we are lucky we might see some seals.
Day 7 Sightseeing to Kuummiut
We will spend the day in and around Kuummiut, which is situated deep in the Ammassalik Fjord. From the village the view is awe-inspiring along the fjord all the way to the Denmark Strait. The peaks around Kuummiut are extremely tall and steep, reaching the impressive height of 6,500 feet. The village is often a starting point for kayak expeditions and hiking trips.
Day 8 Flight from Kulusuk to Reykjavík
Helicopter flight / boat tour, depending on weather, to Kulusuk and flight to Reykjavík in the afternoon.
Day 9 Departure
Transfer from Reykjavík to Keflavík airport for departure from Iceland.
What is included in the Package?
- Transfer from/to Keflavik (Iceland) airport
- Hotel in Reykjavik – 2 nights with breakfast
- Dinners- 2 in Reykjavík
- Flight Reykjavík – Kulusuk – Reykjavík
- Helicopter and boat transfer – Kulusuk – Tasiilaq
- Hotel Taxi in Tasiilaq to harbour
- Full board and meals in Greenland
- Boat tours in as per itinerary
- Visit to a Kayak workshop
- Visit a family performing the Inuit Drum dance
- Professional photographer’s Martin Bailey and Tim Vollmer
- You will be emailed a PDF Guidebook for your tour shortly after booking
What is NOT included in the Package?
- International flights to and from Iceland
- Hotels while traveling prior to or following the tour
- Beverages or additional items ordered during meals
A Word on Insurance
You are strongly advised to arrange the following insurance:
- Travel Insurance — If you fall sick or have an accident or fall ill during the course of the trip, you will miss part of your tour, and hospital fees and other expenses can be expensive. We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance for yourself for the entire length of the trip in advance of departure
- Cancellation Insurance — This is often included in your Travel Insurance, but if for any reason you have to cancel your tour after the refund cut-off dates, cancellation insurance can help you recuperate your costs
- Camera Equipment Insurance — We also suggest that you insure your photography equipment and belongings if not included in your home or travel insurance. If you already have your gear insured, double check that you are covered for international travel too, if you are visiting Iceland from another country
Cost & Reservation
The tour costs $7,200 per person for a double or shared room. If you prefer single room to yourself, there is a single supplement of $630 payable with your balance. To book your place, please pay the reservation fee (below) of $1,000 per person by credit card, Paypal or bank transfer. The balance (total cost minus reservation fee) is payable 3 months prior to departure.
- Fees are payable in US Dollars
- If you want to book for more than one person you can change the number of participants in the shopping cart before processing payment (balance payments should be made in multiple payments as the total exceeds the maximum possible transaction amount)
- Tours require a minimum of ten (10) participants to go ahead (max 14). We’ll let you know when the numbers are reached, so please wait until then to purchase your flights, or ensure that you purchase flights that can easily be cancelled
If you cancel your reservation the following charges will be payable:
- If you cancel up to 3 months before the tour start date and we can fill your space, your reservation fee will be refunded *
- There is no additional cancellation fee up to 8 weeks before the start of your tour
- From 8 weeks to 4 weeks before the tour: 25% of your balance
- From 4 weeks to 1 week before the tour: 50% of your balance
- From 1 week to 72 hours before the tour: 75% of your balance
- If you cancel within 72 hours of the start of the trip, no refund can be paid
- Transaction charges incurred on accepting and refunding payments will be deducted from the refund amount
We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance to guard yourself against monies lost due to unavoidable cancellation by either party.
To book your space, click the Reservation Payment “Select Options” button below. Before you can proceed to payment, please select whether you want a double/shared room, or a single room. Note there is a single supplement of $630 payable as part of your balance payment if you select a single room. Also, note that we only accept double/shared room reservation if you are traveling with someone. We will not pair you with someone else if you select this option without a travel partner, and therefore the single supplement will be payable.
To book for more than one person, just change the number in the shopping cart and update it before proceeding to checkout. We control the number of remaining spaces within the shopping cart, so if you can book the number of places required, you’re in!
If you need to pay multiple balance payments, please pay these individually, as the total for more than one balance payment exceed the maximum transaction amount.
Payment buttons removed as tour has finished
If anything is unclear or you just have some questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please double check your mail address when submitting the contact form, because if it’s not valid, we won’t be able to get back to you. If you don’t hear back from us in 48 hours, please add the domain martinbaileyphotography.com to your spam filter’s white list and mail again.
We look forward to seeing you in Iceland, for the photography tour and workshop of a lifetime!
— Martin Bailey & Tim Vollmer