- Issue: Spring 2016
- Author: Wendy Redal
- Photographer: Bill Gent and Diana Russler
Sermilik Fjord :: Greenland
During Greenland’s brief summer, arctic fox and the occasional polar bear wander over tundra dotted with tiny wildflowers. Pointed peaks rise a mile high above frigid waters where whales, seals, and narwhals live. Polar pack ice, carried down by the East Greenland Current, prevents access to the country’s eastern coast for much of the year, and the 1,680-mile rockbound shoreline is devoid of habitation but for a few small Inuit villages whose residents practice subsistence hunting to survive.
Few places can match East Greenland as a setting for an encounter with remote wilderness. Our all-day outing on an inflatable Zodiac boat in Sermilik Fjord gave me, and a few others on a WWF travel adventure, a rare immersion in this raw landscape.
Navigating the maze of ice-choked channels to reach an isolated island, we stepped ashore for a hike over terrain that offered a view of the massive Greenland ice sheet beyond. Nearly two miles deep at its thickest point, the ice sheet is the source of glaciers that calve the huge blue icebergs that parade down the fjord. We made a game of identifying their whimsical shapes, as if they were clouds floating across the sky.
Until now, travelers to this region have had no options beyond point-to-point kayaking or tent-based treks across the mountains. But with the advent of the new Base Camp Greenland at the edge of the Sermilik Fjord complex, access is easier and much more comfortable.
The camp was a welcome retreat. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, seven raised cabins overlook a protected bay, and offer heated interiors, down duvets, and hot showers after a day’s adventuring—just what we needed to restore and prepare us for another day of trekking through the wonders of this largely untouched place.