Disko Bay to Uummannaq - 10 DaysAboard: M/S Balto
Experience a life-affirming adventure with the beautiful 12-passenger ship M/S Balto! We begin our voyage by exploring the Disko Bay area, known for its diverse and astonishing landscape, including unique geological formations, deep fjords, springs and caves, magnificent towering icebergs and impressive glaciers faces. We continue up the beautiful Vaigat strait and onwards to the breathtakingly beautiful fjords or areas north of Uummannaq. The rich waters are likely to introduce us to several whale species, such as humpback, minke or pilot whales, as we navigate in between enormous icebergs under the midnight sun.
Travelling with this unique and elegant expedition ship in a group of merely 12 passengers offers a completely different and much more intimate experience of Greenland compared to a larger expedition ship. We get to visit remote settlements, meet the welcoming people living here and in a personal way learn more about their fascinating culture. Also, the footprints we leave behind are a lot smaller! The M/S Balto has a lot of experience of and is designed to explore the most remote fjord systems and take you to secret anchorages. This is true micro cruising.
Various Dates: June & July
- Small group of 12 passengers
- Secret anchorages
- Countless gigantic icebergs
- Rarely visited fjord systems
- Isolated Inuit settlements
- Magical midnight sun
- Great whale watching areas
- The unique ship M/S Balto
- 9 nights on board M/S Balto
- All meals on board
- Coffee and tea
- 1 Expedition Leader and 1 guide
- Guiding ashore and talks on board
- All excursions and activities
- Comprehensive information material before the expedition
- The trip is climate compensated
So much to experience
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
We arrive to the town by the ice fjord, Ilulissat. Immediately upon arrival, we are struck by the natural beauty that surrounds us, with hills, glaciers and a bay filled with icebergs. The remoteness from our everyday life is obvious! In the afternoon we board M/S Balto. After the safety orientation, we venture into Disko Bay, sailing in the low sun, midst a wondrous parade of icebergs of thousand shades of blue. Overnight we sail across the bay and anchor past the glacial waterfalls by Qeqertarsuaq on the south side of Disko Island. Keep in mind that this is truly an expedition voyage, and our itinerary largely depends on weather, calving activity and amounts of ice. Where possible we go on zodiac excursions or make landings.
We enjoy breakfast with a view of the volcanic cliffs of Disko Island. Disko is unique in its geology and lush vegetation and stands out in the otherwise ice-packed bay. Greenlandic legend says it is because the island was moved here from the south by two kayaking seal hunters, and when it entered Disko bay a witch from Ilulissat cast a spell on it to ground.
The island invites to beautiful hikes and the columnar basalt rocks show the island's volcanic history.We pay a visit to Qeqertarsuaq – the settlement on the island – to explore the beautiful nature around the town and the colourful town itself.As we leave Qeqertarsuaq, we cruise close to the eastern side caves, which is also a place where we often witness humpback whales feeding. Occasionally we might hear the mighty thundering of a large ice calving across the bay. We continue up the picturesque Vaigat Strait and en route, we pass by some magnificent glacier fronts and navigate between myriads of icebergs.
There are many impressive and active glaciers in this part of Greenland. One of the glaciers we might explore is Eqip Sermia, which is one of the most active glaciers in Greenland. It is a powerful experience to hear the explosive sound of the air being released as the glacier calves.When we proceed northwest on the Vaigat strait, striking high cliffs and enormous icebergs surround us. We round the corner of the Nuussuaq peninsula, which separates Disko Bay from the Uummannaq Bay. This area is known to be home to numerous different species of animals, such as whales, seals, walrus, reindeer and foxes. We anchor in front of the secluded village of Niaqornat, better known as “the village at the end of the world”.
The village is home to a population of approx. 50 people; several of them are proud hunters, displaying narwhal horns, walrus skulls, polar bear skin and antlers around their huts. This offers a unique opportunity to get an understanding of the local culture, of which we need to respect and aim to learn more!Approaching Uummannaq Island is a sight to behold in any weather, on a clear sunny day or with heart shaped mountain or coastal cliffs rising above the strips of fog. We most likely will have the company of whales spraying near the ship. According to the myth, a piece of the visitors’ hearts will remain on the Uummannaq Island, always trying to summon them back. Whether it is the magic mountain that dominates the landscape of the island or if it is the singing children ashore that are magnetizing, is left to be unsaid.We aim to visit the town of Uummannaq with its old settler houses, church, museum and remains of failed Arctic expeditions in the area. As we continue east, we approach several highly active glaciers, from which numerous of blue-shifting icebergs are thrown into the sea. Very few vessels venture here and many of the fjord systems are still unnamed. The crew of M/S Balto, who have had the fortune of travelling in this area, describes it as one of the most stunning landscapes of the north Greenland.When we start to proceed southwest, we are likely to be treated with magnificent shows of enormous icebergs and the events they do – turning, exploding and maybe dumping lakes of water in the sea. We continue via the rarely visited western side of Disko Island, visiting fjords full of geological wonders.
In the morning we disembark in Ilulissat for homebound flights.
A view from Above
M/S Balto is named after the leading sled dog of 1925 Nome serum run. She was built for the highest ice class in Rauma, Finland, to serve as a government service vessel in the Baltic sea. During 2019-2020, she has been totally refurbished and is now one of the roomiest and most elegant small polar expedition yachts in service. M/S Balto offers a relaxed luxury accommodation for 12 guests in 7 outside cabins, all with private facilities and lower beds. The spacious cabins include 1 Owner’s cabin, 1 superior cabin, 3 double cabins and 2 single cabins. The Owner’s cabin is 30m2, has 6 windows and a queen bed, the superior cabin has two twin beds while the double cabins has a queen bed. The Owner's and superior cabin also offer a separate seating area. In all cabins you find a desk with a chair and a closet for storage.
On the guest deck you also find a cider lined sauna, accommodating 4-6 persons, with a cold shower and a small changing room. The richly appointed saloon and the beautiful dining messroom feature crotch-mahogany panelling, a bar, a card table, a library, coffee and tea stations. She offers a large restaurant style open galley, where you can check on the marvels of our chefs and sample freshly baked bread.
There are several open and semi enclosed deck spaces from where you can enjoy the stunning Arctic sceneries. You are welcomed by an international crew and the bridge is open for visitors.
The ship has been fitted with an electric diesel propulsion capable of maintaining versatile manoeuvring and survey speeds with no vibration. It is therefore ideal as film and photo platform. There is also a mud room for expedition gear and two Zodiacs for wilderness cruises and offshore experiences. M/S Balto is truly one of a kind when it comes to small polar expedition ships. Travelling with this unique 12-passenger ship offers a completely different and much more intimate experience of Greenland compared to a larger expedition ship.
A small group of merely 12 passengers gives us more flexibility, unique itineraries and more time ashore. Also, the footprints we leave behind are a lot smaller!
The M/S Balto is designed to explore the most remote fjord systems, visit isolated Inuit settlements, take you to secret anchorages and maximise each guest’s experience in the unspoiled wilderness. This is true micro cruising.
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