Daily Expedition Reports

  • L’ Anse aux Meadows

    Who the first human to step on the American continent was, we will never know, but we do in fact know who were the first Europeans to arrive.  Perhaps…..
    According to Irish tradition the monk St.
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    • Sep 13, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Sarfanguit, West Greenland

    Here at the end of our journey, our thoughts begin to reach back in an attempt to summarize all that has happened while aboard. In its way, this can be difficult. We have covered many miles and seen nearly all of the iconic species that the Arctic can offer its visitors, including more than a dozen polar bears, with behavioral displays not yet seen even by our Arctic veterans. What the ice and the skill of our Captain have allowed is a voyage that is impossible to recreate. Steering into the uncharted waters of fjords previously choked with ice, creating adventurous encounters, stunning hikes through the landscape, and new and fantastical archaeological finds.  
    Still north of the Arctic Circle, our landing this morning at Sarfanguit provided another opportunity for our guests to explore all that the western edge of Greenland has to offer.
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    • Sep 03, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Ilulissat, West Greenland

    During this voyage, named The Epic 80 we have visited extraordinary places, places of beauty, places of silent magnificence, and places with wildlife as only the Arctic can deliver–and all of these places has been impossible to visit without our trusted expedition vessel as our tool of exploration. But today was different, at least for me personally, because suddenly I was home. Since I have spent a large portion of my life so far, in Disko Bay, living in Ilulissat, today’s visit is special in many senses, the weather gods rewards our visit with fabulous weather and lots of ice!
    Our morning starts out bright and early, so early that some of us still feel the dancing from our Spice Boyz evening yesterday.
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    • Sep 02, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Brededal, Disko Island, Greenland

    Sailing steadily south down the west coast of Greenland, we rounded Disko Island, and found a splendid gravel beach in the middle of spectacular volcanic landscape. It looks something like the outer ramparts of Mordor, dark sepia cliffs, mountains like soaring ziggurats, built from terraces of molten lava, bolts of sunshine spotlighting rich green and gold slopes of tundra.

    In no time our fleet of Zodiacs was racing ashore with platoons of eager walkers.
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    • Sep 01, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Brededal, Disko Island, Greenland

    Sailing steadily south down the west coast of Greenland, we rounded Disko Island, and found a splendid gravel beach in the middle of spectacular volcanic landscape. It looks something like the outer ramparts of Mordor, dark sepia cliffs, mountains like soaring ziggurats, built from terraces of molten lava, bolts of sunshine spotlighting rich green and gold slopes of tundra.
    In no time our fleet of Zodiacs was racing ashore with platoons of eager walkers.
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    • Sep 01, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Qilakitsoq, Greenland

    This morning looks and feels like autumn. We are cruising south along the west coast of Greenland. The sky is overcast, but not with thick clouds. There is a chill in the air, but not cold. The sun is low in the sky, as it should be first thing in the morning, strange after so many long, long days in the High Arctic. We are no longer there, we have moved south of the High Arctic. Here it is slightly warmer, a little moister, a longer growing season.  
    In the afternoon we make a landing at Qilakitsoq, otherwise known to us as the ‘mummy site.
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    • Aug 31, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Greenland, Holms Ø

    We are now slowly making our way south along the western coast of Greenland. After a full afternoon and ‘night,’ but of course still with 24 hours daylight, we have crossed the huge Melville Bay and reached Holms Ø.  For anyone not used to the 24 hours daylight, it usually takes some time to adjust, but we are now all experienced polar travelers in the far north, who have crossed the latitude 80 degrees north.
    Looking at the navigation charts we cannot find any soundings and the area around Holms Ø it is for sure a true day of exploration.
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    • Aug 30, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Cape York, West Greenland

    Just before breakfast, National Geographic Explorer  passed Kap York (Danish). This landmark is located at the southern end of Melville Bay. We sailed along a seemingly endless row of icebergs. These colossal slabs of  ice have calved off from the Green­land icecap. Of all the frozen fresh water on the planet, Greenland holds an estimated 9 percent  (cf. Antarctica  90% and the rest only one percent). Thus our morning exploration aimed for more close encounters with ice. Virtually all our guests joined Zodiac cruises to see glacial ice up close. We zig-zagged through–as one excited guest described it – ”a massive forest of icebergs,” right up to an impressive glacier front, in places over 100 feet high. The bright sunshine created harsh light conditions for photography. Nevertheless there were still great opportunities to capture a multitude of forms, colors, and also the tiny Zodiacs like miniature toys against the white backdrop of immense walls of ice.
    During the afternoon we enjoyed two different, but neatly interconnected presentations by naturalists Karen Copeland and Ian Bullock.
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    • Aug 29, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • Hvalsund, Thule & Bowdoin Fjord, Greenland

    Time is a strange thing–we left Iceland only 13 days ago but with such a treasure trove of wonders behind us, we all feel as if we have been on board since July. Time has also yanked us forward, for we lost an hour last night and another just after lunch today. They will probably turn up eventually, but who cares, when we pack whole lifetimes into each day? This morning was a classic Arctic dawn, calm sea, blue sky embroidered with lacy cirrus, a fleet of small icebergs drifting by and our faithful fulmars.
    Turning into Bowdoin fjord, the usual plain Greenland landscape suddenly became into a geological art gallery.
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    • Aug 28, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic
  • 80 Degrees North
    Video

    The name of this expedition is Epic 80! The longest expedition of the Arctic season that would encompass two landmasses and many islands, view wildlife, and learn about the modern and ancient cultures that live and lived here. It has been epic in many ways. Incredible views of iconic Arctic species and great weather to create opportunities for finding the wildlife. Today though was not so much about wildlife but making our goal of 80 degrees north latitude. The Captain and expedition leader kept a wary eye on both the wind and ice charts to see when a window would open up and give the ship her opportunity. Today was the day. With little to no wind the ice movement would be predictable so we started north with Ellesmere Island on our port side and Greenland to our starboard. By breakfast we were north of 79 and making good distance. There was ice present but it was smaller floes easily navigated through. By lunch we were getting closer. After lunch an announcement came from the bridge that we were just a few nautical miles from our goal. The ice was getting thicker and the floes larger, but when you attempt to get just 600 nautical miles from the North Pole, ice will be encountered. Then the captain found a lead and pushed the ship towards it. Cameras were clicking on the bridge to commemorate the crossing as it was shown on the many GPS units present on the bridge. The master blew the ships horn and all celebrated.
    The best way to celebrate was with a polar plunge! The ship was stopped and a platform was put down so those that wanted could jump into the frigid 30 degree water at 80 degrees north.
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    • Aug 27, 2016
    • National Geographic Explorer in
      Arctic

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