Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Nuuk Fjord boat tour – around Sermitsiaq

A Nuuk Fjord boat tour is a must-do for every visitor to Greenland’s capital city. Even a relatively short trip of a few hours takes you past incredible mountain scenery and may even provide you with dinner!

There is something really special about being out on the water. I’m not sure what it is, but I am always keen to jump on a boat and set sail – no matter where we may be heading. Which is how I found myself at “Tidevandstrappen” (the Tidewater stairs at Nuuk’s industrial harbour) at 8:45am for a 4 hour Nuuk Fjord boat tour.

Our boat for this Nuuk Fjord Safari waiting at the Tidewater Stairs - Nuuk, West Greenland
Our vessel for this excursion

I would be sharing this trip with a solo traveller from the US and a group of 8 people from Nunavut – Canada’s newest territory. This was a fantastic group and we had a lot fun together on our fjord adventure.

We were welcomed on board by our captain, Katarina, and given a briefing on where we would be sailing by our guide, Sebastian, as we headed out into the fjord past the colourful houses of Nuuk. Some of the hardy folk from Nunavut elected to sit out on the front deck to enjoy the bracing temperature and wind-chill of Greenland, but I stayed in the warm comfort of the cabin for this first part of the trip!

Preparing for the journey with a run through the map and heading out past Nuuk, West Greenland
A rundown of our route for the excursion (top) and on our way past Nuuk (bottom)

The Nuuk Fjord close to the Capital

On this trip, we would be exploring the part of the fjord that is closest to Nuuk. In particular, we would be circumnavigating Sermitsiaq mountain, the icon of Nuuk, which forms its own island very close to the capital.

Sermitsiaq mountain as seen from near Nuuk, West Greenland
Sermitsiaq is an icon of Nuuk

Before we did that, however, Katarina set course for Maaluto island, where Nuuk Fjord’s 5 whales are sometimes seen. Unfortunately, there were no whales on this occasion, but my imagination ran wild with the thought of owning one of the summer houses in this beautiful area. How amazing would that be?!

Summer home in a snowy landscape in the Nuuk Fjord, West Greenland
I would love a place like this!

We also found a small iceberg, and I was fascinated by how excited the folk from Nunavut were to see one. Apparently they have a lot of sea ice there in the winter, but not so much old ice like this that has come from a glacier.

Images of a small iceberg we found as part of the excursion - near Nuuk, West Greenland
Iceberg views never get old

Sermitsiaq Waterfall

The next major stop on our tour of the Nuuk Fjord was the waterfall that cascades over the back of Sermitsiaq. At this time of year (the start of March), it is frozen solid, and forms the most beautiful and colourful “stalactites”.

Sermitsiaq's frozen waterfall near Nuuk, West Greenland
Frozen waterfalls are just as beautiful as flowing ones

We watched in amazement as Katarina nosed the boat into the rocks at the base of the waterfall and Sebastian jumped out (in tennis shoes!) to gather ice from the waterfall for us. Given how much trouble I have just walking around Nuuk on the ice, it was an impressive display of mountain-goating!

Images of Sebastian collecting ice from the base of Sermitsiaq's frozen waterfall - Nuuk, West Greenland
Sebastian doing his best mountain-goat-on-ice impression. It was seriously impressive to watch!

Our reward – ice that doesn’t get much purer than this.

pure ice in a sealskin glove
Pure ice in a sealskin glove

The views around the back side of Sermitsiaq are just as impressive as the view of Sermitsiaq itself

Views of mountains behind Sermitsiaq, near Nuuk, West Greenland
The mountains around Nuuk are spectacular – and not just Sermitsiaq!

and what better way to take some time out and enjoy the scenery than to do a spot of fishing!

Fishing in the Nuuk Fjord

Sebastian and Katarina set us up with a couple of hand-lines, each of which contained 3 large hooks.

Images of fishing and the fishing apparatus used - Nuuk fjord safari - West Greenland
No bait. Just 3 hooks on a line.

And within 30 seconds of dropping these unbaited hooks over the side, we had our first fish!

Person catching a fish on the Nuuk Fjord Safari - West Greenland
Success!

It was incredible how these cod would bite at anything. And so quickly! Such a contrast to going fishing with my Dad in Australia, where we usually sit in a boat for hours to catch absolutely nothing at all. Don’t worry Dad, it is about spending quality time, not really about the fishing for me. But you should definitely come to Greenland to go fishing… 🤣

We pulled up lines about 15 minutes and 7 fish later, and moved a little further along to sit under Oriartorfik – a very impressive 1030m sheer cliff that falls straight into the Nuuk fjord. The fish-finder was going crazy

Fish finder showing lots of fish, on the Nuuk Fjord Safari, West Greenland
Plenty of fish down there!

and again (and unlike in Australia) the fish were biting at nothing. Several of us even managed to pull up 2 fish at a time!

Success!

This was my first experience of using a hand-line. And although it is very easy to spool out the line, it really is a 2-person job to bring it all back in – one to pull on the line itself, and the other to wind the line back onto the rack so it doesn’t end up in a tangled mess on the floor.

Image of two people fishing - Nuuk Fjord Safari, West Greenland
One person to pull the line in. One person to wrap it back around the spool.

We’d caught about 20 fish and were very proud of our seafood haul before we decided to call it quits and head back towards Nuuk. After so much bracing fresh air and excitement, we spent most of this return journey inside the warm cabin, drinking tea and coffee and admiring the views through the large windows.

It was nice and warm inside and we still had great views. The bonus was tea and coffee!

Views of Colourful Nuuk

The entrance to Nuuk harbour is on the opposite side of the city to the main fjord, which means we had a wonderful opportunity to see the Old Colonial Harbour and the colourful houses that contribute to the moniker – “Colourful Nuuk” from the water.

Views of the colourful houses of Nuuk and the Colonial Harbour, Nuuk Fjord Safari -  West Greenland
The colourful houses (top) and the Old Colonial Harbour (bottom) of Nuuk

It was an amazing trip into just a small portion of the world’s second-largest fjord system and the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning 😄

Explore the Nuuk Fjord by boat

If Nuuk is part of your itinerary for Greenland, you have to head out on one of the many fjord tours available. Even a short one such as this is an amazing experience and offers really beautiful views from the water.

Nuuk, the wash of the boat and Sermitsiaq in the background, West Greenland
Until next time Sermitsiaq!

Discover more about Greenland

I have a large number of blog posts about Greenland, so feel free to read more about my experiences here on my blog.

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Helicopter Scenic Flight to Sermitsiaq Summit – Nuuk Fjord

Taking a helicopter scenic flight over the Nuuk Fjord is one of the highlights of a visit to Greenland’s capital.  But did you know you can make your flightseeing experience even more awesome by landing near the summit of one of the highest mountains in the area?

I LOVE helicopter scenic flights! With air travel so common these days, there is something exotic about being in a helicopter.  So you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to take a flight over Nuuk and the Nuuk Fjord system when the opportunity arose.  The added bonus – we would actually land near the summit of one of the tall peaks near the capital!

Preparing for take-off

There were 5 of us on this adventure to the high wilderness around Nuuk. Our pilot, Jonas, met us at Nuuk airport and led us out to our waiting aircraft. There he pointed out all the safety features of the aircraft as well as the things not to step on or touch … good to know!

Preparing for take-off on the Nuuk Fjord summit flight to Sermitsiaq Mountain - Greenland
Preparing to take off. Very important to know what you can and cannot touch!

The 5 of us bundled into the small AS 350 Eurocopter without disturbing anything we shouldn’t. It was a bit of a tight squeeze in the back with 4 of us rugged up in heavy duty puffy jackets and ski pants, but we jigsawed ourselves until we were all clipped in and sat back to enjoy the ride.

Pilot and passenger in the front of the helicopter preparing for takeoff on the Nuuk Fjord Summit scenic flight - Greenland
Starting up

Scenic flight to the summit of Sermitsiaq

On the Helicopter Summit Flight the pilot has a choice of two mountains – Kingittorsuaq (one of the “deer antlers”), or Sermitsiaq – Nuuk’s iconic neighbour.  The destination for the day depends on weather conditions, but I have to admit I was really excited to learn that we would be heading for Sermitsiaq.

Sermitsiaq – straight ahead of us

It is a very short flight that had all of us sweeping our heads back and forth trying to take in the spectacular views in every direction.  One of the many great things about a helicopter flightseeing tour is that the windows tend to be larger than in a plane, allowing you to see much more – even if you are in the middle seat like I was.

Views from inside the helicopter as we flew towards Sermitsiaq mountain on our summit scenic flight near Nuuk, Greenland
Views out the different windows of the helicopter as we made our way towards the mountain

After passing by the western edge of the mountain, Jonas started searching for an appropriate place to set the helicopter down.  He decided upon a small, relatively flat area below the summit and used the helicopter itself to ensure our landing spot was secure.

Flying towards the western edge of Sermitsiaq mountain with the blue Nuuk Fjord far below - Greenland
The deep blue of the Nuuk Fjord curving around the base of Sermitsiaq

As we came in the first time, the rotors blew some of the snow out of the way.  He then “landed” using the helicopter skids to compact the snow, and then lifted off and backed up to see exactly what his chosen landing place looked like.  He repeated this three times before he was satisfied and we made the final landing. I have to admit the adrenaline was pumping while all this was going on!

Landing near the summit of Sermitsiaq

What an incredible place!

Helicopter landed near the summit of Sermitsiaq mountain near Nuuk, Greenland
Wilderness helicopter landing with the summit of Sermitsiaq in the background

We only had a short time on the mountain, so Jonas helped us make the most of it by leading the way to the best viewpoints.

Walking towards the edge of the mountain with the helicopter in the foreground - Sermitsiaq Flightseeing near Nuuk, Greenland
Exploring the upper slopes of Sermitsiaq

It was a little challenging making our way through the knee-deep snow

Deep bootprints in the snow on Sermitsiaq mountain on a scenic flight - summit landing near Nuuk, Greenland
We often sank to our knees in the deep snow

but the rewards far outweighed the effort, with panoramic views over the Nuuk Fjord

Panorama of the Nuuk Fjord leading down towards Nuuk on the helicopter summit flight, Greenland

Move image over cursor to see the full panorama

and grand views back towards the helicopter and summit of Sermitsiaq, which reminded us just how small we are in this world.

Red helicopter is dwarfed by the summit of Sermitsiaq mountain near Nuuk, Greenland
An amazing landing spot

It is amazing how quickly 25 minutes passes when you are in such a location, and all too soon it was time to head back to the helicopter for our return to Nuuk.

Returning to the helicopter with Sermitsiaq summit in the background on a flightseeing tour near Nuuk, Greenland
Time to head back

Flying over Nuuk

Rather than heading straight back to the airport, the scenic flight takes you on a full circle around the city so that you can see it from all angles.  It was so interesting to see how spread out Greenland’s capital is, and I loved how the houses added a dash of colour to the blue-grey and white landscape.

Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, as seen from the air approaching from the west
The entire city of Nuuk

No matter the angle, there is no denying that Nuuk is located in a truly spectacular place.

Nuuk from all angles as we fly past on the summit scenic flight to Sermitsiaq Mountain, Greenland
Different angles of Nuuk city – with Store Malene and
Kingittorsuaq (top) and Sermitsiaq (bottom) in the background

Then, an hour after we took off, Jonas had us lined up along the runway for our approach into Nuuk airport.  He set the helicopter down onto its small wooden towing platform with barely a bump – such is the skill of Air Greenland pilots.

Coming in to land at Nuuk airport from a helicopter scenic flight, summit landing on Sermitsiaq mountain, Greenland
Approaching Nuuk airport

A helicopter scenic flight for the adventurous

This was by far the best scenic flight I’ve ever done anywhere in the world!  

The opportunity to do a wilderness landing high up on a mountainside is a unique experience, and the views from near the top of Sermitsiaq are truly stunning.  There are several flightseeing tours available from Nuuk and in other places in Greenland, but if you are looking for something more than just your typical scenic flight – I highly recommend the Helicopter Summit Flight from Nuuk.  

And just because I love it – here is a 270 degree panorama from the our wilderness landing on Sermitsiaq.

270 degree panorama from the our landing spot on the Nuuk Fjord helicopter summit flight - Greenland

Move image over cursor to see the full panorama

Million thanks to Air Greenland for this incredible flightseeing experience!

Discover more about Greenland

I have a large number of blog posts about Greenland, so feel free to read more about my experiences here on my blog.

Or, if this post has piqued your curiosity about Greenland in general, learn more about this amazing country by:

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