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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