Head far north and you’ll discover an extraordinary island of snow and ice. Remote and untrammeled, Greenland offers adventurous travelers the incomparable chance to experience true polar exploration. Here in the world’s least-densely populated territory, you’ll find spectacular wildlife sightings, rewarding cultural encounters, and jaw-dropping landscapes framed by towering walls of ice. Emmett Clarkin, a marine ecologist based in the North West of Ireland and a naturalist and expedition diver with Lindblad, has explored Greenland before. But no matter how many times he goes, he’s always eager to return. Below, Emmett shares some of his top moments from these wild shores—and shows you how the region’s incredible facets keep this place etched on his memory.
In anticipation of new adventures I dig out a map of Greenland to try and track our route and pinpoint our first port of call.
Arriving in Southern Greenland by sea will be a moment that I will never forget. Entering Prince Christian Sound early in the morning we were greeted with still waters perfectly reflecting the wild landscapes that completely surrounded us.
Soon we were greeted by our first iceberg, a little taste of what awaits us on a trip of a lifetime to this wild and remote place.
The Greenlandic working dog is a large, strong, and loyal animal. Nearly outnumbering the local residents of some coastal villages and towns in Greenland, these dogs play an important role in the livelihoods of small communities throughout the winter, as they use them to sled out over the ice to fish and hunt.
I’ve always wanted to visit Greenland to discover the incredible landscapes along with the majestic wildlife found in them. Soon I also developed a strong appreciation for the unique cultural traditions found here, such as the use of working sled dogs to allow people in some of the most remote locations in the Arctic to survive. Most of the dogs are tied up as we walk around Sisimiut, but every now and again we spot a puppy, the next generation of working dog. Asking the permission from one of the puppy owners, I couldn’t resist getting up close and personal with this little ball of cuteness! (above, left)
A photographer’s dream, Ilulissat Icefjord, 350 kms north of the Arctic Circle is an immense landscape with its giant icebergs which calve from the glacier Sermeq Kujalleq, and make their way out into Disko Bay and beyond. During the summer months the icefjord attracts giants of the deep such as humpback whales, arriving to make the most of the seasonal abundance of fish and krill, which are feasting on the explosion of plankton in the nutrient-rich waters.
But it’s not just whales. Ilulissat Icefjord supports a huge range of wildlife in the local area, plus it is now thought that this region has an important role in supporting wildlife communities all over the Arctic.