East Greenland, Ryberg Fjord

Jun 25, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


As morning broke, the skies finally cleared for a moment, providing a nice break from the fog. Large icebergs scattered along the coastline of East Greenland as we made our way towards Nansen Fjord to the south. Global Perspectives Guest Speaker Bob Bindschadler gave a compelling presentation on the reality of “Earth’s Bipolar Disorder.” He addressed climate change and its causes and dangers, as well as real solutions for an improved, sustainable future. How ironic that our afternoon’s destination was changed due to Nansen Fjord being choked with ice! Nonetheless, we pressed on, heading south as National Geographic photographer Dan Westergren regaled us with stories and photos from his time spent skiing to the North Pole. One can only imagine the physical and mental determination it must have taken to clamber over mountainous pressure ridges of ice in skis―nonetheless taking photos while doing so! The stunning photographs of his adventure gave us all an appreciation for the gorgeous yet harsh Arctic conditions.

The crew announced pizza for lunch. Halfway through our chew, however, we learned that narwhals had been spotted from the Bridge! Cutlery clanged onto tables as everyone raced to see a rare wildlife wonder. A few managed to catch a glimpse of these elusive, toothed whales just before they disappeared below the sea’s icy surface. We scanned every inch of the fjord that our binoculars could cover, but to no avail. Narwhals are sneaky buggers.

Continuing to the end of Ryberg Fjord, we sent out a scout boat to assess conditions for an afternoon activity. The best option turned out to be making a large U-turn and disembarking for Zodiac cruises. The afternoon’s highlights included massive icebergs, tumbling waterfalls, ribbons of fog, and Glaucous and Iceland gulls nesting on cliffs with a few fluffy chicks. Traditional Filipino cuisine was served in the dining room. Afterwards, everyone danced the night away with a special performance by the National Geographic Explorer’s very own crew band, the Spice Boys.

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About the Author

Caitlyn Webster

Undersea Specialist

Caitlyn grew up entranced by the sea. She first became SCUBA certified while in high school in southern California and found her true passion diving and studying marine life. After graduating from Cal Poly State University: San Luis Obispo with a degree in Biological Sciences and a concentration in Marine Science and Fisheries, she began her career in research diving operations and logistics. Through different universities and various opportunities, Caitlyn has been fortunate enough to travel to particularly remote parts of the world, sharing her enthusiasm for exploring the seas and marine conservation.

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