East Greenland is an isolated yet very special place, dominated by the ice cap and steep mountains. We arrived at the Gyldenlove Fjord as the sun was sneaking out and star bursting on the mountain peaks on a gorgeous morning.

For our first landing in Greenland, we rose early and went to explore the fjord’s coastline. We spent a geology-rich morning, interpreting the diverse rock formations and glacial action. This is a very special fjord and landing location, and we were excited to be near the spot where Nansen came ashore on the first crossing of the Greenland ice cap at Nansen Bay.

Here in East Greenland, one finds fantastic scenery. Steep glacier-topped mountains rise from the sea as giant white and blue icebergs float in deep fjords.

While we were exploring the landing, Hayley DeHart, our visiting genomic research scientist on board from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, went with our dive team to collect surface water samples for eDNA sequencing. The samples were collected at the water surface and from 20 m deep with the help of our dive team. The goal of this research is to sequence and analyze water samples in real time on board National Geographic Endurance. Doing so allows our scientist to characterize marine organisms and biodiversity using low effort sampling methods.

Later in the day, we did a spectacular Zodiac cruise amongst stunning icebergs near the shoreline. The water was so clear that we could see many details underwater of a rich kelp ecosystem. The details of the Greenlandic underwater world were brought to us during our traditional recap at cocktail hour when our divers shared the footage of their fascinating dive.