Every day of an expedition is exciting, but we all knew today in Greenland would be special.

First thing this morning, National Geographic Explorer encounters the huge icebergs calved from Jakobshavn, one of the largest and most active glaciers in the world. If you’ve seen the movie Chasing Ice by National Geographic photographer James Balog, this was the glacier captured on film calving an iceberg the size of Manhattan.

The ship navigates through the ice before anchoring offshore Ilulissat, the small settlement that translates to “The Icebergs.” It’s easy to see why this area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Towering icebergs block the entrance to the fjord, with the active face of the retreating Jakonshavn, now more than 40 miles from the entrance. The icebergs here are on a scale rivaled only by the ice in Antarctica.

It’s a busy day coming and going from the ship, with options for walks in town, a hike out to an overlook of the ice-choked fjord, boat tours with local captains among the icebergs, a Greenlandic food tasting, and flightseeing operations to the Greenland icecap.

Words can’t really describe how spectacular the icebergs are, or how interesting the light was in the afternoon. For that you need images. Taking advantage of the perfect conditions, a helicopter was made available to photograph the ship navigating through the ice.

With the evening recap cancelled, and cameras and cocktails in hand, it was all hands on deck with proper dress for this spontaneous photo opportunity. It’s events like this that make traveling on National Geographic Explorer a true expedition, and also an unforgettable experience.