If the concept of perfection needs a visual definition, today easily qualifies. A whole day at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat, featuring bright blue skies, no wind, and hundreds of icebergs calved from the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, located some 30 miles up the Kangia Icefjord. After calving, the icebergs float down the fjord and form an ‘ice jam’ at the fjord’s entrance to Disko Bay due to a shallow bedrock sill or barrier. The trapped leading-edge icebergs are shattered by those arriving from upstream, eventually creating relatively smaller pieces that float or are forced over the sill to form the spectacular field of ice. The productive calving can be observed with a regularity unlike any other place in the world, hence the UNESCO designation.
Two activities were offered in the morning. One group went ashore to the small town of Ilulissat and hiked to an archeological site in the nearby Sermermiut Valley. Although the initial commute to Ilulissat was about five minutes, subsequent commutes faced a seemingly insurmountable jumble of large and small ice pieces, concentrated by a shift in currents. Zodiac drivers needed to slowly weave a twisting path to the town/ship, thereby increasing the commute time to 40 minutes. The slower commute was exhilarating, and no one complained about the slalom among the iceberg ‘gates.’
The other group embarked on a boat ride among the magnificent icebergs carved by nature when influenced by her abstract muse, featuring towering mountains of ice and snow, some rising vertically 100-200 feet. Others were gracefully rounded by the wind and spray. Glaucous gulls sat atop vertical spires, while single ravens sat on others. Local fishermen successfully fished for halibut deep within the iceberg fields using long lines. After lunch, groups rotated so everyone had the opportunity to participate in each activity.
The perfect day allowed everyone to capture their own ‘Iconic Photo of Greenland’ with phones or cameras. The entire day is frozen into our minds, to be thawed at any future point for repeated viewing.