Skjoldunge Sunde, Denmark Sea
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 05 Aug 2022

Skjoldunge Sunde, Denmark Sea, 8/5/2022, National Geographic Explorer

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Arctic

The first warm glow of the sun may have woken us, or maybe we simply set our alarms to get up early. Whatever the reason, many of us were up very early on this new day, our first in Greenland. We were richly rewarded; many icebergs were scattered about, catching those warm early rays from the sun. The backdrop, the Greenland coastline, was equally impressive. Polished rocks from glaciation gave way to jagged peaks jutting up into the cool morning air.

During the morning, the ship slowly made her way into the Nørre Skjoldungen Sund. Just after breakfast, she was in position for the morning activity: Zodiac cruises in Nørrevig Fjord.

The Zodiacs ambled up the fjord. We stopped at anything that caught our interest, including plants along the coastline and beautiful pieces of ice. At the end of the fjord, we were treated to a visual feast as the impressive Thryms Gletscher (glacier) stretched before us. This tide water glacier is fed by at least four glaciers farther up the valley, and we were able to see moraines and spectacular arêtes. Up the northern coast, we spotted two hanging glaciers. One of them delighted us with an avalanche of ice. Close to the glacier face and in among ice, telling us of recent calving activity, we observed a good number of feeding glaucous gulls.

By the time we returned to the ship, she had changed her position, moving a little farther into the sound. Behind her was a glacier with many moraines, and ahead, a stunning U-shaped valley. The scene perfectly illustrated how glaciers carve out classically shaped valleys.

Once we were back on the ship, we were encouraged to head back on deck to soak in the surrounding beauty. We sailed through the U-shaped valley; at one point, the passage was very narrow. As the ship took a righthand bend, we spotted a short fjord called Dronning Marie Dal, reputedly the greenest valley in East Greenland.

As we headed farther into the sound, we came upon a spectacular iceberg with an archway. On the other side of the ship, a glacier rewarded us with a calving event.

Just before lunch, the ship nosed gently into Balders Fjord, already into the southern arm of Skjoldungen Sund. An incredible vertical cliff loomed on our forward starboard quarter. This very impressive wall of rock rose some 1000 meters up into the clear blue sky.

With our senses exhausted, we headed for lunch.

Before heading out to sea and at the end of the sound, we were able to catch some views of an abandoned village called Skjoldungen.

For the rest of the afternoon, we were at sea. We enjoyed presentations and, of course, our evening recap and cocktail hour.

Under impressive clouds and beautiful evening light after dinner, we circumnavigated a giant castle iceberg complete with caves and tunnels.

It was a stunningly beautiful day.

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