Sept 19: Part 4 The Arctic – Quark boat off Greenland

Part 4 – The Arctic

There is so much to cover here and so many photos I am going to keep this to just a small selection (some hope) and post a link at the bottom for the photo albums for those who are interested is seeing all the photos. It is simply impossible not to take so many as there are just so many moods and views – the constants being crystal clear reflective water – a photographers dream – ditto snow & ice capped beautiful mountains, Stunning landscapes & glaciers and THEN……Polar bears and The Northern Lights. This entire trip was worth it just to experience the lights for four nights running, after such poor weather in Iceland.

I am not going to put the Northern Lights photos with this report or this google album – I will do a separate album for just The Northern Lights – The link will be at the bottom of this report.

We left Reykjavik from the domestic airport where security was just as tight – even though there were only 32 passengers per propeller aeroplane flight to Greenland for heaven sake – only to find on board that the captains door was left wide open LOL – when did you last see the pilot when flying on a commercial flight ?

Coming in to land at Constable point I watched the wheel come down and then realised that this “International” airport was a tin hut at the edge of a mud field and that the “runway” was soft dirt. The wheels came down smoothly and then the pilot slalomed along the runway most gracefully before coming to a stop. Quite an unusual experience.

Disembarking we were met by some of our Quark Guides and issued with proper boots and then a 1km hike to the Zodiacs that would take us to the Ocean Nova boat that we had flown over on our way down – moored out in the fiord. We had armed guard guides with rifles back and front plus other warning equipment in case of encountering Polar Bears – far more common than you would think. On the whole the bears tend to avoid people but with the retreat of the Glacier and at this time of year they are hungry and scavenge when & where they can. They frequently break into what buildings there are and do much damage.

The walk to the boat was unbelievable, we had to wait for the plane to take off, to fetch the other 32 from Reykjavik, at the far end of the runway before crossing LOL – We took the Zodiacs across to the boat and received the usual spot on Quark welcome – the staff as always were amazing. This was a much smaller boat than the Ocean Diamond that we went on in Antarctica so everything like cabins were much smaller. This was not an issue. One dining room and 1 lounge but then again only 64 passengers. This smaller number made for a far more personal trip between passengers and the staff and the Guides – really good. Eventually the 2nd group arrived on board and we cast off into the Arctic region.

On the screen in the lounge you could alweays see where you were – if it mattered !

Once underway the scenery was breathtaking

As is usual we had daily trips out onto the tundra with some hiking

The Captain & his crew were also super friendly and we could go up on to the bridge at any time where he would explain and provide answers to all the questions.

An old disused building kept as a museum with antique equipment

an armed guide for a trek on the Tundra

Map showing the Village of Ittoqqortoormit – population 250 and falling. We picked up the librarian and her brother here who sailed with us for a few days which was interesting – also visited this small community, I actually wonder how they feel about having tourists every other week coming ashore.

The Village, Inuits, and a character who tried to sell me Polar Bear Claws – they are still allowed to shoot Polar bears in restricted numbers and in a restricted area can you believe ?

Oh look they can write English as well as speak it LOL

Going to THE SHOP – gets restocked only once a year

Dogs are obviously important here – the hunting dogs are kept separate in their own compound with individual small kennels – they get fed with much noise once a day.

The local “model” out showing off her outfit made from shark skin

This crafty character tried to smous me a polar bear claw LOL – all over the world.

Back out in the fiords – The Glacier

Interesting rocks

You can never get tired of seeing these sunsets

Like a Yacht under sail

Out and about again

Yet another sunset

Dramatic scenery like the pyramids

One of 6 polar bears we saw in total – all at a great distance – spotted through the binocs first then used the 100-400 lens and cropped in post edit – but hell it’s a POLAR BEAR !!
so spot the bear…………

Rock formations

Looks like a desert sand dune

Better bear pic

Wonderful reflections in this oh so clear water

Interesting Icescapes

Ice crush in the zodiacs

Sleep time for polar bears

The Tundra

So much variety

Unusual shapes

End of a magic day

Ice “Organ”

Another Glacier

Size comparison

So near the end of the trip you get the on deck braai and of course a chance for all the exhibitionists to “do” the arctic plunge – what are they smoking ?

Praying for deliverance ?

Last few days – sadly drawing to a close – still magic things to see –

A whale of a berg ?

Coming back towards Constable Point the weather started to close in – there was a big storm approaching Europe and further north and we had the full force of it whilst waiting to board our plane at Keflavik in Iceland a few days days later

That night snow in the search lights on the boat

Disembark time – Sad to go, everyone has been really great – no complaints at all..
The zodiac to the shore and then the 1km hike back to the “International” Constable Point airport – we hand back our boots but are not allowed into the shed – the transit “lounge” is an open air sheep pen – there is a cabin with a loo but you have to take your shoes off to enter…..Oh joy two hour wait for the plane to come – Not the fault of quark – airport “authorities” yeah right……….

The “International” Airport…..

Flying over Iceland on our way back to Reykjavik



Links to the rest of this trip:



Part 2: Iceland S East regionICELAND TRIP REPORT S E Iceland

Part 3: Iceland N West RegionTRIP REPORT ICELAND N W region

Photo Albums:




To Follow: Reykjavik itself and Keflavik plus the Gullfoss waterfalls and The Spurting Geyser – in due course –