We spent the morning navigating towards the entrance of Nuup Kangerlua, a large fjord system on the western coast of Greenland. The capital city of Nuuk is located at this entrance. The calm seas and lack of wind made for a very pleasant ride, and we enjoyed watching the occasional iceberg and the ubiquitous fulmars following us along the way. Related to albatrosses and of the same family popularly known as the “tubenoses,” fulmars are master flyers. They tirelessly roam the open Arctic waters, looking for small crustaceans and fish close to the surface. I will never get tired of watching a fulmar effortlessly glide above the waves, sometimes barely touching the water with the very tip of a wing! We also had the pleasure of attending a couple very interesting lectures. Naturalist Eduardo Shaw spoke about Fritjof Nansen’s first-ever crossing of Greenland’s ice cap, and Global Perspective’s guest lecturer Peter Hillary spoke about the extraordinary life and achievements of his father, Sir Edmund Hillary.
National Geographic Explorer docked at Nook early in the afternoon, and we all went ashore to visit Greenland’s capital and largest city. Local guides showed us around the downtown area and explained the way of life of people in the world’s northernmost capital, only 150 miles (240 km) south of the Arctic Circle. As a side note, it is interesting to note that the second northern capital is Reykjavik, so we have visited numbers one and two during this trip! We enjoyed the city’s atmosphere with the traditional old ways combined with the amenities and feel of a modern metropolis. One can have a snack of seal meat at a fancy coffee shop or look for the perfect Inuit figurine carved from walrus ivory. A visit to the National Museum and free time to explore completed our visit to this very interesting place, regaling us with a new understanding of this vast and wonderful place we call Greenland.
Photo caption and photographer: Visiting Nuuk and Nuup Kangerlua. Photo by Carlos Navarro