Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

Walruses #1, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

Walruses #1, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

After our most northerly travel on the Northwest Passage journey to Ellesmere Island, we retraced our route to the south and the next day anchored off Philpots Island, which lies off the eastern end of Devon Island.  Here, a protected anchorage in Queen Harbour offered wonderful views of a broad glacial face, and access to the tundra for hiking ashore.  Once again, however, the abundance of polar bears ashore thwarted our planned hikes and, instead, we did Zodiac cruises in the bay.  We were very excited to find the elusive walruses that were known to inhabit the shoreline.

 

Walruses #2, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Can

Walruses #2, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #1, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

Iceberg #1, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #2, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

Iceberg #2, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #3, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

Iceberg #3, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #4, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada10120190826

Iceberg #4, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #5, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada10120190826

Iceberg #5, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Iceberg #6, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada10120190826

Iceberg #6, Philpots Island (east of Devon Island), Nunavut, Canada

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Helicopter Flight above Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #1

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #1

 

Our helicopter flight above Boger Bay on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, took us up to a landing perch at the top of a cliff overlooking the Bay.  While we were up there enjoying the spectacular views and making photographs, fog rolled in over much of the bay, obscuring the mountains and glaciers that had been in plain sight, right in front of us.  Fortunately, we did not get enveloped in the fog and our helicopter was able to easily return to the top of the cliff to deliver us back to the ship.  On the return flight we had a great aerial show by some of the many beluga whales that we had spotted from the Zodiacs earlier in the day.

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #2

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #2

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #3

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #3

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #4

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #4

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #5

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #5

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #6

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #6

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #7 -- a fisheye lens perspective

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #7 — a fisheye lens perspective

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #8

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #8

 

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #9 – a pod of beluga whales

Aerial photo, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, #9 – a pod of beluga whales

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island (polar bears), Nunavut, Canada

Panorama of our ship at anchor in a bay in one of Canada’s most northern islands, Ellesmere Island, where we explored the sedimentary mountain ranges, ice caps, glaciers, fiords, fertile arctic oases and abundant wildlife

Panorama of our ship at anchor in Boger Bay in one of Canada’s most northern islands, Ellesmere Island, where we explored the sedimentary mountain ranges, ice caps, glaciers, fiords, fertile arctic oases and abundant wildlife by Zodiacs and our helicopter

 

Encompassing Canada’s northernmost lands, Ellesmere Island National Park in Nunavut Territory is an enclave of sedimentary mountain ranges, ice caps, glaciers, fiords and fertile arctic oases.  Here, glacial debris ice can be found drifting late into the summer, making it a prime area for wildlife viewing.  During our visit there was so much polar bear activity on shore that we had to cancel our planned hikes.  Instead, we ventured out in Zodiacs for scenic cruising and were surprised with the rare sighting of polar bears dragging up a seal carcass to the beach and then eating it as we drifted by just offshore in our Zodiacs.  Meanwhile, dozens of beluga whales swam by, between our Zodiacs and the beach – at one point creating a challenge for two more polar bears in the water who were attempting to swim ashore to join the eating frenzy (seal carcass).  Look at the photos, below, to see the time line and what happened…

After the Zodiac cruising and helicopter flights [see our upcoming blog post], we sailed to the end of the bay and set an all-time record for our ship’s furthest northern point in North America: 77 degrees 18.92 minutes N latitude and 078 degrees 50.51 minutes W longitude.

 

Tidewater glaciers flowing into the ocean in a bay on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Tidewater glaciers flowing into the ocean in a bay on Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

By the time we arrived on the “scene” in our Zodiac, a mother polar bear and her yearling had dragged a seal carcass up to the beach and were busy eating while two other polar bears (only one is pictured here) were looking on with envy

By the time we arrived on the “scene” in our Zodiac, a mother polar bear and her yearling had dragged a seal carcass up to the beach and were busy eating while two other polar bears (only one is pictured here) were looking on with envy, waiting “their turn” as they weren’t dominant in that group, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

A great spot for a feast of a luncheon! -- Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

A great spot for a feast of a luncheon! — Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

A close up of the mother polar bear, taking a short break from eating, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

A close up of the mother polar bear, taking a short break from eating, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

We took a break too, as we drifted and then checked out this large iceberg full of gulls…, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

We took a break too, as we drifted and then checked out this large iceberg full of gulls…, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

Suddenly, we spotted two more polar bears (another mother and yearling) in the water who smelled lunch and were heading towards the shore, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Suddenly, we spotted two more polar bears (another mother and yearling) in the water who smelled lunch and were heading towards the shore, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

Oops – traffic jam – the two polar bears in the water couldn’t get ashore for a while due to the large number of beluga whales (the adults are white and the young whales are darker in color) swimming by the shoreline

Oops – traffic jam – the two polar bears in the water couldn’t get ashore for a while due to the large number of beluga whales (the adults are white and the young whales are darker in color) swimming by the shoreline in front of the luncheon spot (note the whales’ spouting water visible against the sandy shore); Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

The swimming polar bears finally made it ashore, shook themselves dry, and proceeded to invite themselves to lunch, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

The swimming polar bears finally made it ashore, shook themselves dry, and proceeded to invite themselves to lunch, Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

The first two polar bears hadn’t invited guests for lunch, so the new arrivals starting barking and showing that the new mother was the dominant one on the beach; Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

The first two polar bears hadn’t invited guests for lunch, so the new arrivals starting barking and showing that the new mother was the dominant one on the beach; Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

After a few minutes of the standoff, the first mother (on the right with her yearling) relented and made room for the new arrivals to join in the seal luncheon; Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

After a few minutes of the standoff, the first mother (on the right with her yearling) relented and made room for the new arrivals to join in the seal luncheon; Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

And a nice feast was enjoyed by all; note that the two mother polar bears each put their yearling off to the side away from the other mother, for protection; Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

And a nice feast was enjoyed by all; note that the two mother polar bears each put their yearling off to the side away from the other mother, for protection; Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

 

A close up of two beluga whales, the white one being an adulte and the grey one, a young whale; Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

A close up of two beluga whales, the white one being an adulte and the grey one, a young whale; Boger Bay, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Cruising through the Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #1

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #1

 

“The Ilulissat Icefjord is filled with icebergs that calve from Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier in the world (40 meters / 131 feet daily).  The Ilulissat Icefjord is the same area as 66,000 football fields.  It reaches 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) wide and approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles) long, but is growing longer as glacier retreat occurs due to climate change.  Sermeq Kujalleq runs directly from the Greenland ice Cap, and it produces 10% of all icebergs in Greenland.  The Ilulissat Icefjord became one of the UNERSCO World Heritage Sites in 2004.” — https://visitgreenland.com/things-to-do/ilulissat-icefjord/

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #2 – we were fortunate on our boat ride through the icebergs to see several pods of humpback whales (easy to spot in the water with the enormous number of birds circling overhead)

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #2 – we were fortunate on our boat ride through the icebergs to see several pods of humpback whales (easy to spot in the water with the enormous number of birds circling overhead)

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #3

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #3

 

“Icebergs breaking from the glacier are often so large — up to a kilometer (3,300 ft) in height — that they are too tall to float down the fjord and lie stuck on the bottom of its shallower areas, sometimes for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.  On breaking up the icebergs emerge into the open sea and initially travel north with ocean currents before turning south and running into the Atlantic Ocean.  Larger icebergs typically do not melt until they reach 40-45 degrees north —further south than the United Kingdom and level with New York City.” — Wikipedia

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #4

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #4

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #5

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #5

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #6

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #6

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #7

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #7

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #8

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #8

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #9

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #9

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #10

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #10

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #11

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #11

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #12

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #12

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #13

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #13

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #14

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #14

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #15

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #15

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #16

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland #16

 

Aptly named, Ilulissat (icebergs) is the third largest settlement in Greenland and is Greenland’s most popular tourist destination on account of its proximity to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord

Aptly named, Ilulissat (icebergs) is the third largest settlement in Greenland and is Greenland’s most popular tourist destination on account of its proximity to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Ilulissat, Greenland

Our ship sailed into Ilulissat, Greenland, across Disko Bay; this area is rich in marine life and there are many icebergs that originate from Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere

Our ship sailed into Ilulissat, Greenland, across Disko Bay; this area is rich in marine life and there are many icebergs that originate from Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere (about 55 kilometers / 34 miles up the fjord from Ilulissat), filling the fjord at Ilulissat with some of the largest icebergs found outside of the Antarctic

 

Aptly named, Ilulissat (icebergs) is the third largest settlement in Greenland with a population of 4,453.  Ilulissat is also Greenland’s most popular tourist destination on account of its proximity to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.  The town itself is located at 69°13’N, 051°06’W, about 124.27 mi / 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Inuit settlements have existed in the area of the icefjord for at least 3,000 years.  The modern town was founded in 1741 by Danish missionary, Poul Egede for trader Jakob Severin who had an established trading lodge in the area.

 

Sailing into Ilulissat, Greenland, through Disko Bay #2

Sailing into Ilulissat, Greenland, through Disko Bay #2

 

Sailing into Ilulissat, Greenland, through Disko Bay #3

Sailing into Ilulissat, Greenland, through Disko Bay #3

 

We hiked through Sermermiut, a beautiful valley overlooking the Ilulissat Icefjord, coming to the shoreline of the Icefjord where we had the opportunity to marvel at the fjord completely filled with icebergs of varying sizes

We hiked through Sermermiut, a beautiful valley overlooking the Ilulissat Icefjord, coming to the shoreline of the Icefjord where we had the opportunity to marvel at the fjord completely filled with icebergs of varying sizes, piled seemingly on top of each other; Ilulissat, Greenland

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut valley #2

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut Valley #2

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut valley #3

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut Valley #3

 

Local crowberries (similar to blueberries) growing close to the ground (tundra) in Sermermiut valley, Ilulissat, Greenland

Local crowberries (similar to blueberries) growing close to the ground (tundra) in Sermermiut Valley, Ilulissat, Greenland

 

A willow tree (yes, a tree!) growing close to the ground (tundra) in Sermermiut valley, Ilulissat, Greenland; the plants here have a very short summer growing season and must survive the high winds and cold temperatures

A willow tree (yes, a tree!) growing close to the ground (tundra) in Sermermiut Valley, Ilulissat, Greenland; the plants here have a very short summer growing season and must survive the high winds and cold temperatures, thus they aren’t vertical “trees” like in more temperate climates

 

Tundra ground cover at Sermermiut valley, Ilulissat, Greenland, #1

Tundra ground cover at Sermermiut Valley, Ilulissat, Greenland, #1

 

Tundra ground cover at Sermermiut valley, Ilulissat, Greenland, #2

Tundra ground cover at Sermermiut Valley, Ilulissat, Greenland, #2

 

A panorama of the Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut valley

A panorama of the Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, viewed form Sermermiut Valley

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, #2

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, #2

 

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, #3

The Ilulissat Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland, #3

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Nuuk Fjord Excursion, Nuuk, Greenland

On our boat excursion in Nuuk Fjord from the capital city of Nuuk, we sailed around the island just north of Nuuk -- Sadelø (Sermitsiaq) – that is dominated by Sermitsiaq Mountain (Sadien) at 3,985 feet (1,215 meters)

On our boat excursion in Nuuk Fjord from the capital city of Nuuk, we sailed around the island just north of Nuuk — Sadelø (Sermitsiaq) – that is dominated by Sermitsiaq Mountain (Sadien) at 3,985 feet (1,215 meters)

 

We had the opportunity while visiting Nuuk, Greenland [see our previous blog post, “Nuuk, Greenland”], to join a boat excursion for a tour around Nuuk Fjord.  The waters around Nuuk offer dramatic landscapes with some wildlife viewing opportunities.  The dominant peak in the fjord is on the neighboring island of Sadelø (Sermitsiaq) – Sermitsiaq Mountain (Sadien) (3,985 feet / 1,215 meters).  We went by many glacial melt waterfalls, icebergs in the fjord and quite a few birds.  While sometimes there are humpback whales in the fjord in the summer, we unfortunately didn’t spot any.

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #2

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #2

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #3

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #3

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #4

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #4

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #5

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #5

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #6

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #6

 

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #7

Nuuk Fjord, Nuuk, Greenland #7

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland

Prins Christian Sund offers a protected course from southeastern to southwestern Greenland, and is one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features

Prins Christian Sund offers a protected course from southeastern to southwestern Greenland, and is one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features

 

Our ship left Iceland and set a course for Greenland across the Denmark Strait, sailing in the wake of Erik the Red.  Connecting the Denmark Strait with Davis Strait, Prins Christian Sund offers a protected course from southeastern to southwestern Greenland, and is one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features.  This glacially carved fjord system, over 50 miles (80 kilometers) long, crosses Greenland’s southern tip, connecting the east and west coasts by an in-shore route.  On entering this narrow channel, our ship was dwarfed by mountains towering to 6,600 feet (2,000 meters) on either side and glaciers tumbling down to sea level.  The water was quite placid and the crisp scent of ice filled the air.  On either side of the Sund, waterfalls stream down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides.  Icebergs glittering in the sun were constant companions during our passage.

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #2

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #2

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #3

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #3

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #4

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #4

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #5

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #5

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #6

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #6

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #7

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #7

 

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #8

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland #8

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.