INTRODUCTION AND GREENLAND INFORMATION
GREENLAND TRAVEL PLAN
KANGERLUSSUAQ AND KANGERLUSSUAQ TOURISM INFORMATION
FLIGHTS TO GREENLAND
GREENLAND WEATHER INFORMATION
Things change quickly. The information below is based on a trip made during April 2007, it is thence recommended to check for updated information about flights, tours and hotels availability during your trip preparation.
The main purpose of this trip was to visit the wild areas around Ilulissat and Qaanaaq (Thule) during winter, using the dogsledge as main type of trasportation, staying about one week in each region.
Indeed, the original travel plan did include a snowscooter trip from Kangerlussuaq to Dye-2 radar station in the middle of Greenland inland ice (the icecap), before continuing north to Qaanaaq (Thule) as from the actual travel plan. But unfortunately, Kangerlussuaq Tourism (see www.kangtour.gl) just 20 days before the tour departure, has cancelled the trip without giving any explanation and without offering any alternative. The deposit paid several months before was returned, but the behaviour of these people was really unprofessional and I recommend caution if you decide to book a tour or a trip in Greenland with Kangerlussuaq Tourism as you may end up with a very expensive air ticket to Greenland, but with nothing to do once on place. Other places, like Ilulissat, offer much better services and reliable outfitters.
Flying to Greenland from most european city is not easy at all, as an overnight stop is often required in Copenhagen or Reykjavik both ways, because of the odd flight schedule, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening, when there are no connecting flights from/to your city.
Reaching Qaanaaq is even more difficult and time consuming, because it doesn't connect with Air Greenland flight from/to Copenhagen. This means that in order to reach Qaanaaq, you need 3 days / 2 nights to go, and the same to come back.
However, I decide to use this inconvenient schedule as a good opportunity to extend my stay in Copenhagen and Ilulissat, to visit additional places for just few money more.
I have always flown by Air Greenland (see http://www.airgreenland.com). Because of the higher costs in Greenland due to the isolation and extreme environment, the flights are more expensive than other destinations and it is recommended to book as early as possible, even many months before, if you can.
Copenhagen is a charming and nice city, worthing a visit (I think that, depending on own interests, two full days are enough). I've slept at Danhostel (http://www.danhostel.dk), an hostel less than one kilometer from Copenhagen railway station, at the very high price of 27 Euro to share a room with other 8 people (I strongly suggest to pay something more and choose a Bed and Breakfast or a small 1* or 2* hotel).
The airport is connected to the city with a convenient train running at any time during day and night, the ticket is cheap and it takes less than 20 minutes.
For people wishing just to overnight before flying to Greenland, there is an Hilton hotel next to the airport (expensive), or a "Bed & Bath" option inside terminal 3 that can be conveniently paid by hours (see http://www.cph.dk).
A very nice town and a true arctic paradise. I've slept two nights in an hostel (see http://www.ilulissathostel.dk/) having double rooms with single option and shared batch, kitchen, dayroom. It is a simple accomodation, but convenient. I have also slept 3 nights in the 3* Icefiord hotel (see http://www.hotelicefiord.gl/), an hotel with international quality standards. Two nights were instead spent in a hut during a dogsledge trip.
Please visit also http://www.touristnature.com/ for additional options, where Italian and other languages are spoken as well.
World of Greenland offers tours and other services as well, please visit http://www.wog.gl/
Qaanaaq (known also as Thule) is the last frontier, the ideal base for shorter or longer polar expeditions. Here I was with an Inuit guided expedition by dogsledge for 6 days (5 nights) booked through Topas, please visit their website here: http://www.go2greenland.com
The tourism in Qaanaaq is still not developed. The Inuit guides aren't professionals of tourism business, but are very expert hunters and nice people happy to show you this beautiful place. I'm not describing here how the expedition works, because there is lots of information in the pages containing my pictures.
Because of my long experience in polar travel, I was surprised to see 14 days of bright sun throughout day and night, not a single cloud in the sky, out of 15 days. This is just incredible for me, because I have always found quite different conditions during my trips to Svalbard, Alaska, Canada and Iceland. The temperature was pleasant too: it was never below -20, with the typical average temperature around -8.
The conditions of sea's ice wasn't good, because of too much open water (we had to alter our original travel plan going to Siorapaluk, because of this). The condition of the ice gets worse quickly year after year, with the scenery changed completely in the last 10 years.
To protect myself from the cold, I have used an Himalayan Suit by The North Face, particularly useful when you stand still over the dogsledge (this suit is instead too warm, even at -20, if you take a long hike). For additional information about this suit, please see the trip information page of Siberia.
For people not organized with professional clothing, sealskin clothes and booths can be rented in Ilulissat (included in tour's price).
I have used my Panasonic DMC-FZ20. For detailed information about how this camera performs at extreme cold, please see my Siberia information page.
In addition to what said in that page, I recommend to perform the white balance manually on an area of white snow, repeating this operation at different hours of the day and each time the conditions change (for example it gets cloudy). This is very important to get white snow, rather than blue (the "auto" white balance doesn't work well in my opinion). Also, do not increment the color's saturation, but use the standard option.
In addition, I suggest to overexpose the pictures by 1/3, 2/3 or even +1. This is useful to make the snow bright as it is in real life, rather than grey.
I didn't use any filer and no polarizer, although I was carrying one.
° ° °
° ° °
° ° °