Sailing to EQI Part II

In my last post I left you on the edge of your seat wondering what havoc the Greenlandic weather would wreak on my plans to see the calving glacier – Eqip Sermia.

The ice in the bay was packing together tightly enough to get us worried but the glacier was a mere 2km away!


It was at that moment that the sailor of the boat advised that it would be impossible to press on further to the glacier, and that if we didn’t leave soon that the boat could get stuck. So with that advice, we turned around.

At this point I really should have felt disheartened or disappointed but funnily enough, I felt nothing of the sort. The day had already been magical, I had made about 10 new friends and I was still having fun. Exactly as these thoughts entered my head, tiny bits of snow began falling and I became even happier.

Blue steel round #2
Blue steel round #2

The icebergs seemed to get even bigger and more beautiful on the way back and I continued to brave the cold to let as much of it sink in as possible.

My favorite iceberg of the whole day was this next one. With the reflection of the iceberg on the water, it looks just like a leaf!

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

As we started our way back towards Ilulissat it was like we just sailed from bad weather into good weather! I have mentioned in a previous post that the weather in Cape Town is bipolar – but I think Greenlandic weather would be able to give it a run for its money!

Sailed from snow into blue skies
Sailed from snow into blue skies

The sun had decided to make an appearance and completely change the look of the icebergs. The clouds were still super low but with the sun peeking through the colours of the icebergs were beautifully accentuated.

Since we had not made it the calving glacier we had some extra time up our sleeves, so the boat was able to make a detour and show us a beautiful abandoned settlement. This settlement would have once been home to several Inuit fisherman but has been long since abandoned.

I continued marvelling at the beauty and uniquity of each iceberg, snapping too many photos and praying that my camera battery wouldn’t run out of charge.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere…


A Humpback Whale was swimming through the bay right in front of the boat! I had never seen a whale before and could barely believe my eyes!

Every single person on the boat was too excited for words, and with the extra time we had up our sleeves from not seeing EQI, the boat was able to spend over an hour following the whale and waiting for it to show us its gorgeous tail!

I was especially surprised to see this beautiful creature as late September is not the optimal time of year for whale watching. The summer months are the best time to see these gentle giants.

After an hour of watching our new whale friend, it was time to head back to Ilulissat.

Just before we were back in the harbour we went passed the gorgeous Hotel Arctic, and spotted my accommodation! Igloo No. 3 was mine and is the igloo on the back right.

Despite not making it to EQI I had had the most wonderful day. I had seen thousands of icebergs, felt snow fall on my face, spotted a gorgeous whale and to top it off – our super attractive (like way out of my league level of attractive) Danish tour guide asked me out for a drink once we got back to shore. Greenland was quickly shaping up to be one of my favourite countries ever visited!

Getting to Ilulissat: Air Iceland has direct flights from Reykjavik to Ilulissat twice weekly in the summer months
Boat Trip to Eqip Sermia: Trips to this calving glacier run between June 1st and September 30th and are run by World of Greenland – a day trip will set you back approximately $400 AUD
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm lens and 52mm HOYA polarising filter
Remember: To dress warmly and keep your eyes peeled for whales!

Posted by

20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

58 thoughts on “Sailing to EQI Part II

  1. Wow – What an amazing experience. Those Icebergs are super majestic. What a bonus to get to see the humpback. Your photographs are stunning.

  2. You survived, phew. I love how the light changed so you had the best of all worlds. The whale was a cool bonus. I’ve been out to see them a few times. Great adventure. Thanks for sharing.

      1. I’ve not seen Orcas…Wrong part of the world. Mostly humpbacks with the occasional finback, minke and once a Beluga (up in Quebec Canada). My two biggest thrills was my first tour in which we encountered a very playful pod that kept breaching. The other time was a quieter group but we were out in zodiacs/RIBs rather than large boats. To be in a vessel that small with a huge humpback going right underneath and beside us. Kayaking with Orcas is a dream. Cheers!

      2. That sounds pretty awesome…Let me know if you ever decide to visit New England and are looking for adventures and ideas. Though we don’t have snorkeling with whales. =)

  3. Yes, life is definitely more previous than seeing a glacier. To boot, you wouldn’t have spied the abandoned village or the whale if you had been able to reach your destination. Excellent photos!

  4. I went to a lecture yesterday by a man who has travelled to Antarctica several times and once lived there for seventeen months. The last time he went there he travelled with a group of friends on a National Geographic tour. The wildlife was spectacular, but when he got home he asked his friends what impressed them the most about the journey. They replied, to a person, the icebergs. Your beautiful photos prove the point. Thanks. –Curt

  5. I really never use the words “wow” or “stunning” to describe photos because they seem so overused. But these….!!!
    Were/are you on a voyage on the ship, or taking a day cruise on it? Was it cold, it (and you) don’t look very cold. But…alll that ice??

  6. Your photos are giving me chills…both in the sense or beauty and cold! A tip from me to you…always always ALWAYS travel with more than one memory card and more than one battery! (I’ve stuck them on my bra if I don’t have any pants pockets) because to me….you can never take too many photos!!!! And I HIGHLY doubt the handsome tour guide was out of your league! You are pretty and well traveled and adventurous! He probably thinks ur out of his league! 🙂

  7. Nice Storytelling 🙂 I wonder if you took an icefjord trip? Is it worth taking if I go for both kayaking and Eqi glacier trip?

Leave a Reply