After spending two days on complete bedrest following a rather nasty accident, I was not exactly a happy chicken. I was in my favourite place in the world, but instead of exploring and enjoying it, I was stuck in a bed, eating junk food and watching old episodes of television shows that I had already seen before. By the time day three rolled around, I was well and truly over it. I wanted up, I wanted out and more than anything, I wanted to experience something wonderful on my last day in Ilulissat.
I got back in contact with Jannik – the owner of the apartment in which I had been staying – and asked him if he knew of any local boats that were headed out to sail around the icebergs, and furthermore, I asked him if I would be okay to get in and out of the boat on my unbelievably dodgy knee.
I may have been asking a lot, but my word, Jannik bloody well came through for me.
A few phone calls and a few minutes were all he needed to organise for me to get on a boat and spend the daylight hours with a local Greenlandic sailor.
I chewed down a few more pain meds than I probably should have, bandaged up my knee to within an inch of its life and hobbled my way to Janniks car. My veritable knight in shining armour drove me into the harbour, right up to the boat and then him and our Greenlandic sailor practically carried my useless self onto the boat.
I was uncomfortable, my pride was a little bruised (nobody wants to have to be carried like a child) and I had definitely made a spectacle of myself, but I could see the icebergs off in the distance, seeming to call out to me, so all of the pain and discomfort got pushed to the wayside.
As it turned out, I had managed to get some luck, and the weather turned out to be pretty much perfect for sailing. There was barely any wind, the skies were clear and the icebergs were abundant – what more could I have asked for?
Within only around 20 minutes of travelling, we had already begun approaching some seriously huge icebergs; and to make things even better, the skies decided to be bright and colourful instead of the standard blue – which really brought the landscape to life.
There were a couple of times when we found ourselves approaching some serious surface ice. The first time we were able to glide through it pretty easily as it was mostly just smaller pieces; but the second time the boat had to work seriously bloody hard to break up the ice and allow us to pass. This may sound like a scary experience, but it wasn’t in the slightest.
The Greenlandic men and women who sail through these waters have been doing it for their entire lives. They know what to look for, they know what their boats are capable of, and they have that air of complete assurance that one can only give off when they really know their shit. So when icebergs were hitting the hull of the boat, maybe it would have been normal to worry, but I had absolutely zero concerns about the situation.
There is a lot I love about icebergs. I love the majesty, the colours, the unfathomable size, but I think more than anything – I love how they are like pieces of artwork, handcrafted by mother nature. No two are alike, and no iceberg will stay the same forever. The landscape is ever-changing, ever-evolving and ever-enchanting.
The only other thing I really could have wished for on this perfect day (other than a fixed knee and a non-smashed camera lens of course) was for another boat to chug along into the mix, and allow me to capture some photographs that gave a better perspective on the sheer size of these ‘bergs.
Well, my knee didn’t miraculously heal and my camera lens is still upsettingly smashed, but I did get my other boat – and boy did it make for some absolutely stunning shots.
As much as I love Ilulissat, banging up my knee and ruining a beautiful piece of photography equipment definitely put a dampener on my time there. However, my last day of the city was a pretty spectacular one, and after the boat trip, I really didn’t think it could get much better.
Until the night rolled round of course…
Getting to Ilulissat: Air Iceland do run direct flights between Ilulissat and Reykjavik, but these flights are suspended in the winter months. If travelling to Ilulissat in the winter, you will need to fly with Air Greenland from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and catch a connecting flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat
Getting out of the Airport: Most hotels can arrange airport pick ups, if yours doesn’t then taxis are your best bet
Paa & Jannik Bed and Breakfast: Jannik is one of the loveliest and most helpful guys I have ever met, and staying with him and his wife Paa at their home or in one of their well-located apartments is a lovely and affordable way of lodging in Ilulissat, click here for more info
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens and M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2/8 lens
Boat Trips: Trips on tourist boats can be booked through World of Greenland, but if you want to save some money and have a more authentic experience, get in touch with a local sailor instead
Remember: Ilulissat isn’t known as the ‘City of Icebergs’ for nothing! So make sure you get on a boat and explore them as much as you possibly can
74 thoughts on “Icebergs and Auroras in Ilulissat”
Love your pictures. Wishing you a speedy recovery! x
Thanks so much! It has been actually a not too bad recovery – still not perfect but well on the mend now 🙂
Just amazing. Thank you for sharing. Cheers and I hope your knee is better.
Thanks so much for reading 🙂 and it is all on the mend now.
Stunning shots. Love the ‘bergs, can see why you find them so enchanting. Hopefully this trip made up a little for the other bad luck.
It really did, it was the perfect way to end my time in Ilulissat. Thank you for reading!
Magic photographs…sorry to hear about your mishap. Wish you a speedy recovery! Marcus
Thank you very much! I am very much on the mend now 🙂
I was wondering how your getting on with that knee injury, so glad you didn’t let it total your trip. Fantastic photos as always! I agree with you on the Bergs, such works of art, true sculptures. The boat in the photo gives true scale! Wishing you a fast recovery and a nice new lens soon. ❤️😬
Thank you so much John! <3 Still waiting on the new lens… hopefully I get it soon!
Your photos are stunning. I especially like the ones with the icebergs and the other boat — it really emphasizes how huge the icebergs are!
Thanks so much Grace! These are some of my favourite pictures ever, so it is lovely to hear that other people like them too 🙂
Stunning pictures. Fills me with wanderlust 😊
That is exactly the kinda thing I love to hear 🙂
Fantastic pictures! My favorites are the ones showing the ice on the water. Always having a boat while growing up I would say I am very confident on the water, but I wouldn’t dream of driving a boat through that!
It definitely takes a special breed to feel confident navigating those kinda ‘bergs!
Great photos! You seem to be preferring cold environments, right?
Absolutely! One day I would love to move to somewhere very cold, possibly Sweden or Northern Scotland 🙂
Wonderful photos! Good luck with the knee.
Amazing. Beautiful but also a tad scary, such a different and vast nature.
This is so dreamy !
I’m glad you made the most of it…and that you’re rosy and smiling in your photo. Whatever surviving lens/camera you still have is obviously nothing to sniff at.
I love your square and angular iceberg; it reminds me of the frozen fox they’ve just put on display. Have you seen it? It was found in Germany after it supposedly fell into the Danube river.
Get well soon.
No I havent seen it! I will check it out now! As always, thanks for reading and commenting – even if I don’t reply straight away I read every single one and they definitely motivate me to keep writing!
Gorgeous photos – really shows how beautiful and daunting Iceland can be!
These photos were actually taken in Greenland – not Iceland 😊
Greenland! My mistake – thank you!
Stunning pics. Hope you feel better soon. Can’t wait for your next adventure.
Thank you much – I look forward to sharing more adventures with you 🙂
Excellent news you are up and about. Love the pics and I am very jealous as I have always wanted to see the northern lights.
Any plans to head to the far North in the near future?
I would love to, but I can’t see it happening for a long time yet. ☹️
Wow how beautiful! Must be an amazing experience!!
Amazing!!! great shots of the lights 🙂
Hope your knee recovers fully. I may never get to Greenland, but this blog post is the next best thing. Amazing photography of the icebergs and the northern lights. Really too bad about that nice piece of photographic equipment demolished, because you are an artist with the lens. Thoroughly enjoying your blog!
Thank you so much, I will eventually get it replaced but it was rather heartbreaking! Thanks for reading!
The icebergs must definitely have lifted your spirits, but the aurora surely sent them soaring!
Absolutely! Nothing like icebergs and auroras to make a person feel better 🙂
Looks absolutely beautiful and absolutely freezing!!! Glad you got to enjoy that last day. Nothing worse than getting hurt when you are supposed to be travelling. Hope you’re doing well!
What a wonderful day, glad you had such a day prior to leaving. It is good you left on such a high note. Take care of that knee and have a safe and comfortable flight home.
Wow! I doubt I will ever get there so I’m glad you shared your amazing pictures!
It sounds like you have been in the wars and after talking to your dad today there has been more ‘unwanted excitement’. Take care and I am thinking of you and hope the rest of the trip is calm in comparison.
Thank you so much, thankfully it all did settle down and the remainder of my trip was wonderful. Thank goodness! I was getting rather sick of the excitement!
Amazing! I don’t know why but lately I am so attracted by the cold countries ans snowy places… maybe because only there you can find a calmness and silence.
Keep up the good work!
I totally understand that. Are you heading anywhere cold soon?
For now no but who knows… 🙂
I am inspired to go there. Lovely writing. Get well soon 🙂
We’re sorry to hear about your injury Ellen! 🙁 The icebergs look so, so stunning!!! <3 🙂 Hope you're back to 100% soon.
Thank you very much, it’s at about 98% now 🙂
You are a brave girl. But what an exciting way to tide over an injury. Love the shots and the description.
It really was. Had it not been for this last day I would have been in much gloomier spirits, it was such good luck that I had such a lovely opportunity!
It is also upon us to make a place count despite our circumstances. You did that.
Beautiful pictures of the icebergs, but the aurora pictures blew me away. What a frigid fairy tale world.
It really is a magical country 🙂
Gorgeous photos – seriously in awe of those icebergs! Glad you managed to get out and about with your dodgy knee 🙂
Wow, great pictures. The icebergs are huge and i couldnt tell how big they were until another boat was in the picture. I also agree with what you said about how the icebergs are fascinating because they were formed by nature and they are always changing. Thanks for sharing.
So inspiring and absolutely glorious pictures! Thank you for sharing!
Majestic pictures! Thanks for taking us on the virtual journey. I hope you recover fully soon! 🙂
seriously, absolutely incredible!!!!!
These photos are so incredible! They are massive! Happy you got to see the aurora aswell!
Breathtakingly beautiful photos. What an experience.
Thanks for sharing info on Greenland. I am happy to found some blog posts from travellers to this beautiful country. The pictures are amazing
My pleasure. Greenland is my favourite place ever – it deserves to be showcased more than it is!
I love reading posts on Greenland, as it’s a country I’m very curious about. Loved your post and I wish you a speedy recovery!
Any plans to visit there soon?
This looks amazing! What a trip to go on. Your pictures are amazing as well! I would love to see icebergs, I just can’t comprehend their size! What a beautiful part of the world to see!
The are definitely the kind thing that you’d wanna see in person one day!
Love the photos. Hoping one day, I can travel in Arctic too. 🙂
Gorgeous photos – thanks for sharing! Hope your knee heals well and you can enjoy the next leg of your travels! 🙂
You DO love those northern climates. Checking in after too long a time without visiting your blog. Very happy to see you both traveling strong and writing so well. Best Regards.
Oh man, I really do. I hope I can make one my home one day.