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Donna Wood - East Greenland Expeditions 2019 and 2020

Donna Wood Greenland Sailing Holiday Programme 2018

Our Greenland Sailing Specialists - Icelandic Family Fleet

Donna Wood will be based in Greenland as soon as the sea ice melts  - Late July 2019 and Late July 2020. Many of her Greenland mini expeditions are already fully booked, but please do ring Classic Sailing Office for current availability as customer cancellations do occur.

Schooners Opal, Donna Wood and Hildur are run by an Icelandic family business that specialises in whale watching back home in Skjalfandi Bay. NE Iceland. They have been taking their sailing ships to East Greenland each summer for over 6 years exploring the extensive Scoresby Sound and trekking the spectacular tundra and mountain wilderness with charter guest crews.

If you want to experience a polar region on a wooden sailing ship and only have a limited time, then flying out from Iceland to East Greenland, at latitude 71 degrees north gets you deep into the Arctic Circle to begin your action packed 7 days expedition. Enjoy sailing this vast fjord system with icebergs as guest crew and stop for awe inspiring treks amongst dramatic mountains, glaciers and arctic wildlife like walrus, arctic foxes, polar bears and musk ox.

Arctic Under Sail

If you have been inspired by the beauty of the landscape on BBC Frozen Planet then this voyage will be a photographers delight. If you harbour deep concerns about global warming, the plight of polar bears, and want to know more about this fragile ecosystem then this voyage is a way of finding out more for yourself whilst participating as guest crew. A self sufficient sailing ship like Opal or Donna Wood takes you into a remote polar wilderness in an environmentally benign way but also travelling by your own physical efforts setting sails, hoisting and lowering ships boats all helps connect you with the local community - who have a tough living dictated by the sea and the elements.  By working together as a ships crew (professionals and guests of many nationalities) soon becomes a close knit group more akin to an expedition than an Arctic Cruise. English is usually the working language used aboard that most guest crew can understand and the Icelandic Captains and guides speak excellent English, but socially conversation can be in many languages - depending on the mix of guests. Germans, Swiss, French, British, Icelandic, Austrian, Canadian and American are typical adventurers who like sailing and trekking on board.

Donna Wood's sister ship Opal showing off the scenery in Greenland
Donna Wood's sister ship Opal showing off the scenery in Greenland

Stunning Wilderness Trekking

The landscape around Scorseby Sound offers some of the best trekking opportunities in the world. The short tundra vegetation and glacier scoured rock is easy to walk on the all around are mountains, glaciers, arctic flora and icebergs. The silence and sense of wilderness is profound. During this 7 day voyage the days are long so you sail many miles and there is plenty of time to trek ashore for half a day or during the evening with the ship anchored below.

ships crew on an evening walk in Greenland
ships crew on an evening walk in Greenland

Fly to Greenland to Join your Sailing Ship

The return flights from Iceland to Greenland will be reserved for you when you book by our flight brokers in Iceland, and are part of the price quoted. There are now direct flights in summer from Keflavik International Airport in Iceland to the landing strip at Constable Point at the seaward end of Scoresby Sund.  This means you don't have to spend days sailing North to reach Greenland. You can start your 7 days in the heart of East Greenland, exploring the remote and magnificent nature of Scoresby Sound Fjord which extends 350 km inland.

Flights from Iceland to Greenland are mid week from Wednesday to Wednesday and the remoteness of the destination means they are not a cheap element of the holiday. Our Icelandic Flight Brokers block book seats to match each expedition, so they are the best price we can find on the regular commercial plane flights.

(Fresh food for the ship is also flown in each week as Ittoqorrtommit is the only settlement and is icebound most the year)

Classic Sailing is not a flight broker so we are unable to sell you flights directly. Conveniently our Icelandic schooner owners are Authorised Icelandic Tour Operators and they can. The flight from Iceland Keflavik Airport to Greenland is reserved for you once your booking application has been approved. To confirm your voyage all you need to do is pay your deposit to Classic Sailing. After that we will simply ask that you pay our Authorised Icelandic Tour operators direct for the Greenland flight element.

Experienced Arctic Guide on Board

On schooner Opal or Donna Wood there will be an experienced Arctic guide on board who enhance your voyage.  They will be able to tell you more about the wildlife, local culture and some of the technical aspects of navigating and sailing in Greenland.  Ashore they will carry a gun for your protection from polar bears, as required by the Greenland Government, but their priority is to tread softly on the landscape and fragile flora and see as much wildlife as possible.

Ittoqoortomiit - the only Inuit settlement for hundreds of miles in East Greenland
Ittoqoortomiit - the only Inuit settlement for hundreds of miles in East Greenland


The Inuit of Arctic East Greenland

The Greenlandic Inuit share a common language and culture with those in Canada and Alaska, and the ancestors of the present day Greenlanders have inhabited the country for 4000-5000 years. Whilst the West Coast of Greenland is relatively populated, the East Coast far less so. The community here represents one of the oldest and most isolated in Europe, separated from their countrymen on the West Coast by vast high ice cap.  A wide belt of sea ice grips the whole coast for most of the year, and until commercial flights arrived the East Coast was cut off from the rest of the world.  The consequence is that the East coast dialect is unique and there are many individual traditions and handicrafts.  Primary occupations are still hunting and fishing, sometimes by traditional kayak.

For more of a day to day 'itinerary' take a look at the individual voyage descriptions below.

Debbie in Classic Sailing Office has been crew on a similar 7 day expedition in Scorseby Sound, so you can ring her to find out more on 0044 (0)1872 580022.

Arctic Sailing. Explore East Greenland Scorseby Sound
Co Founder of Classic Sailing Debbie Purser in Greenland

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