Poseidon M/V Sea Spirit, Greenland-Expect the unexpected on expedition cruises.
Most of us select a cruise based on its itinerary, dates and cost. Only exceptional circumstances keep most cruise lines from delivering what is pictured in brochures.
Expedition cruises go into areas of the world where exceptional is the norm. Crews do their best to stick to the advertised itinerary, but environmental conditions may make it impossible.
My first expedition cruise was to Cape Horn where a rare change of wind direction kept us from landing. When opting for the first cruise of the season to Western Greenland aboard Poseidon Expeditions’ MV Sea Spirit, I realized odds were good that the printed itinerary would be altered.
But the prospect of Greenland, the Arctic, Land of the Midnight Sun, was intriguing. The largest island in the world with the second largest ice pack in the world has a coastline longer than the earth’s circumference.
The largest national park in the world in northeastern Greenland is the size of Spain and France. The island itself is three times the size of France yet the population is only 56,000 scattered in 18 towns and 68 settlements. Once a colony of Denmark it has been a self-governing country since 1979.
If that wasn’t enough, Greenland is the mother of icebergs, loosing tons of them into the north Atlantic every year. It is also home to seals, walruses, polar bears, whales and a zoo’s worth of other fauna and flora.
Reaching the ship presented the first challenge. I had to fly from the U.S. to Copenhagen then catch an Air Greenland flight to Kangerlussuaq and another to the capital of Nuuk.
One look at a map shows the geographic folly of that. Folly, but a good reason to spend a few days in Denmark’s best-known city. I arrived May 19, Copenhagen’s hottest of the season.
By the time I left a city where air conditioning is an open window, cold climes sounded pretty good.