The Watkins Mountains and Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest mountain in Greenland, were on the horizon as we rose for breakfast this morning marking the beginning of an exciting first day on this remote island. We entered Nansen Fjord through loose ice cover and sailed past steep, bare mountains of glacier-sculpted basalt. The eight-mile tidewater front of Christian IV Glacier, bringing ice down from the distant ice sheet, filled the head of the fjord. Icebergs, white, blue, and black drifted past the Clipper Adventurer as we sailed towards an unnamed fjord on the northern side of Nansen Fjord. Zodiacs were lowered and we made our first footprints in the dark Greenland sand. The stark moraine landscape was impressive. This was new ground as we were the first cruise ship to visit this isolated spot at over 68° N.
We climbed through the hummocky moraine of an unnamed glacier and onto the ice surface which was black with dirt and rocks and cut by deep crevasses. Here we had a view of the cracked and fractured glacier front and out along the fjord to our ship. Mountains to each side showed every textbook example of glacial landscapes: hanging glaciers, bergschrund, corries, arêtes, horns, and many more.
Plants were just beginning to get a hold here, with patches of moss and the dwarf tree, Arctic willow, gaining a tenuous foothold on the loose moraine. Snow bunting and ivory gulls added to this serene Arctic scene.
Sailing out through the ice around Sokongen Ø and into J.A.D. Jensen Fjord, a polar bear was spotted briefly, but despite the best efforts of a scout Zodiac, the bear could not be located, although fresh tracks were. Nevertheless, we had had a day of true expedition cruising, breaking new ground and leaving our footprints on the moraine of an unnamed glacier at the head of an unnamed fjord!