Dispatches from Base Camp Greenland: #1 — Arriving at Camp

Wendy Redal September 11, 2015 2

Wendy Redal, Nat Hab’s editorial director, recently returned from Base Camp Greenland where she and a group of 12 guests enjoyed a thrilling adventure during the camp’s inaugural season. Read her firsthand reports from the field here at Good Nature Travel.

Base Camp Greenland

Can you spot Base Camp Greenland along the shoreline on the left side of the photo?

From a distance, Base Camp Greenland is hard to discern. The seven raised tent-cabins perched on the rocky shoreline blend in with the mountains that flank either side of the broad glacial valley that meets this protected bay. Gradually, as our boat approaches, we make it out more clearly: our home base for four days of exploring one of the world’s most remote and exhilarating wilderness areas.

It’s been a multi-day journey to get here. First, a turbo-prop flight on Air Iceland from Reykjavik to Kulusuk in southeast Greenland, then a short, scenic helicopter hop over to Tasiilaq on Ammassalik Island, followed by a 4-hour small-boat cruise through ice-dotted channels to reach Base Camp. When we finally arrive, we feel like we’ve reached Ultima Thule — the far-northern place in medieval geography that lies beyond the border of the known world.

Base Camp Greenland sits just off Sermilik Fjord, a large inlet on the east coast of Greenland where pack ice floating down on the Greenland Current meets massive icebergs calved from the glaciers that feed the fjord — a frozen fairyland of white and blue, backdropped by sharp peaks that rise a mile into the sky.

Sermilik Fjord and Greenland Ice Sheet

Ice-choked Sermilik Fjord with the Greenland ice sheet in the distance

Till now, travelers who wanted to experience this outer edge of the world’s largest island had to paddle or trek their way between points, finding shelter from the elements in nylon tents and sleeping bags, and cooking over camp stoves. Base Camp Greenland has changed that markedly.

Guest cabins here are surprisingly comfortable: built of heavy-duty vinyl and raised on platforms with private verandas overlooking the bay, the interiors are warmed by a kerosene heater, and twin beds with down duvets keep guests cozy on chilly nights here 60 miles below the Arctic Circle. En suite bathrooms have washbasins and toilets, while hot showers are available in the adjacent bathhouse.

Base Camp Greenland guest cabin

Individual guest cabin at Base Camp Greenland

The food is impressive, too: a dedicated camp chef whips up meals that are downright gourmet for our environs, including grass-fed Icelandic beef with roasted root vegetable mash and arugula salad, and local options when possible, like freshly caught Arctic char.

But it’s the adventures beyond Base Camp that are the top draw, from hikes over rugged, trailless terrain to sea kayaking excursions (the nimble boat itself a Greenlandic invention) to Zodiac outings to the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. Stay tuned for the next dispatch, and follow along!

Scroll down to see more images of Base Camp Greenland [all photos by Wendy Redal]:

Base Camp Greenland

Base Camp Greenland fronts a sheltered bay at the mouth of a broad glacial valley.

Base Camp Greenland cabin

Base Camp Greenland offers heated accommodations in seven individual tent cabins.

Heated cabin interiors have twin beds with down duvets, shelves and compartments to store clothing and personal items, and an en suite toilet and washbasin.

Heated cabin interiors have twin beds with down duvets, shelves and compartments to store clothing and personal items, and an en suite toilet and washbasin.

Base Camp Greenland guest cabin

Each tent cabin has a veranda where guests can enjoy private views of the bay and peaks beyond.

Bathhouse (left) and dining tent (right).

Bathhouse (left) and dining tent (right).

Guests enter the dining tent via a protected vestibule for extra insulation.

Guests enter the dining tent via a protected vestibule for extra insulation.

Base Camp Greenland dining tent

The dining tent offers a warm and inviting space to savor hearty meals prepared by the camp’s own chef

Base Camp Greenland bathhouse

The bathhouse (segregated by gender) offers hot showers, washbasins and a hair dryer.

Our privately chartered boat, the Innunguaq, transports guests from Tasiilaq to Base Camp Greenland.

Our privately chartered boat, the Innunguaq, transports guests from Tasiilaq to Base Camp Greenland.

2 Comments »

  1. Wendy Worrall Redal September 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Martha! There will be three more posts to come, too. Look for another this Saturday!

  2. Martha Lashbrook September 12, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Yea Wendy. So glad you were on our trip. Fun to see the pictures and friends that we made. Great rendition of the experience

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