When I describe my Greenland adventure to friends and family, the thing I find most difficult to convey is the scale of Greenland. The general scale of the Earth is always sometimes that strikes me whenever I travel—how you can be driving in a foreign country for hours and hours, but when you look at the distance you’ve covered relative to the size of the planet, you’ve barely made a tiny pencil line on the map.
In East Greenland, this sense of scale was even more pronounced. Our small group traveled in two Zodiacs, and often the other Zodiac would be positioned in a way that revealed just how big the icebergs truly were. The Zodiac and its eight passengers barely looked like a breadcrumb against the backdrop of the Greenland ice sheet. Icebergs the size of office buildings would calve and roll back and forth until they found their balance point. Melting glaciers releasing gas that was trapped inside the ice were so loud that the sound is dubbed “Arctic artillery.”
Given the sheer size of Greenland, it was very apparent how crucial a role it plays in helping to regulate the world climate. The scale is almost unfathomable—1,500 miles of ice up to two miles thick, covering 80 percent of the country! As we learned on the trip, this serves as a giant refrigerator for preserving the Arctic ice.
One cannot help but feel a deep sense of awe at the grandeur of the Arctic landscape. Traveling to Greenland is also a humbling reminder of how small we are compared to Earth’s natural wonders.
This guest post was written by Natural Habitat Adventures Vice President of Adventure Strategy & Finance Dain Lewis. All photos © Dain Lewis.