Every town, every village has its own sledge dog area(s), where the dogs spend lazy days chained near their huts.
Apparently, once they feel some snow under their claws, taking them out for two to three days for 10 kilometres is enough to get them in perfect form to bring a sledge a distance of 35 km…
Ilulissat ( Diskobay) with its 4500 inhabitants is the third-largest town in Greenland.
In Greenland, there are no roads between settlements and even if Ilulissat has some kilometres of tarmac roads, you won’t miss your own car. Many Greenlanders rely on taxis, crisscrossing the city at any moment of the day.
By end of May, there are not many tourists around. But the closer you get to mid-June, the busier the town gets: tourist agencies start their business; there are more offers for trips. But just having a walk following the yellow marked trail at the mouth of Kangia is rewarding in every aspect and at any time of the day. Of course photographers will appreciate early morning, late afternoon and night-time…
Otherwise, have a walk to the port or a stroll to the sledge dog areas.
We stayed in one of Paa and Jannik’s apartments, (B&B and apartments – extremely recommendable!!!) with a top view to Diskobay and the ever changing scenery of icebergs. Ships and boats coming in and going out of the harbour, trying to avoid passage, where ice is blocking the way in or out.
Midnight sun allows a 24 hours show, but at some time, one has to have to sleep, but we tried to keep those periods as short as possible. Kangia Icefjord glacier, moving 47 m per day, delivers some 40 000 000 m3 of calving icebergs each day. Scenery is changing rather quickly with the change of tide and wind, these are very long days for photographers!
Panorama of Qasigiannguit, the port on the left, Hotel Diskobay, the first house coming over the dam, and the town with its colourful house for some 1300 inhabitants to the right.
In the “Capital of Whales” you may be lucky to see humpback whales from the hotel, beginning of June was a bit too early, but we’ve seen 4 (2 of them been very close). Apparently a bit later in the year you might be able to see the whales playing around…
… but, unfortunately, at this time, there will be far more mosquitoes than whales, and may be you can spot some whales, but sure enough the mosquitos will find you too.
As on most parts of Greenland, there are no roads between settlement..
To come from one town to the next settlement or village, there are mainly three possibilities:
Hike the distance – if possible. It could be a long way on mainly unmarked paths, you’ll be prepared to cross boggy heather an grassland or stand before rivers an fjords difficult to pass.
In summer months the Diskoline ships try to link settlements, but there is a weekly schedule, different from day to day, no hips on Saturdays (2017). You have to book at diskoline.gl or diskoline.dk, during June to August maybe well in advance – end of May, beginning of June there seemed to be places left at all our tours.
But be prepared, the schedule often can’t be kept on. If there are too many icebergs, there will be delays or cancellations. At we got an SMS, when we had been rebooked (different boat, different route, different time, but at least we arrived in Aasiaat the same day as we had planned).
But it might not be a good idea to think of taking Diskoline the same day you booked the flight home.
Diskoline can’t go out in winter time, the sea is frozen. Then Air Greenland helicopters are overtaking the job. But they are quite expensive, we heard about locals, who had to spend 3000 DKK for a shopping tour return ticket in winter from Qasigiannguit to Ilulissat.
Longer distances to different towns are operated throughout the year Air Greenland planes.