Cruising a Greenland Fjord


Cruising a Greenland fjord

An advantage to a small cruise ship is we could squeeze into smaller ports and fjords where larger ships dare not go.  We had a leisurely day cruising up and down this Greenland fjord, launching Zodiac boats for a closer look.

Cruising a Greenland fjord


A zodiac boat heads out for a closer inspection of the glacier.

We were told there were many fewer icebergs on this trip than their prior trip.  I hear that a lot.  “You should have been here yesterday, or on the prior cruise when it was really beautiful.”

jagged peaks

These are the most jagged peaks I’ve ever seen.

Greenland is certainly a great spot for geologists and mountain climbers.  During this cruise a young geologist was explaining many of the sights we were seeing in geologic terms.  The very pointed cliffs meant they were more recently formed.  In the US that is why the mountains in the East are much less jagged and dramatic than much of the Rocky Mountains.   The Rockies are younger in geologic terms, so the East has had billions more years of erosion.


How is it possible for a stream to shoot straight out from the cliff?



It seems that pictures such as this would make for a good jigsaw puzzle.


duck iceberg

The increasingly rare sighting of the Daffy Duck Iceberg.  It used to be a Macy’s parade size.


Seabourn Roomview

The view from our ship stateroom.



A fissure formed in the granite and hot magma filled the void.

On the day when this fissure in the solid granite formed and then filled with magma, there was no cruise boat in the fjord.  What a loud, crazy event that would be to witness.

Alluvial fan

Huge rock debris fans resulting from eons of erosion are called alluvial fans.

Death Valley is also a great place to see alluvial fans, similar to the photo above.  It is a bit more striking in Death Valley as water flow is so infrequent, but often violent when it happens.  Here is a link to my Death Valley blog where I have a photo explaining alluvial fans.  Such a fun word to say….  Death Valley was closed for months in 2022 and more recently in 2023 to clean up after a devastating rainstorms caused flooding.


A Stroll around Nanortalik, Greenland

The sign above the door is partially covered by the flag, but it reads Kalaalimineerniarfik.  That is Greenlandic phrase.  It means ‘the place to buy Greenlandic meat, caught by the local fishermen and trappers.’  I learned this after twenty minutes searching on the Internet.  Of course, the sign also tells us that, it’s a fish market in three other languages.

Small villages know when the cruise ships arrive and recognize it is an opportunity to make some extra cash.  I quickly learned from Mr. Fish Market Man that photos were not allowed unless I paid $1.  This was conveyed through gesturing to a crude sign taped to the wall.  All I had were $20s.  Always willing to help out, through more wild gesturing I learned there was an ATM at the local grocery store.  Of course the Nanortalik ATM would not be dishing out dollars, so I struggled to find out the currency of Greenland with my T-Mobile Internet for a conversion ratio.  I was unsuccessful.  After struggling for a while with the ATM machine in the grocery store, I found I was actually poking buttons at a water bottle dispenser.  I figured this out on my own.  Turns out their ATM machines look just as you would expect, very much like an ATM machine.

I still did not know the conversion rate, but estimated it out by looking at artist merchants along the road and their for sale signs in $US and DKK,  Dutch krone.  I gave Mr. Fish Market Man what he requested, plus four additional coins.  He was quite happy after that and I’m confident we are now best friends.

fish market

Greenland fish market, or as it is known locally, the Kalaalimineerniarfik.


fish market owner/manager

A very proud Mr. Fish Market Man displaying his salmon, minke whale innards and minke whale meat.

As far as I could tell, there were no regular restaurants in the village of Nanortalik.  There is one hotel which will serve the guests as long as they order a day in advance.  Someone flying into this town and staying at the hotel would likely be there to sail the fjords.   The locals likely just do not have the disposable income for the luxury of dining out.  Plus, there are no cookbooks describing the ten best way to prepare minke whale innards.

Sampling Greenland Snacks

Always anxious to try the local food, I took the suggestion of the now beaming Mr. Fish Market Man and tried the local Ammassak fish.  It certainly looked and smelled like old dead fish.  What could go wrong?  He offered me a handful of fish and seemed a bit disappointed I selected just one.  And… reluctantly crunched on it for a while.  I nodded, acknowledging the very strong fishy smell, fishy flavor and fishy oil residue on my hands.   I wondered just how many of these fish a Greenlander would consume during a football game.  I also wondered how to keep the smell off of my camera.  We said goodbye and walked on to the end of town exploring.  I walked the main drag four times and around the residential areas at the extreme ends of town.


Dried Greenland Fish snacks.  Good for the whole family.

I continued to have a terrible fish taste lingering in my mouth. Then I realized nobody saw me eat the smelly dried fish carcass. No brother-in-law as a witness.  Back I went to ask for another sample and take a rare, dreaded selfie of the event.  Mr. Fish Market Man was understandable very happy to see me once again and I pointed to the dried, wrinkled pile of fish carcasses.  He offered me several more.  Apparently these are not selling well today.  So I took a selfie of me eating yet another disgusting dried, oily fish treat.  True, I did not take a video of me eating it, but my new best friend was beaming still with pride.  Of course I could not spit it out.

dried fish

Eating a Greenland snack, dried Ammassak fish.

Back onboard the ship I went along with my daily routine.  Eating, drinking and brushing my teeth. Repeatedly.  Yet still, the next day I swear I could still taste and feel the fish oil from the day before.  I skipped the salmon dinner that evening.

Next Up?

We eventually do make it to a larger town, but we explore Nanortalik a bit more.


We cruise past Chemnitzip Aqqutaa Street. Was good to get this checked off my things-to-do-list.


Iceberg and flowers

Having an iceberg floating in your back yard on a fine spring day is a normal sight in these parts.

Nanortalik offers tours of icebergs, normally.  Of course, as we already heard in the fjord, there are many fewer icebergs this year.

9 thoughts on “Cruising a Greenland Fjord

  1. Harold — You have outdone yourself — this is a great blog! Informative and really entertaining. I especially enjoyed the magma filled void (how amazing is that?) and the fish market experiences. I would love to see a video. Thanks for taking the time to put these blogs together. They are really wonderful.

    • Gracious, Thank you Larry! It is a bit hard for me to imagine exactly how that magma filled the crack in the granite rock. To experience the eating of dried fish yourself…. Good News! I just looked on line and you can buy dried sardines on Amazon. But be careful when you order, some are advertised as ‘only for dogs’ while others say they are for ‘human consumption.’ Hope I ate the human kind….

  2. That’s too bad they talk about the beauty of other days. I hope I didn’t do this at SeaWorld. I always tried to make guests feel like they were having the best experience.
    Maybe it’s their way to entice you to come back?

    • Thank you for looking. I guess I can see both sides. I do appreciate knowing seeing a single iceberg is not the best it has ever been. Lots of time when the guide tells us how lucky we are to see something, it is obvious they are just trying to make us feel good.

  3. Harold – I really enjoy reading your travel blogs. The insights, observations, and humor, combined with great images make these a treat to read. This Greenland one was a little different. I can’t put my finger on it but there was something a little fishy about it…

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