In the wake of the Vikings we followed the routes cut by Eric the Red and Leif Ericsson on our second trip from Iceland to Southern Greenland and across the Davis Strait to Baffin Island. We studied Viking history and Icelandic Sagas, visited settlement ruins, Inuit communities, enjoyed the stunning scenery and also looked for wildlife again. Navigating through the narrow waters of Prins Christian Sound with its amazing array of glaciers and icebergs surrounded by steep granite walls and peaks was without question one of the scenic highlights of the cruise. After we had crossed the Davis Strait which separates Greenland and North America we sailed through the magnificent Frobisher Bay to Baffin Island. I had to disembark in Iqaluit, the capital of the newly created Nunavut territory of Canada, while the ship continued the route down the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland to St John’s and Halifax So far, wildlife was not very abundant on the trip which might be caused by extensive hunting and the lack of sea ice. We encountered only a handful icebergs when crossing the Davis Strait which is said to be the “alley of the icebergs” coming down from Disco Bay. The photographs shown in both galleries were taken with Canon 1Ds Mark II and 1D Mark II cameras mostly using the f 4.0/24-105mm L IS and f2.8/70-200mm L IS zooms. For wildlife shots I used the f2.8/300mm IS lens + 1,4x converter. Occasionally the f4.0/600mm IS lens was taken too. For special motifs, the f2.8/100mm macro and f1.4/ 35mm lens came into play. Additionally I used 100F Provia slide film with the Canon 1V camera.
In the summer of 2006 I took part in 2 consecutive voyages aboard “M/V Polar Star” to Greenland and Baffin Island. Both trips were not primarily adapted to the special interests and the timing of serious nature photographers but had a strong historical focus. So a lot of compromises was required. Nevertheless, it was an impressive experience and the only chance for me to get to these remote places in the limited period I had available. That’s why I had decided to join. On the first trip, we set off from Svalbard and sailed west across the Demark Strait to East Greenland trying to reach land as far north as the sea ice allowed. We travelled down the remote coast of Greenland entering a landscape of dramatic fjords, endless tundras, glaciers and icebergs By Zodiac rides we visited places of interest relating to exploration and settlement. Before sailing back to Iceland we entered the well-known Scoresby Sund which is the largest fjord of the world and with its huge walls and towers of ice was one of the most impressive places on the trip. We encountered several species of wildlife such as seabirds, musk oxes, seals and some whales too. Sadly enough, we could see the retreat of the glaciers and dramatic melting due to the global warming in many places along Greenland’s coast. So I’m glad I once could visit the vanishing beauty of this unique landscape which still is one of the last pristine environments of the world.
In 2002 I had joined the so-called “Thule Expedition” on board of the Russian vessel “MV Grigoriy Mikheev “. Prior to the voyage, I had spent some days in the famous Disko Bay with its array of huge icebergs most of them breaking from the world’s most productive and fastest moving glacier, the Jakobshavn Glacier, also known as Sermeq Kujalleq . At its terminus it is flowing at speeds of more than 20 meters (66 ft) per day and the velocity has even increased in the last years, probably due to the global warming. During my stay I also could view the immense dimensions of the glacier and its calving front by helicopter. Afterwards, our ship took us from Ilulissat via Uumannaq, Upernavik and the Melville Bay all along the west coast of Greenland to Thule and northernmost into the Smith Sound until the pack ice had stopped us from moving further. The collection of photographs may give you an impression of the breathtaking scenery
For the first time I had also used a DSLR (Canon D60) on this trip, though most photographs still had been taken with my slide cameras (Canon EOS 1V and EOS 3).Therefore some scans are included in the gallery, too.