A bang as loud as a cannon shot shatters the silence at Johan Petersen Fjord in southeast Greenland. Frightened, the trekking tour participants search the bare mountain slopes. What caused the crash? A stone fall? The solution to the riddle is long overdue. After a few minutes, one of the icebergs begins to dance on the fjord: it rocks, turns and dives then suddenly for a short time. The icy water foams and bubbles. Then small icebergs appear to the surface as plugs. They shine in shades from blue to turquoise.
Expedition leader Sebastian Franzen knows the reason for the metamorphosis: “Due to temperature fluctuations, the iceberg imploded.” He also has an explanation for the different shades of blue: “The color of the ice depends on the pressure. The more the ice is compressed, the more blue it looks. ” Because an imploding iceberg also triggers tsunamis, he instructs members of his group to pitch their tents on a small climb. The campsite offers a unique view of the ice sheet, which covers 80 percent of Greenland. At the end of the fjord rises like the dam wall of a dam a mighty wall of bare ice, up to 1000 meters high, which now glows golden in the light of the low sun. “Sermersuaq”, large glacier, the Inuit call the ice sheet.
Arrival From Frankfurt to Kulusuk in East Greenland z. B. with Icelandair (www.icelandair.com). From Kulusuk we continue by boat to Tasiilaq.
Accommodation and organizer Very popular and therefore quickly booked up in the summer: The Red House in Tasiilaq, double room from 110 euros, www.the-red-house.com/de
An alternative in Tasiilaq is Hotel Angmagssalik over the city, double room from 150 euros, www.visitgreenland.com/providers/hotelangmagssalik
The tour described is available from Hauser Excursions (14 days from 3998 euros including flight, transfer, hotel and tent accommodation, meals and German-speaking tour guide). Info: Tel. 089/2 35 00 60, www.hauser-exkursionen.de.
The Icelandic tour operator Greenland Tours has a 12-day trekking tour in East Greenland (from 3080 euros), www.greenlandtours.com/de.
Book tip Robert Peroni: “Cold, wind and freedom. How the Inuit taught me the meaning of life ”, Malik / National Geographic, 15.50 euros.
Best travel time Summer in Greenland begins in June / July and ends in September. During this time, temperatures sometimes rise above 20 degrees.
General information www.visitgreenland.com CN
Sermersuaq is the mother of all icebergs in the northern hemisphere. Especially in the short Greenlandic summer, she continues to give birth to children, some the size of cathedrals. The sun is the obstetrician, but climate change also plays a big role. On the wanderings through the rugged mountain world, the group observes countless icebergs that calmly move toward the open sea like a flock of sheep.
When the hikers return to the camp on the shores of the fjord in the afternoon, it seems as if icebergs are waiting. Because then it is low tide, and therefore some of Sermersuaq’s offspring sit up in the mud of the fjord. Some actually look like mountains – rugged with sharp edges, with spikes and peaks. Others look like more modern sculptures. Common to them all is transience. With a cup of tea in hand, hikers watch as the stranded icebergs melt away, dripping and dripping, under the rays of the polar sun. The group therefore christened the beach section under the camp “Iceberg Cemetery”.
The days at Isbjergkirkegården are the preliminary climax of a journey that begins and ends in Tasiilaq. With a little more than 2000 inhabitants, the place is considered the region’s capital, because there are only a total of 3,500 people living on Greenland’s east coast. The colorful wooden houses look as if they were thrown at random. Painted in blue, green, yellow and red, the buildings adhere to the slopes of a bay by King Oscar Fjord. Robert Peroni’s house is not only red, it’s called that too. The former extreme mountain gate’s red house is a guest house, restaurant and meeting place for locals. He was born in South Tyrol and has lived in East Greenland for more than 20 years and fell in love with it when he first came here in 1980. Peroni tirelessly campaigns for the Inuit, whose culture and traditions he fears will disappear within a foreseeable future under the influence of the modern western world – just like Greenland’s glaciers due to global warming. Together with Manfred Häupl, an expert in sustainable travel, the visionary Peroni developed and established a new type of gentle tourism that takes into account the needs of the region’s indigenous peoples. “You have to take the time to understand the Inuit and their country,” Peroni says. “We owe it to them.”
You can spend time with the Inuit, for example in the art center. Here you can see how they make amulets of tusks from walruses or narwhals. On a meadow near the harbor, residents have chained a dozen sled dogs. Wild animals are rarely seen on this trip. Attracted by the scent of a hot meal, a polar fox looks curiously into the kitchen tent. And on the sailing trip to the former US military base “Bluie East Two”, a fin whale presents its luck to the tourists.
In 1942, the United States set up camp as an air force base to defend Greenland against a possible German invasion. But just six years later, they abandoned the base, leaving behind not only the hangar, but also vehicles, equipment and thousands of fuel barrels that have rusted away for decades. The journey through time takes about an hour. Then the participants on the trekking trip get back in the motorboat, which takes them to the next campsite. With 150 hp, the small boat jumps over the waves. It plows through estuaries surrounded by jagged mountains of partly saffron yellow and partly dark gray stones.
The next milestone is the Knud Rasmussen Glacier. The farther the boat approaches the “ice machine”, the more the passengers feel the cold in their faces. They camped on a small rocky plateau with a great view of the glacier. From time to time, a rumble may be heard, acoustically indicating that the glacier is “calving”.
The group, led by Sebastian, explores the area on day hikes over the next few days. She climbs the glaciers ‘side moraines, wades through icy streams, bathes in mountain lakes whose water has been warmed in the mountains’ loads and under the summer sun. Participants rest on pillows of moss that are fluffier than a Berber rug, and cross fields of boulders surrounded by pink Arctic willow herbs. “Niviarsiaq”, young girl, is the name of the flower in the Inuit language. Maybe it was because of her that Robert Peroni says he has discovered his love for Greenland.