Skaergaard Fjord is the second largest fjord on the southeast coast of Greenland. The huge Kangerlussuaq Glacier, the largest glacier on the east coast of Greenland's ice sheet, feeds its waters. The fjord's entrance forms an impressive bay surrounded by towering cliffs and high mountains, such as the 1,600m high Batbjerg. It was our next stop.

Skargaard Fjord

The following day saw us in Skaergaard Fjord, the location of the Skaergaard Intrusion. Our geologist, Tom Sharpe, was beside himself with enthusiasm. He told us to be sure and let our geologist friends back home know that we had been here ... and watch them turn green with envy.

Not being a geologist, I'll let the link above tell about the importance of this formation. I can attest that the location is very beautiful.

The Sea Adventurer is designed for the ice so we had no worries about venturing into ice-filled waters like these.

Zodiac View

Once we reached our target anchorage, we piled into Zodiacs for a shore excursion. Before landing, however, we spent some time cruising among the icebergs. I have a separate page containing some of the unusual and whimsical icebergs that we saw.


I don't usually take up offers to snap my picture at this or that place, but I made an exception here. This is about as bundled up as I could get with the clothes that I brought. It was a hard trip to pack for as we had a wide range of expected conditions: 90s when we left home, 50-60s in Iceland, 30s-70s in Greenland, back to 90s in Canada. Layers!

I think this was our coldest ride. The air temperature wasn't bad, but we were down on the icy water.

Skaergaard Intrusion

The intrusion can be seen here as the darker rock that has pushed up through the older and lighter colored rock.

Skargaard Landing, Greenland

After our ice cruise we landed in this cove for an exploration of the intrusion. I wasn't aware that we wouldn't be taking the same Zodiac back to the ship, so I left my little orange backpack on the Zodiac. That little backpack has sentimental value and quite a few frequent flyer miles over the 30 years I've had it. I was dismayed at the thought that it might be lost! It didn't blow away, however, and it was soon found -- soaking wet from sloshing around in the bottom of the boat.

I never knew the backpack was washable! I rinsed it out well to use for the rest of the trip and after we got home I ran it through the washing machine. It looks better than it has in years!

Skargaard Fjord

On all of the shore excursions, except those in towns, members of our expedition staff were posted around the area with binoculars and rifles. This was to provide protection from the occasional polar bear! We were instructed to keep a staff member in sight at all times and head immediately for the Zodiacs if the alarm was given. If bears had actually been seen prior to landing, it is needless to say that the landing was abandoned. I believe the rifles were loaded with one blank to scare the bear away, but the rest of the ammo was live. I'm happy to say that they were never needed.

As I recall we are standing here on the crest of the darker rock shown above.

Abandoned cabin

Overlooking the cove where the Zodiacs landed, we found the remains of an abandoned cabin. I don't recall whether the cabin had once housed a fisherman, hunter or geologist!

In addition to the wood scattered about, there were the rusted remains of a cooking stove.

There was a concrete foundation block dated 1982.

There were some interesting plants to be seen on this day. I've created a separate page for Skaergaard flora.


Now here is where my memory gets as hazy as this scenery. When I was producing this narrative, I found a large set of images from the same day as above. For some unknown reason I had not processed them while still on the ship.

Memory research has shown the benefits of rehearsal on retention of information. That set of images had not been reviewed (or "rehearsed") from the time they were taken until now, almost one month later. This has severely impacted my ability to recall details about them.

Based simply on the sequence of pictures, we returned to the ship and proceeded somewhere in or near the Skaergaard Fjord. Obviously we ran into some fog along the way. This picture was taken over two hours after the one above.


The fog cleared up and we made another landing in an area with strikingly different rocks than the ones we had recently seen. The time of this picture is another two hours after the one above.

I found a reference online with maps that make me think that this is in fact another part of the intrusion and that we are not far away from our original landing. The amount of time it took between one landing and the other would be due to the necessity of slow progress on account of the fog and ice.

Aargh! Next time I WILL take notes (and won't manage to delete them all).

Magnetic rocks

Tom is describing the magnetic qualities of this particular rock. The little blue mark on the rock is part of one of our magnetic nametags, which has stuck fast.

Skaergaard dike

There was an initial plan to go on a longish hike to find another abandoned cabin. First we had to scramble up this dike of fractured stone. It was a completely different kind of rock and very brittle. In many places it had broken into sharp pieces. We were warned to be careful because falling on the sharp edges would have been VERY unpleasant. It was slow going.

The old rusted oil drum is a clear indication that humans have been in the neighborhood.


As we started on our climb, I was fascinated by the throne-shaped iceberg. This particular iceberg features heavily in the very excellent video compiled by Rob Dunbar, our Stanford professor, from his drone flights. It has a small meltwater pond in the center. In the video Rob identifies this footage as being from the "Skaergaard Cummulate," which reinforces my guess that this is really another part of the intrusion that we reached by cruising down one arm of the fjord and up another.

Sea Adventurer, Skaergaard, Greenland

From the top we got a great view of the ship and surrounding area.

Unfortunately we had run out of time for our promised hike, so we had to scramble back down the treacherous dike for a Zodiac ride to a delayed dinner.

I don't think I've ever appreciated my hiking poles more than on this day.

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