I have wanted to visit Greenland for years, and I have for almost as long wanted to sleep overnight with a view of Eqi Glacier, one of Greenland’s most stunning glaciers.
In fact, it was close to not succeeding. When I contacted Arctic Friend in January, I was informed that the cabins at Eqi had been booked since October. By some fortune of good luck, it seemed there was only one available cabin left during the entire summer period.
I wanted that cabin, and therefore from I first called Arctic Friend to inquire about a trip to Greenland to having planned and booked the entire vacation only one week passed. Our entire trip was booked around this one availability. But I do not regret this for an instance. On the contrary, it has proven a perfect time to visit Disko Bay.
Disko Island and the view from the Lyngmark Glacier had been stunning and it was weird to imagine anything could surpass this, and it couldn’t – simply because the two cannot be compared. Everything in Disko Bay is so stunningly beautiful that making a ranking would be a ridiculous waste of effort.
But Eqi Glacier is still undoubtedly one of the most beautiful vistas, I have ever enjoyed.
Sailing to Eqi
We were picked up at the office of World of Greenland and taken by bus to the small dock on the other side of Ilulissat Harbour. Here we went onboard alongside thirty lively Chinese tourists. It was the beginning of quite the cultural exploration.
It was a beautiful route up the coast and for large parts of the journey, I was outside taking pictures. Inside the Chinese were having a field day and the cabin soon smelled of strong liquor from their savouring of Gammel Dansk.
When lunch came about, it was a traditional Danish lunch with open sandwiches (smørrebrød), which the guests had to make themselves. It was difficult for the Chinese and French guests onboard to figure out how the lunch buffet items of sliced halibut, fresh shrimps, eggs and much more were to be placed on top a buttered slice of rye bread.
One Chinese guest decided to take the bowl of mayonnaise and started eating from it with a spoon. I suppose that is another way to do it, though it left the rest of us without any mayo for our egg and shrimp open sandwich.
I imagine I would seem just as lost in the Chinese country side, if I was asked to figure out on my own how to prepare my own lunch of traditional dishes.
Close up of Eqi Glacier
After a few hours of sailing we reached the glacier front. It had cleared up from a dull grey cover of clouds in the morning and we were met with a clear blue sky and calm waters which made the reflection in the icy water almost as sharp as the glacier itself.
It is close to impossible to describe the beauty of a place such as Eqi Glacier and the mere fact that we had this view nearly to ourselves overnight was thrilling. But first we sailed close to the glacier front, absorbing the intricate pattern of the icy front. It was clear that large parts would soon fall into the water, but for the hour and a half that we stayed on the boat near the glacier nothing major happened.
A night in the cabin at Eqi
We were only eight people getting off the boat, and it quickly became evident that several of the cabins stood empty without guests. I later discovered that some of the large tourist agencies reserve many of the cabins, making it difficult to book without them. It pissed me off royally, and I must admit that the entire World of Greenland setup is making me extremely sad. They are creating a monopoly on tourism in Greenland, which does not benefit the locals and with the use of inexperienced and underpaid youth workers from Denmark. Of all that we have experienced so far, the only thing that has truly bothered me is the role and presence of World of Greenland.
Eqi Glacier Lodge is owned by World of Greenland, and the area around Eqi Glacier is the only place in Greenland, where it is not allowed to camp out. Simply because World of Greenland has received a monopoly from the Greenlandic state on this slice of heaven.
The place is run by youth workers and their knowledge of Greenland and the area is limited to whatever two hours intensive course they received on their arrival. It feels like a summer camp for children, more than a hotel experience.
But all of this did not minimise the absolute beauty of the place, and though my money went for a tourist agency, I do not wish to support, I do not regret for a moment that we paid the big bucks to sleep overnight at this stunning glacier at the end of the world.
After a night with sunshine over Eqi Glacier we woke to a grey dust of clouds. Though I prefer the blue sky, the clouds enhance the blue colours in the ice, making the the glacier more dramatic.
We did not join in on the shared walk to the moraine. We were weary from the days on Disko Island and preferred to enjoy a late morning and a shorter walk West towards the delta. This we got all to ourselves.
Reaching the delta, I couldn’t help wonder at how insignificant I am as a single human being. Being out here far away from everything disconnected from the rest of society even for just the briefest of moments, it became apparent how small I am in comparison to the nature that surrounded me. It truly feels like standing at the end of the world gazing into the unknown.
After our walk and a lunch at the restaurant Café Victor, we prepared to get the boat back to Ilulissat. We could see the boat as a small dot infront of the massive glacier, and were ready at the dock to board as soon as it came. But Eqi had been talking loudly all morning and massive calvings inside the glacier had sounded in the landscape for hours. It therefore came as no surprise when a massive amount of ice fell of the glacier side and into the water.
I was fortunate enough to catch it on film.
We were quickly pushed back up the hill by the guides before a tsunami of waves swept over the dock. It took half an hour for the waters to calm down again and for the boat to dock.
I cannot imagine a more dramatic farewell from the beautiful Eqi glacier.