Proposed geological excursion to West Greenland: revised prospectus


Iceberg at the mouth of Ilulissat Icefjord



Iain Allison has provided the following revised prospectus for the proposed excursion to West Greenland.

In 2018 I led a geological excursion to the Disko Bay area of West Greenland. We were a party of 12, mainly Open University Geological Society members and most from the west of Scotland. At the April evening meeting I, with 3 of the participants, talked about the excursion and I have offered to lead a similar excursion in 2020 for Society members. I now have three firm expressions of interest.

Originally I estimated a cost of £5000 for a 14 day excursion – this was my estimate based on 2018 prices. The high cost is putting many off, so I have obtained a cost from the travel agent I use for a shorter, 9 day/8 night, excursion only in Disko Bay, for fewer people: six plus me, although I would  be happy to take 11.

To allow this to go ahead I need a minimum of another 3; and still a commitment by mid July.


Duration and timing. Eight nights and 9 days in Disko Bay area of West Greenland in late June/early July.

Cost. Greenland is not cheap, nor is Iceland where we fly from. The final cost will be determined once flights and some hotel bookings are in place. I estimate the cost from Reykjavik to Greenland and return to Reykjavik will be about £3500.  In addition there will be overnight costs in Iceland in both directions. The accommodation costs in Greenland are for hotel accommodation with two sharing a room and will be on a bed and breakfast basis so lunches and dinners will be extra. A cheaper option involves staying in hostels, again always 2 per room (not dormitories), and simple breakfasts are offered. This type of excursion will cost about £3000

Accommodation. We will stay in small hotels which can provide evening meals (or hostels). In Ilulissat there are choices for evening meals but in Qeqertarsuaq and Qasigiannuit the hotel is the only option whether we stay in the hotel or a hostel.

Itinerary. Fly from Reykjavik airport (not Keflavik, where you will arrive in Iceland) to Ilulissat which will be our base. From there we will spend a few days in each of Qeqertarsuq, on Disko Island, and  Qasigiannuit in the SE corner of Disko Bay.

Activities. While the focus of the excursion is on the geology it will also be a Greenlandic experience with mammals, mainly marine, birds and plants as well as history and culture. There will be time to explore the communities and their museums. Some days we will spend the whole day walking but distances will not be great so we may cover 12 km in 8 hours. We shall take a whole day boat trip to get up close to the icebergs and see a calving glacier – and maybe a whale.

Logistics. Nonni Travel in Akureyri, Iceland, will deal with all bookings and it is to them that you will pay an initial deposit and final balance.

I would appreciate a firm commitment by 14 July 2019 with a deposit payable shortly thereafter. Expressions of interest or requests for more details should be sent to the society’s residential excursions secretary.