Up to 350km long and 600m deep – Scoresbysund isn't your typical fjord. As a highlight of all our East Greenland voyages, Scoresbysund holds the title of the largest fjord system in the world and simply needs to be seen to be believed.
Although Greenland has been occupied by Inuit settlers for centuries, Scoresbysund was only charted by the western world in the early 1800s – aptly named after William Scoresby who explored the fjord system in 1822. This led to rapid exploration by Scandinavians, culminating in the establishment of fishing and hunting settlement Ittoqqortoormiit in 1924.
Ittoqqortoormiit sits on the sound's northern entrance and you'll visit it on either the Polar Pioneer or the Greg Mortimer as we venture in deeper. So, what else do you need to know about the fascinating fjord of Scoresbysund?
Scoresbysund – by the (impressive) numbers
We've already introduced two of Scoresbysund's amazing geography statistics. That said, there's plenty more where they came from!
In total, Scoresbysund stretches over an area of around 38,000 square kilometres, with its tree-like structure penetrating deep into Greenland. This means that despite the main body being a relatively short 110km long, it's possible to follow the twists and turns much further. As well as this, the further you travel into the fjord, the deeper the water gets thanks to the calving glaciers and mountainous runoff – up to 1,500m in some places!
Additionally, don't forget about the soaring mountains above Scoresbysund. Around all sides of the fjord are steep rising edges, a result of the ongoing tectonic action in the region. These walls of basalt are very intimidating to look at and can reach 2,000m above sea level.
Fauna and flora of Scoresbysund
While the high icy peaks and deep blue waters look barren, there's a wide range of fauna and flora that take advantage of the conditions. It's interesting to note that despite the often grey and cold weather, the land around Scoresbysund is abundant with life – thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and the way that the mountain protects areas from the strong winds.
As a result, you might be able to spot everything from muskox and arctic foxes to mountain hares and even reindeer near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of one of the many birds that enjoy nesting high about the fjord – using the rich waters below as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Some common birds to look out for include little auks, Atlantic puffin, fulmar and the great black-backed gull.
From the ship, there is also the possibility of seeing nature up close and personal in the fjord itself. As mentioned above, the deep cold waters of the Scoresbysund fjord provide great fishing conditions for many species, with fish using the darkness to lay their eggs. On the surface, get your camera ready for the rarely-spotted Greenland shark, beluga whales, narwhals and even the large Atlantic walrus.
For a region that has an average summer temperature of just five degrees Celsius, Scoresbysund is certainly full of life – making it one of the most special locations along the Arctic Discovery voyage route.
Exploring more of Scoresbysund
Ittoqqortoormiit isn't the only possible landing in the Scoresbysund fjord. Depending on the weather conditions, there are two other zodiac landings.
Rode Island – This island is located in one of the fjords that snakes off Scoresbysund. This stop allows you to get your feet onto Greenland to take stock of this truly spectacular environment.
Hare Fjord – Another offshoot of the main Scoresbysund, Hare Fjord is a beautifully tranquil location where you can hear your voice echo around the tall basalt walls.
It's hard to describe Scoresbysund without telling you all its secrets. To get your own front row seat to one of nature's greatest works, get in touch with the expert team at Aurora Expeditions today!