In 2016 it’s easy to cruise the west coast of Greenland as an independent traveler or on a travel agent package (for example Mammut in Reykjavik). We sailed on the 73 metre MS Sarfaq Ittuk of Greenland Umiaq Line for three days from the World Heritage Ice Fjord at Illulissat to the village of Narsaq in southern Greenland. The voyage features delightful cabins, local food and fabulous views of icebergs, mountains and wildlife. The ship carries a local guide, and we also greatly enjoyed our Arctic Adventure hosts Ane in Ilulissat and Ida in Narsaq.
In 1971, our expedition passed through Narsaq en-route to Tasermiut on the much smaller Taterak, which had very little passenger accommodation or food, and where you couldn’t spend the night on board. Here you see our alternative: camped by the fountain in Qaqortoq, which is now the southern terminus for the Sarfaq Ittuk. Threading through the icebergs remains a highlight of both voyages.
In 1971, on our southbound journey we stayed at a beautiful new school dormitory in (then) Julianehaab. But on the return northbound journey school was back in session so we pitched our trusty Arctic Guinea tents by the ceremonial fountain (picture in original post above). In 2017 a long-ago friend from Dumfries Academy, Catherine Cursiter visited Qaqortoq on a Fred Olson ship and took this picture of the same fountain today– only slightly changed. The rainy weather remains completely unchanged.