Greenland's Scoresby Sound

High Arctic Landscapes

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Greenland is Earth’s largest island yet ranks among the least-explored corners of the world. The island is 85 percent covered with ice—predominantly an ice cap averaging one-and-a-half miles thick, with a dramatic protruding mountain chain that runs north to south on the spectacular east coast.

Greenland forms part of the circumpolar lands that rim the icy Arctic Ocean and dominates the North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe. Roughly the area of Alaska, Texas and California combined; the island’s north/south axis stretches a distance equivalent to that from Canada to Mexico. Due to its large size, geographic location and huge ice cap, Greenland is the origin of many of the daily weather changes in the northern hemisphere.

Greenland’s landscape—a mosaic of breathtaking sawtoothed rocky peaks, countless glaciers, lakes, rivers and streams, waterfalls and colorful tundra-carpeted valleys—radiates a timelessness and purity that largely remains untouched by man. Yet, weathered by severe climatic conditions over the millennia, and impacted by looming global climate changes, the island remains in a continual state of transformation. Nevertheless, it is this shocking transformation that creates some of the most spectacular icescapes on Earth, rivaling Antarctica for the scenic beauty of its dramatic mountain-bordered waterways replete with highly photogenic wind and wave-sculpted icebergs.

desc1.jpgThe Scoresby Sound (Scoresbysund) on Greenland’s east coast is the largest fjord system in the world, and the major focus of our exciting photography cruise. Scoresby Sound pierces East Greenland for nearly 70 miles. Numerous fjords radiate from the sound—the longest is 130 miles long—and extend to the edge of the inland ice cap. The fjords are fed by the seasonal “flow” of the immense glaciers. This is one of the birthplaces of Greenland’s famous giant icebergs. Scoresby Sound is among the most scenically spectacular landscapes in the world and, during the time of our visit, its iceberg-choked and often mirror-smooth waterways will be punctuated with the vibrant autumn colors of dwarf willow and birch, blueberry and crowberry. Long slow low sunsets bathe the ice and landscape in rich golden light and, as day turns to night, aurora borealis may illuminate the night sky.

The sound, charted by English whaler and explorer William Scoresby in 1822, is dotted with picturesque islands. The 500 inhabitants of the tiny Greenlandic village of Ittoqqortootmiit, at the mouth of the sound, still hunt for polar bears, musk oxen, seals and birds. We’ll stop for a visit at this remote and most isolated Inuit outpost. Although the rugged icy landscape of East Greenland will be our primary photography objective, we may see flocks of barnacle and pink-footed geese gathering for their southward migration, arctic fox, musk oxen, harp and ringed seals, and, possibly, narwhals.

desc4.jpgThe voyage features our privately-chartered 162-foot (49.5 meter) hull-reinforced three-masted expedition schooner Rembrandt van Rijn. For this trip we have drastically under-enrolled this 33-passenger ship, so most of our group of 18 participants have single cabins—with three of the cabins reserved as double accommodations for couples or friends traveling together who can cheerfully coexist in somewhat tight quarters. This low number of participants also provides extra luggage and camera gear weight allowance during our charter flights from Reykjavik to Greenland and back.

At Scoresby Sound, the winter is long and the ice covers the waters for nine months of the year. There is only a narrow window of time when the sound is open to exploration by ship—and only a very few travelers make it to this fantastic and remote area. Join us in late August as we shoot from ship, shore and Zodiacs to explore and photograph our planet’s most majestic fjord country—and one of the last great wilderness destinations on Earth.

Convenient daily nonstop flights to Keflavik Airport (serving Reykjavik) are available from Boston, Chicago, Seattle, New York (JFK) Newark, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Washington D.C. as well as on connecting flights from Europe. Travelers on Icelandair arrive in early morning on flights originating from the United States. We recommended that travelers arrive at least 24 hours in advance of the start of your photographic adventure. The Photo Safaris office can help with suggestions for convenient lodging prior to the departure to Greenland. 

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Due to our morning charter flight departure on August 24, travelers will require this day at minimum (we recommend arriving in Iceland on August 23 in case of international flight and luggage delays) to prepare for the following morning's flight to Greenland. Reykjavik offers many excellent options for accommodations, dining and activities, in and around the city.

Day 2 (Aug 24)
This morning we gather at Reykjavik's domestic airport (Reykjavíkurflugvöllur) for our morning charter flight to East Greenland. The 1½ hour flight delivers us to Constable Point, on the shore of Hurry Inlet, Scoresby Sound. As the flight approaches the rugged coast of Greenland, with favorable conditions we begin to spot great icebergs drifting southward along the east Greenland current.

Once our flight arrives at Constable Point we will board our vessel, the schooner Rembrandt van Rijn and begin our photographic adventure sailing deep into the Scoresby Sound fjord system. From the comfortable and spacious deck of our ship we photograph the rugged sea and landscapes as we venture deeper into this arctic world. (D)

desc2-(1).jpgDay 3
Sunrise finds us cruising along the glaciated Volquart Boons Coast. This morning provides our first opportunity for a Zodiac cruise and a close approach along the glacier shoreline to photograph castellated blue icebergs against stunning glacier and mountain backdrops. Today we make our first landing near Mane Glacier in Vikingebugt, allowing plenty of time to photograph this rocky ice-bound landscape up close. (All meals are included while aboard ship)

Day 4
Sailing deeper into Scoresby Sound brings us to Danmark Island. Our visit here provides a glimpse into the past and an opportunity to photograph the arctic from a historical perspective. Danmark Island is the site of an east Greenland Inuit settlement that was abandoned nearly 200 years ago. This visit provides a rare chance to investigate and photograph a site with well-preserved circular summer stone tent rings, stone food caches, and the remains of traditional winter houses.

This afternoon we plan to continue sailing along the east side of Milne Land, photographing icebergs and reflections along our passage deeper into the fjord.

desc3.jpgDays 5–7
Sailing west, photographing our way through this picturesque iceberg filled fjord, our goal is to land on Røde Ø (Red Island). Here the combination of a raw basalt and red sandstone landscape, beset by drifting blue and white icebergs provides new and exciting photographic offerings. With favorable ice conditions we navigate Røde Fjord to photograph this ice-bound landscape from the comfort of the ship.

When conditions allow a landing here, a photography walk over colorful autumn tundra vegetation provides an opportunity for locating musk oxen grazing and basking in the late season light of the short Greenland summer.

Day 8
A morning Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, allows close-up photography of austere electric blue-white icebergs juxtaposed with the brooding red sedimentary island slopes.

Afternoon will find us sailing through the scenic northern area of Røde Fjord while we keep a close watch for musk oxen roaming the surrounding autumnal landscape.

Day 9
Ø Fjord at just over 40 miles in length is one of the world’s most impressive and dramatic fjords. As our vessel navigates this narrow ice-carved geological wonder, with cameras in hand we shoot ever-changing compositions surrounding us.  As we sail, we photograph from the ship while the dramatic mountains that tower more than 6000 feet over head provide us with many intoxicating views to digitally capture from one minute to the next.

Our landing this afternoon allows us the time to create more intimate landscape images ashore, all the while taking in the full view of the surrounding looming spires and occasional grounded iceberg. Day's end finds us tucked into a safe sheltered anchorage in Jyttehavn among the Bjørneøer (Bear) Islands.

desc5.jpgDay 10
When colossal bergs drift into the shallower waters of Hall Bredning they become grounded, leaving them to melt and eventually break up. Today offers a chance to photograph in and around what is commonly called an Iceberg Graveyard. Here the jostled and tilted ice forms provide many image-making opportunities. At a later landing near Sydkap, a tundra walk allows for continued photography of the surrounding fjord and intricate tundra details. The sweeping landscape here is home to the hearty resident arctic hares, which are often seen sitting posed, watching over their tundra domain.

Day 11
Today’s afternoon photography excursion explores the cultural landscape of Ittoqqortoormiit—Scoresby Sound’s largest settlement—home to roughly 500 inhabitants. Walking around this northern subsistence village allows us time to capture enduring images of the colorful homes, children, sled dogs, and daily life as seen from the unpaved roads. The stretched and drying skins of seals, musk oxen and polar bears are the reminders that people here still make use of the resources of this severe arctic environment.

Day 12
This morning finds us along the south coast of Jameson Land, photographing the autumn gathering of shorebirds and geese in the lagoon at Kap Stewart. The afternoon takes us further into Hurry Inlet for another opportunity to explore on land and photograph the surrounding arctic terrain. We end this day with our ship anchored near Constable Point.

Day 13 (Sep 4)
We make our final landing at Constable Point this morning as we disembark the Rembrandt van Rijn and meet our charter flight back to Reykjavik and homeward travels. (B)






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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Greenland's Scoresby Sound

Aug 23, 2019 - Sep 04, 2019

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Second payment and final payment of the trip fee must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
A deposit of 25% of the trip fee is required. An additional 25% of the trip fee is due on 10/29/2018. Final payment is due on 3/20/2019. We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time the following fees are non-refundable:
If Written Cancellation is Received:                                                Cancellation Fee:
10/31/18 or prior:                                                                                50% of deposit
Between 11/1/18 to 2/18/19:                                                              25% of entire trip fee
Between 2/19/19 to 4/31/19                                                               50% of entire trip fee
On or after 5/1/19:                                                                             100% of entire trip fee
Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. As noted in Section 3 below, we send a brochure for trip insurance to US and Canadian residents. The policy offered includes the emergency evacuation coverage required for this trip. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own—that is, not through our office—should confirm that a minimum of $500,000 of emergency evacuation insurance is included in their policy.

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Greenland's Scoresby Sound
  • Photograph some of the world's most stunning iceberg landscapes
  • Save 2 days sea travel by flying by chartered plane between Iceland and Greenland
  • Low number of 18 trip participants allows many single rooms on our 33-passenger ship and extra luggage weight allowance on our 30-passenger chartered aircraft
  • Late season sunrises and sunsets produce fantastic glowing landscape images
  • Aurora borealis photography a possibility
Aug 23 - Sep 04, 2019
Fee: $11,995–$15,995 from Reykjavik, Iceland (see cabin pricing details below)
Deposit: 25% of cabin fee
Limit: 18

$15,995 Single, from Reykjavik, Iceland (12 cabins available)

$11,995 Twin, per person—couples or close friends sharing cabin, from Reykjavik, Iceland (3 shared cabins available)

Fee includes round-trip charter flights Iceland/Greenland
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