The Sounds of Greenland

Natural Habitat Adventures March 18, 2020 0

When I first considered my trip to Greenland, I enthusiastically anticipated the breathtaking scenery of fjords and icebergs bobbing among crystal clear waters. But what transpired far exceeded my expectations. The multi-sensory experience was a joyous surprise and contributed to this being an awe-inspiring adventure.

Kayakers pass icebergs in Greenland.

© Melissa Scott

One of the first sounds to capture the group’s attention as we traveled to Base Camp on the private ferry was the sound of a whale blow in the distance. Once we located its spout of misty spray on the horizon, we anxiously anticipated an encore from this beautiful humpback whale. The whale did not disappoint, and we all sat in silence, watching and listening to the repeated performance. Fortunately, this was a sound I was able to experience multiple times during our stay in Greenland, and it never became commonplace.

Hearing an iceberg calf for the first time is a memorable experience for anyone. This trip to Greenland was the first time I heard a calving iceberg, which reminded me of a shotgun blast reverberating from peak to peak across the fjords. This sound echoed for a few minutes as it gradually disseminated. The stillness that followed was as resounding as the calving was powerful.

A zodiac glides through a hole in an iceberg in Greenland.

While the iceberg’s calving was to be expected from the icy waters of the north, the sounds of the bubbling ocean waters were not. Our Zodiac sat quietly between two glaciers as we listened to the distant run of a 100-foot waterfall. With the engines of the boats turned off, what was left was popping sounds as bubbles, being released from the thawing ice, floated to the surface from the depths beneath us. As we sat listening, I considered how this vast land of ice was very much alive and changing.

A blooming tundra in Greenland.

Each hike brought its own auditory delights as well. From the spongy hike across the tundra to the crunching landscape of the valley, adventures by foot were melodic excursions. The group was surprised at these phenomena and marveled at the chorus our treading feet made.

The most resounding moments were those that had no calving icebergs, no sounds from underfoot, no mammalian behemoth’s breath—they were the sounds of my own thoughts. When the quiet enveloped me as I quietly sat on my deck in the early morning hours, what I listened to was the song of peace, calm and harmony.

Icebergs at sunrise in Greenland.

By Rachel Milton, Adventure Prep Specialist & Senior Coordinator at Natural Habitat Adventures 

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