Houses dwarfed by Ukkusissat - Store Malene - Nuuk

Sailing in Nuuk Fjord around Mount Sermitsiaq

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Taking a boat tour in the Nuuk Fjord is one of the highlights of visiting Greenland's capital city.  Read on to find out about my 2.5 hour trip all the way around Sermitsiaq mountain on a beautiful, blue-sky winter day

I arrived at the harbour a little before our departure time and was met by our captain for the adventure, Thue, and Aputsiaq, our guide.  Both are native Greenlanders who were super-keen to take us out and show us how beautiful the Nuuk Fjord is - even the section that is closest to the city.

Nuuk Water Taxi and its crew waiting to take us for a fjord tour

Thue and Aputsiaq ready to welcome us on board

"Be careful, it's really slippery", advised Aputsiaq as he helped me down onto the back deck of the boat.  

He wasn't kidding!  The temperature was -10 degrees Celsius and although I couldn't see any ice, there must have been a very thin film covering the floor as it felt like I had ice skates on!  

I managed to make it into the small 6-person cabin with the help of handles that are strategically located all over the boat, and soaked up the warmth as I waited for my fellow passengers. Once they arrived and were settled in, Thue cast off and we were on our way up the Nuuk Fjord.

Captain and guide looking out of the windscreen of a Nuuk Water Taxi as we head up the Nuuk Fjord

Into the Nuuk Fjord

It was such a glorious day, I simply could not stay inside the cabin.  So I rugged up in my expedition down jacket, windproof fleece pants, buff, beanie, gloves and insulated boots to brave the elements outside.  With the wind and motion of the boat, I estimate there was a wind chill of about -1,000,000 degrees.  But it was totally worth it!

View in front of and behind the Nuuk Water Taxi as we make our way up the Nuuk Fjord

The view in front (top) and behind (bottom) as we headed up the fjord.

We sailed past several of the "weekend homes" that are dotted along the fjord,

A weekend home on the Nuuk Fjord

and although it was still quite early in the season to see icebergs this close to Nuuk, Thue found an impressive one!  I love how from one angle, it really looks like a person.

Exploring a good sized iceberg with Nuuk Water Taxi in the Nuuk Fjord

Large iceberg!  With Sermitsiaq in the background (bottom)

Around Sermitsiaq

Sermitsiaq mountain is the iconic mountain you can see from Nuuk.  What is not obvious from that vantage point is that it actually forms its own island, which you can circumnavigate on a 2-3 hour boat tour from the city.  Having marvelled endlessly at the classic view of the mountain, I was fascinated to see it from all its different angles.  Not surprisingly, it looks completely different depending on where you are.

Different angles of Sermitsiaq on a Nuuk Water Taxi tour in the Nuuk Fjord

Different views of Sermitsiaq

Aputsiaq explained that the name "Sermitsiaq" means "a piece of ice" because you will find ice on the mountain all year round. This is especially true during the winter months where the massive waterfall that cascades over the back of the mountain freezes into a solid river of ice with beautiful "stalactites".

The frozen waterfall behind Sermitsiaq, Nuuk Fjord

Sermitsiaq's frozen waterfall.  It turns back into water during the Summer.

As we continued our journey around the mountain, one of my fellow passengers came out to join me on the decks to admire the stunning views and take photos.

Passenger enjoying the scenery on a Nuuk Water Taxi Nuuk Fjord boat trip

With the back side of Sermitsiaq in shadow and too close to see fully, we turned our attention to the other mountains in the fjord, which were equally as impressive.  Qingaa (meaning "the nose") mountain was particularly captivating

Qingaa mountain as seen from a Nuuk Water Taxi tour around Sermitsiaq

Qingaa mountain

and even more so when seen alongside its neighbours.

Qingaa and its surrounding mountains - Nuuk Fjord

Time for coffee and tea

I cannot describe how beautiful it was as we stopped the boat to enjoy a cup of kaffi (coffee) or tii (tea) in the cold sunshine.  The blue skies.  The snowy mountains.  The silence of being out on the water.  It was a perfect Sunday outing in February.

Time for tea and coffee on a Nuuk Water Taxi Fjord tour

About 20 minutes later after I had impressed both Thue and Aputsiaq with my fledgling Greenlandic (it is a tough language!), Thue kicked the engines to life again and we started down another arm of the fjord back towards Nuuk.  

Our Nuuk Water Taxi Capitan at his post

I had ample opportunity to admire the Greenlandic rocks I'm so obsessed with

Greenlandic rocks on the mountainside

and the scenery continued to amaze.

Nuuk Fjord views from a Nuuk Water Taxi tour around Sermitsiaq

Nuuk from the water

The views of Nuuk's Colonial Harbour were stunning as we passed slowly by on our way back to our dock

Nuuk Colonial Harbour as seen from a Nuuk Water Taxi tour of the fjord

Part of the Colonial Harbor of Nuuk as seen from the fjord

as were the views of the large houses in front of Ukkusissat (Store Malene).  Oh how I'd love to live here!

Houses dwarfed by Ukkusissat - Store Malene - Nuuk

Explore the Nuuk Fjord for yourself

If you are planning a trip to Nuuk, I recommend reading the Ultimate Travel Guide to Nuuk.

You should definitely get out on the water with one of the many fjord tours on offer.  There are options that are based solely around the scenery (like this one that I did), and others that include fishing (some also have professional chefs cook whatever you catch for your lunch!), visiting the glacier at the end of the Nuuk Icefjord, visiting an abandoned village, or experiencing life in a small Greenlandic community.

A million "qujanaat" to Thue and Aputsiaq from Nuuk Water Taxi for an incredible trip! And even though it took the better part of an hour for my toes to defrost (they would have been fine if I'd spent more time in the cabin of course), I can't wait to get out on the fjord again!