Darren and Amanda Seltzer set out to sail around the world just when the world started to lock down its borders due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Instead of sailing their Amel Sharki 39-foot ketch PANDA through the Panama Canal on the way to the South Pacific, they’ve set out on a northern adventure to Maine, Newfoundland, Greenland and on to Scotland. The following is a short report about their visit to Greenland. Follow their Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Instagram page for more details, pictures and videos of their trip.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were never planning to be surrounded by icebergs, in freezing cold weather. But here we are. Far away from the warmer climes we originally set sail for, enduring the elements is managed through warm cups of coffee, the right clothing, and ingesting Greenland’s panoramic mountain views.
Our sail took us from ‘Downeast’ Maine, past Nova Scotia and into St. John’s Newfoundland. There, we were quarantined on the dock, but able to resupply with fuel, water, and a much needed diesel air heater which conveniently gave-up right at the dock. Our planned destination was Iceland, but a quick check of Covid status revealed the country’s change in tourism policy which disallowed U.S. passport holders from entering. The next logical choice was Greenland…the intimidating land of Ice.
Landfall in Greenland came some 750NM north of Newfoundland across the Labrador sea to a small village on the South West coast called Nanortalik. Motoring past several large iceberg’s with a stunning mountainous backdrop was an awe-inspiring landfall, one we will never forget. A sheltered bay behind the village provided ample protection from the wind and floating ice, and allowed a pleasant row to shore for sightseeing and supplies.
Over the next month, we sailed up remote fjords, bathed in the country’s only natural hot spring, and explored our first glaciers. In this land far up North, the scenery and shear magnitude of the place is captivating. Self-guided exploration is a routine event. Simply pick the feature to be explored, lather the bug spray, and trek! Bugs? Yes, Greenland is swarming with little gnats and mosquitoes in the summer. Unexpectedly, we struggled at first, then learned to hike only on windy days.
All too quickly the endless summer sun began to set earlier and with flair, suggesting we should plan our departure before the weather turns and a long winter sets in. Iceland was still disallowing U.S. citizens, so we made for Scotland direct, roughly 1,200nm across the North Atlantic, along what is known as the ‘Viking’ route. We were told there are easier ways across the Atlantic, and this proved correct. This sail would turn out to be our most challenging, but with any challenge, there is a great reward.
Stay tuned for our next chapter, an exploration of Scotland! And, please find us on Instagram and Facebook to see more stunning pictures and in-depth journals of Greenland. Words simply aren’t enough, and honestly neither are pictures. However it does help convey the remoteness and magnitude of the place.