North Greenland

- The land of dog sleds and the Midnight Sun.
 
THE LAND of dog sleds and the Midnight Sun stretches from
 

 
Kangaatsiaq in the south to Upernavik in the north. During the summer, the sun is in the sky twenty-four hours a day - and the further north you travel, the longer this period of endless light will last.
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A short rest in the spring sunshine before they set off again between the icebound icebergs on the fjord.
 
 
The only source of income for the villages of North Greenland is from hunting and fishing.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
This means, of course, that there is a corresponding period of darkness in the winter. The day that the sun reappears in Ilulissat is 13 January, which is a festival that everyone looks forward to. Even though there are airports at Aasiaat, Ilulissat, on the Nuussuaq peninsula near Uummannaq and at Upernavik, the long distances between towns turn journeys by passenger ship into great adventures, bringing the full variety of Greenland's nature vividly to your attention.
 
You will see the skerries, the low mountains in the south, the monumental basalt mountains on Disko island, the highest mountains on the west coast near Uummannaq, the bird colonies on the cliffs of Upernavik and glaciers and ice fields along the way. Some of the world's most productive and fast-moving glaciers are to be seen around Uummannaq and Ilulissat.
 
Seal hunting was the most important source of income for a large part of the population, and this is why the settlements here are different from those in the rest of Greenland. There are many villages in the region, and as a visitor you will be able to experience a different Greenland from the one you will find in the busy towns. During the winter, when the fjords freeze over, the dog sled is an indispensable means of transport for the fishermen and hunters.
 
Long lines are set through holes in the ice for Greenland halibut. These fish are frequently caught at a depth of 600 metres, and the lines are pulled up by hand!
 
The importance of dog sleds is clearly indicated by the fact that there are more dogs than people in many places.
There are many things to see and do in the area for visitors interested in history. Greenland's oldest wooden house, dating from 1734, is in Qasigiannguit, which also has a museum with a fine collection of archaeological finds from different prehistoric cultures.
 
The former settlement of Sermermiut near Ilulissat, the old storehouse, deserted villages, the houses of the colonial adminstrators and the churches all bear witness to fascinating aspects of Greenland's history. There is a museum in every town which will take you far back into the past. You will not see many animals on land, perhaps just a fox or hare, but life is plentiful above and below the water. There are many species of gull to be seen resting on the ice fields, and large numbers of fulmars can be observed close to the towns when they make good use of the waste products from the fish factories. Prawns, also known as pink gold, feature prominently among Greenland's exports, and they are the reason for the many large trawlers and smaller fishing vessels which ply the waters of North Greenland. Greenland halibut are also caught from dinghies, and it is not unusual for 50 tonnes per week to be landed by a small village with a few hundred inhabitants. This area is also where you will have the best the chance of seeing the gigantic fin whale, especially around Qeqertarsuaq, Aasiaat and Qasigiannguit. It is not by chance that many Dutch whalers hunted in this precise area during the 18th century.
 

 
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