A place of many houses

Mist and Myths

At 70’30 north and 022’25 west Ittoqqortoormiit (and it 440 inhabitants) lies well in to the Arctic region. Separated from Iceland by the Greenland Sund (Danmark Strait) and cut off by Greenland’s Icecap, Ittoqqortoormiit might be one of the world’s most remote places.

Only excisable by boat for 3 months of the year it took a long time for the world’s largest fjord system to be explored. The first European to do so was the Arctic explorer and whaler William Scoresby. The fjord system still bears his name to this day. The first to explore and make use of its natural resources where the Inuits. They hunted seals in summer from there swift kano’s. In winter the men brave enough hunted polar bear. The valleys where home to Musk oxen and Caribo’s, these attracted wolves who are now extinct. This food chain was to instable to sustain two top predators so both wolves and men slowly left these icy planes.

As the human population in Greenland kept growing, the original hunting grounds where no longer enough to supply for the communities who depended upon them. At the same time Demark became more and more interested in East Greenland’s natural resources. This demanded a new settlement in North East Greenland. In 1925 part of the Tassilaq and some 70 west Greenlanders where more or less voluntarily shipped to the south shore of Scoresby Sund to found the town of Ittoqqortoormiit,”a place of many houses”. A new start amides an abandons of wild live gave these natural hunters new future!

Isafjordur, Iceland 1925 was the scene of this unusual “evacuation”. It was the last stop for the new inhabitants of this new town. For us it is also the last port of call on our Greenland expeditions. After a last night at anchor in Hornvik we set sail on our adventure across the Greenland Sund. Through the shield of mist into the Arctic blue!


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