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FAQ

Four months prior to departure, you will receive a detailed luggage checklist. Prepare for a hiking trip in the mountains and bring sufficient warm clothes in functional layers (good hiking boots, thermal underwear, fleece, windstopper, rain jacket, down jacket). Provide your own daypack and, – if your trip includes overnight land expeditions – we ask you to bring your own backpack for the optimal personal fit. For overnight hiking expeditions on land, Puffins provides all gear (tents, sleeping bags and mattresses, cooking stoves…).

Greenland is an autonomous part of Denmark, but not part of the Schengen agreement. If you need a visum to enter Denmark, you will need a visum to enter Greenland. It depends on your home country and it is important to check the requirements with the foreign affairs department, embassy or consulate in your country. For example: travellers from Belgium and the Netherlands are officially advised to obtain a travel passport. In practice, the Government of Greenland allows citizens of the Schengen Zone to enter with just a national ID. However, as regulations are undergoing changes, and as we adhere to official prescriptions, we advise our European guests to travel with an international passport nonetheless.

 

Please be aware, it is your individual responsibility to provide the adequate travel documents and have them with you when travelling to Greenland. When in doubt on what to bring, please contact Puffins and we’d happily advise you.

A travel insurance can include both assistance and/or cancellation. An insurance policy covering medical assistance is an obligatory condition to participation in our expeditions. A cancellation insurance is not mandatory, but as the cost of the expeditions are relatively high, we strongly recommend to consider a cancellation insurance as well. Many people already have an insurance and it is unnecessary to over-insure. However, it is important to consider a number of essential elements which should be included in your policy. Read more about the checklist on insurances here. At Puffins, we offer an optional assistance insurance and an optional cancellation insurance for travellers with residence in the EU.

You can pay a part of the travel sum in cash. The legal limit is 10% of the total travel sum or a maximum of 3000 euro per booking. Cash payments are only accepted if paid upfront and within the payment deadlines.

Yes! That is possible. Any additional transaction costs charged to Puffins, will be passed on to you. We use PayPal to process credit card payments.

Off course! But we do set an age limit at 14, because of the specific adventurous nature of our expeditions and the group dynamics on a boat with 8 guests. Travellers under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and previous hiking experience is strongly recommended.

Air Greenland allows up to 20 kg (44 lbs) of checked-in luggage and 1 item of cabin luggage weighing up to 8 kg (18 lbs). If you want to bring excess luggage, you directly pay for this at the check-in desk of Air Greenland. The price for excess luggage is 80DDK/kg (about 12€/kg) for international flights. On domestic flights, the charges depend on the route and type of aircraft, but are generally cheaper.

Our expeditions are full-board, which means all meals are included. Once you step aboard, the only extra costs we can imagine are the occasional bar drinks and possible personal souvenirs in the villages. There is a bar aboard the Moonlight where we serve a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic extra’s. Dinners include wine. For these personal extra expenses, it is advised to bring Euro’s (bar) and Danish krones (DKK) (local souvenirs) which you can obtain from the airport at Copenhagen Kastrup.

Everything is possible, but it comes at a certain price. Please contact us for an updated quote.

O-ow. You would not want that to happen. It means you potentially risk to miss the start of the expedition and the flight from Copenhagen to your destination in Greenland. It is an inherent risk to any holiday including a flight segment. No travel insurance covers flight delays, so we strongly recommend an overnight stay in Copenhagen or even a city trip prior to departure to Greenland and a flexible international return flight home, to allow for such eventualities as bad weather, mechanical breakdown… and to guarantee a stress-free departure to your destination in Greenland and a stress-free return home.

If you do miss the start of the expedition, we ask you to notify us as soon as possible. The rebooking of a flight ticket to Greenland will be an extra expense charged to you. If the itinerary allows us to wait for you, we will off course do our utmost to accommodate this so you can still join the expedition next day or as soon as possible.

Our expeditions are open for anyone in good physical health and condition. You don’t need to be an endurance athlete to join, but it is advised to do regular sports, like swimming, running, cycling, hiking,…  at least on a weekly basis. Previous mountain hiking experience is recommended, as we might cross the occasional boulder terrain, descend along steep terrain or cross a river. Your guide is an experienced mountain walking guide, with excellent assessment skills regarding your capabilities, and will safely escort you along the more difficult passages. But in general, Greenland renders excellent and fairly easy hiking conditions. You just need a sailing boat to get there :-). We avoid alpine terrain, so all our hikes are accessible as normal mountain walking. Please be aware, there are no hiking paths in Greenland, which sometimes requires a bit more effort, and there are hardly any marked trails. Off course, we take this into account in our ambitions for the day and we always adjust according to the group’s capabilities.

No! We have a professional crew operating the yacht. Just sit back & relax :-).

Hopefully not. We realize it is a quite fascinating creature, but they are also fierce and relentless predators which might be attracted to humans. There are between 3500-4400 polar bears in Greenland. They mainly roam on the ice in the northern most parts of West Greenland and in Northeast Greenland. They are rarely seen on land, chances of spotting a bear are greater while sailing. Hunting for polar bears is regulated by official quota by all parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, which is set for Greenland on 140. Only professional hunters can shoot a bear, and when they do, they use every single part of the animal. They will never shoot females or their cubs. The relation between the Inuit & polar bears is one based on mutual respect. Polar bears usually shy away from humans upon an encounter, and when they don’t a fierce noise is the second step to consider. The reports of shooting in self-defense are extremely rare. At Puffins, we take the necessary precautions as advised by the Government of Greenland. We tend to avoid hiking in areas where they are known to reside. Our guides are trained to deal with an encounter. In polar bear areas, the guide will carry a rifle, which will only be used as a weapon of last resort. Should an overnight camping expedition be part of your trip, we organize a polar bear watch to stay alert 24 hours. Consider this to be your exclusive moment with Nature; polar bear watch, can actually be quite fun! By the way, there are almost no documented cases of polar bears attacking groups of 8-10 people, so don’t worry too much!

Hopefully yes. We actively look out for them and stop the boat if we spot one or a group on the move or playing alongside the yacht. They are absolutely fascinating and extremely smart creatures and they tend to surprise us time and again. Even the most seasoned guide still gets high upon a sighting. The vast meltwater discharge of the rivers draining Greenland’s ice sheet provides a continuous supply of nutrients to the fjords and sea; this allows plankton to bloom, making the coastline of Greenland one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth. Humpback whales are extremely common in the area north of Nuuk and Eternity Fjord. Minke whales occur throughout all of our expedition playground. And if you are really lucky you might even spot a Greenland whale, beluga or a narwhal!

Depends on which trip you pick! You need three things to see the Northern lights: (i) a location in the so-called aurora belt; (ii) clear skies; and (iii) darkness. The aurora belt runs right across the Southern half of Greenland – exactly where we will take you. The Summer climate in Greenland is generally stable, so having some clear skies should also work out. Darkness is more of a problem… the midnight sun circles above the horizon on our June and July trips; on those trips it will be impossible to spot the Aurora. Only in the second half of August, the nights start to grow longer and darker. From August 20 onwards, your chances of marvelling at the Northern Lights are high. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock!

The Arctic currently warms up to 3 times as fast as the global average, especially in Winter. The results of this dramatic temperature increase are visible everywhere in Greenland: glaciers retreat, vegetation zones shift, and ice cover in winter decreases, which makes hunting for the Inuit a risky business. Some effects are more surprising: the number of icebergs has sharply increased in the last few decades because of accelerated glacial retreat. It might feel nice to have more warm Summer days, but the Arctic ecosystems and glaciers are spiralling out of balance.

Yes! We won’t lie to you. Especially in the Summertime, mosquitoes invade Greenland, as they do in other areas in the Arctic. But, they won’t harass you aboard the yacht, and luckily we know where to bring you. During mosquito high season, which runs from early July until mid-August, we carefully choose our hikes in those valleys where the climate and vegetation turn conditions in our favour. It is advised to bring a mosquito headnet and insect repellant (type DEET). Should you have forgotten to pack one, we have a number of spare ones on board.

We put up the sails whenever we can, as our crew are sailors in heart and soul and as it is pure magic to silently cruise through the fjords. But more often than not, the weather in Greenland is just too calm to sail. If there is not enough wind and we still want to move on, we switch to engine.

Oh yes! Plenty of fish in Greenland. The rivers are swirling with Arctic char in July. We store fishing rods aboard. If you are an angler, please notify us, so we can include interesting opportunities for you in the itinerary. In West Greenland, fishing is concentrated around the towns of Sisimiut, Maniitsoq and Kangerlussuaq. In South Greenland, conditions are optimal from mid-July to September around the towns of Narsaq and Narsarsuaq. River fishing requires a valid license, which costs 75 DKK for a 24h period and 200 DKK for a week and which can be obtained in local tourist offices or local banks or post offices. You can also arrange this upfront & online. Please contact us for more information.

Yes, off course! Every helping hand is more than welcome, but it is not required. If you feel like pitching in, just ask the respective crew member who is responsible for the task you’d like to help with. Always respect the Skippers authority & guidelines, as safety always comes first.

We serve three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner; and while on land, we might provide you with the occasional snack. Lunch can be served on board, or as a packed picnic. We cook typical, varied European food, supplemented with fresh local produce which we buy directly from Inuit hunters and fishermen. In the evening, we serve a 3-course dinner with wine. Other (alcoholic) beverages are for sale in our bar. Dietary preferences (eg. vegetarians) will be taken into account. The same naturally applies for intolerances and allergies.

Not too cold at all! The Summer climate in Greenland is extremely good. Close to the coastline, temperatures are tempered by the cold sea water, and generally range between 6-12°C. In the fjords, where we will do most of our activities, it can get really warm from June until early September: up to 20°C! Furthermore the Summer climate is often dry and sunny – the number of days with rain  and sunshine hours are comparable to Southern France! In September, it tends to get a bit colder with daytime temperatures typically between 5-12°C and some overnight frosts.

 

More information about the weather conditions you can expect during your trip can be found in the trip brochures and on the expedition pages on our website.

We will remain in the fjords most of the time, where the risk to get seasick is absolutely minimal. Every few days we have to venture out onto the open sea for a few hours to get from one fjord to the next. Although the weather is generally stable, it might get a bit choppy at times. Some people are more vulnerable to seasickness than others. If you get seasick, just sitting or lying down for a while is often the best solution. We also have medicine if needed.

 

If we need to get out on the open sea, we try to plan it late in the evening and during the night as much as possible for your convenience. Except in the very odd exception, lunch and dinner will always be served when we are on calm water in the fjords.

Yes. We have our own water makers, which allow to produce freshwater while sailing. There should never be water shortage on board and you will be able to take a daily shower, but please be aware that the water we produce is “environmentally expensive” as the water makers are powered by diesel-consuming generators. So, even though we have sufficient freshwater on board, we kindly ask you not to use excessive amounts of it to limit our environmental footprint while being a guest in such fragile ecosystems.

All waste is collected on board and will be taken to towns with good waste disposal facilities. We avoid taking waste to smaller settlements, where it is often dumped in open air or just set to fire. We use biodegradable detergents for (dish)washing, cleaning and laundry, and will motivate you to do the same.

Yes, you can. There are electrical sockets (220V, Euro type) and USB chargers in your cabin.

Yes, we have a washing machine and dryer on board.

We can warmly recommend you to indulge in the benefits of a digital detox while on expedition with us. There is no wifi on board. If you need to stay connected, you can consider to buy a local SIM card at the Telepost upon arrival, but please be aware that mobile phone reception is poor in the wilderness and that internet connection is limited to the villages and via slow networks. For emergencies, we have a satellite phone on board, and take satellite phones and emergency beacons while out on trip.

The Greenlandic Inuit language or Kalaallisut is the mother tongue of most native Greenlanders. Kalaallisut is one of the closely related Inuit dialects spoken by indigenous populations throughout the High Arctic. Without training, it is virtually impossible to understand a single word of it! Luckily, most Greenlanders also speak Danish, and the standards of English education have strongly improved in recent years. You will be able to have a chat in English with most younger locals; older people can be harder to approach.

The high Arctic is an environment in constant motion, with some very specific natural dangers which you might not have thought of: waves generated by calving glaciers or collapsing icebergs; rock and ice avalanches in the mountains, or rivers with rapidly changing water levels as a function of precipitation and meltwater discharge – just to name a few. Our guides and crew are highly experienced, know the Arctic and can read the landscape and conditions. Assessing any possible dangers and taking you to the best spots out there in all safety is their main job at any time of your travel. We have a very strict zero-risk policy.

 

As for the sailing, lay back and relax – even if it gets a bit choppy! Your crew has navigated this boat across the stormy Atlantic, so the calm waters of Greenland are not a challenge. The Moonlight has been fully adapted to cruise through the Arctic water. And whenever nasty weather is predicted, we will adapt our travel schedule if needed for your convenience, and find a nice spot in the sheltered fjords.

THE BIRD ITHE WORD

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