Navigating one of Greenland’s most scenic inland passages means threading the needle through the glaciers and narrow granite cliffs of Prins Christian Sund (or Prince Christian Sound in English, or Ikerasassuaq in Greenlandic). It was named after Christian VIII (before he became the king of Denmark), but explorer John Cabot’s description is more accurate and more evocative: a river of melted snow.
The 105-kilometer-long (66-mile-long) fjord separates Greenland’s mainland from the Cape Farewell Archipelago, a group of islands off of Greenland’s southern tip. The remote route is accessible by ship only during the summer months, when warmer temperatures reduce the chance of ice blockages around the entrance. Aappilattoq, an Inuit town with about 100 residents, is the only settlement; the only other sign of a human presence is a remote weather station constructed by the United States during the Cold War, at the eastern end of the fjord. A journey along the passage offers an up-close look at glaciers, icebergs and the imposing mountains that dominate Greenland’s landscape, towering over the narrow channel with their spires and jagged ridges.