Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Greenland cruising notes



These notes were made by Annie Hill and Trevor Robertson on Iron Bark II, an 11-metre gaff cutter, in 2004 and 2005 with additions by Trevor Robertson in 2012 and 2013.  They are intended to supplement information in the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation guide Faroe, Iceland and Greenland edited by Willie Kerr.  The sketch charts are intended to aid navigation only.  It is very likely unobserved hazards exist close to the course followed while compiling the sketch charts and usual warnings apply about using with care.


NP 12 4.126
69º54.5'N 51º16.5'W (2004)

Chart D 1500
Sketch charts: Oqaitsut



A well-protected anchorage is north of Smalle Sund in the Vaigat. It is a useful anchorage when N bound up the Vaigat, being well protected and of easy access


Approach from SW along the centre of the channel S of Oqaitsut and turn N (to port) into the passage E of Oqaitsoq when opens. Follow the shore round leaving the rocky island in the middle of the bay to starboard. The channel leading N into Torssukatak was blocked by ice in July 2004.


In the S end of the bay in 10 to 20m. 

Atanikerdluk (ILUARÂ)

NP 12 4.132
70º04'N 52º22'W (2004)

Chart D 1500
Sketch charts: Atanikerdluk (Iluarâ)



The bay to the E of the Nunguaq spit provides shelter from the W or NW.  There is a conspicuous bluff adjacent to the anchorage.  This is a useful anchorage to wait on a fair wind or improvement in visibility when north bound in the Vaigat but the entrance is very open and there is almost always some ice inside.


The approach is straightforward.


Anchor either N or S side of the bay according to wind direction and be prepared to move if the wind shifts.  Nunguaq spit, which forms the NW side of the bay, covers at high water springs.  A S wind can bring an unpleasant swell into this anchorage causing rollers on the beach and making anchoring difficult except in very deep water.
There is good shelter from a N wind close under Nunguap spit. The spit is steep-to with only a narrow shelf with depths suitable for a yacht to anchor.  Iron Bark anchored here in 11m and swung between wind and tide with depths under the keel varying from 6m to 50m. Although the anchor came up covered in kelp the holding appeared to be good. The S end of the bay is sheltered from a S wind and is used by local fishing boats.

 Approaches to Kangersuatsiaq (Prøven) and Uluvoq Uluâ


72º22.8'N 54º50.2'W (2012)

Chart D 1600
Sketch charts: Uluvoq Uluâ


Uluvoq Uluâ is a well-protected anchorage behind a rocky headland about 12 miles E of Kangersuatsiaq (Prøven). There is a pleasant walk up to the lake.


The approach from the south via Suvdlua is clean. The least mid-channel depth found in four transits of Suvdlua was 46m, opposite Ikerasak. Depth in the approach from Kangersuatsiaq (Prøven) are irregular and there are several islands in mid-channel but no hidden hazards other than those shown on charts 1710 and 1650 were encountered in six transits. The least mid-channel depth found was 32m


The best berth is near the N end of the bay just S of the innermost pool.  The entrance to this inner pool is foul. Anchor in about 10m N of a line of large drying boulder extending from the W shore.  Good holding.


Kangersuatsiaq (Prøven)

NP 12 5.59-5.64
72º23'N 55º33'W (2012)

Charts D 1710, D 1650

Kangersuatsiaq is an attractive village of 50 or 60 houses situated above a small, fairly well sheltered but crowded harbour.  Very little ice appears to find its way into the harbour.  The pilot warns that SW swells enter the harbour. The nearest all-weather yacht anchorage is Uluvoq Uluâ

The approach from the north via Nordløbet is straightforward.  From the south, Sydløbet has a least depth of 6m.  Favour the E (Prøven) side of the channel as underwater rocks extend out from the W (Sandøen) side.


The anchorage for large vessels in the channel between Prøven and Sandøen is 25m deep, rather exposed and unattractive for a yacht.  The cove below the village is better protected and has moderate depths but is encumbered by underwater rocks and small craft moorings.  There are rocks 70m SW of the town dock and more rocks off the S shore of the cove.  Leading marks consisting of a pair of painted rocks on Prøvens Ø lead clear of the rocks off the town dock.  A similar set of painted rocks on Sandøen leads into the cove.

There is no room to anchor in the NE part of the cove as it is filled with moorings.  The best berth is for a yacht in the SE part of the cove, among the fishing boats lying to a bow anchor in 8 m, mud and boulders, with a stern line to one of the bollards in the rock face to the E.  The holding is dubious and there is no room to swing to a single anchor.

It is possible to tie up to the town dock for a short stay or to take on fuel.  The dock is 4.5m long and has 3.0m alongside.  When approaching or leaving the dock beware of the underwater rocks that lie about 70m to the SW and on a direct course to and from the approach channel.


There is a crowded floating dinghy dock.  The village has a well-stocked general store and post office.  Fuel is available by jerrican, pay in the n the store.   There is no ATM nor does the store accept credit cards.  Water for the town appears to be ferried in by jerrican.


NP 12 5.67
72º30'N 54º30'W (2004)
Chart D 1700
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds S sheet,
 Laksefjorden E Part



Laksefjorden extends from Angmarqua (72º32'N, 55º25'W) 21 miles E into J P Kochs Land.  The outer 14-mile long section between Angmarqua and the “First Narrows” (72º29.2'N 54º37.5'W) has the grand, forbidding aspect typical of a Greenland fjord.  The inner part of Laksefjorden, E of the “First Narrows” is surrounded by low comparatively fertile land intersected by a number of rivers.  In summer there are abundant bilberries, crowberries and several varieties of edible mushrooms.  In several of the river valleys, dwarf willow groves reach a height of 1.5 to 2.0m.  Laksefjorden has very little drift ice in the summer.

There are Arctic char in the rivers in the inner part of Laksefjorden (which means Salmon Fjord in Danish), most notably near Ekaluarsuit (72º29.9'N 54º27.5'W).  In July and August local fishermen camp nearby in order to net char.  A permit, obtainable in Upernavik, is required to fish and there is a closed season enforced by a fisheries patrol.  In August 2004, there was no sign of the reindeer mentioned in the NP12 5.67.

Ilulialik, a silt-laden river, flows from the icecap into the head of Laksefjorden. Extensive silt banks E of Ekaluarsuit make this section is only navigable by a yacht of average draught near high water.  The sediment-laden water in the inner part of Laksefjorden is nearly opaque, making pilotage difficult


Angmarqua to “First Narrows” (Sketch chart: Nordre Sunds South Sheet)

The 14-mile long W section of Laksefjorden from Angmarqua to the “First Narrows” has mid-channel depths of greater than 150m except for a 10m shoal off the SW end of Amarortalik.  This shoal, centred at 72º29.91'N, 54º50.55'W (Qornoq 1927 datum) is nearly mid-channel and extends about 400m E-W and less than 200m N-S.  It is steep-to with depths of over 50m in all directions within 200m of its shallowest part.  No other mid-channel less depths shallower than 150m were encountered in six traverses of the W part of Laksefjorden.

“First Narrows” to Ekaluarsuit (Sketch chart: Laksefjorden East Part)
There is a tortuous channel with a least depth of 20m between “First Narrows” and Ekaluarsuit. There is at least one pinnacle rock with 5m over it very near to the obvious mid-channel route and rocks with less than 2m close S of the islets E of the “Second Narrows” (see sketch chart).  A vessel with a draught greater than 5m would be advised to send a boat ahead to buoy the channel.

An island in the “First Narrows” constricts the entrance to the inner part of Laksefjorden. Leave this island to port (to the north). Once in the pool beyond the “First Narrows” alter course to SE to avoid an underwater rock lying approximately 100m off the N shore.  This rock has a minimum depth of 5m and rises abruptly from 70m.  Its GPS-derived position is 72º29.126'N 54º35.011'W (Qornoq 1927 datum).  After passing the rock, steer ESE to pass south of a high, rocky island. The small skerry, almost awash, to the S of this island has deep water on either side.

Follow the fjord around to NNE towards an island and several rocks that constrict the channel at the “Second Narrows”.  Leave the island to starboard (to the south), as there is foul ground south of the island then pass about 200m S of a string of islets and skerries in mid-fjord.  Foul ground extends 150m S from these islets.

Once past the islets, Ekaluarsuit opens up to the S.  There will probably fishermen camped here in summer.  Ekaluarsuit appears free of dangers and a depth of 20m can be carried close to the head of the bay. 

If continuing further E along Laksefjorden pass 50m off the headland on the NE side of Ekaluarsuit to avoid a bank that extends from the delta of a river on the N side of the fjord.  This is the first of the silt banks that fill the head of Laksefjorden.  These banks restrict navigation by yachts of average draught to 2 or 3 hours either side of high water. 

Ekaluarsuit to Orpik (Sketch chart: Laksefjorden East Part)
There are extensive shallow silt banks between Ekaluarsuit and the head of Laksefjorden with a deeper channel and holes scoured by river current and tide.  At high water neaps, 2.4m can be carried to the head of Laksefjorden but the opaque, silty water complicates pilotage. 

The sketch chart shows the best channel but it is probably prudent to anchor and send a dinghy ahead to sound the shallower sections.  The bottom is soft mud except in the approaches to the “Third Narrows” so grounding is unlikely to be serious.  In the “Third Narrows” the ebb stream, reinforced by river outflow, may exceed 3 knots.  Elsewhere streams are weak.

Anchorages in Laxefjord


Akuliaruseq (72º32.9'N 55º04.9'W, see sketch chart)

This is a pleasant anchorage on the S shore of Akuliaruseq off Laksefjorden.  Anchor either in 13m with ample swinging room but open to the SW or further into the bay in 6m with all-round shelter and a line ashore due to restricted swing room.  The bottom is mud with scattered boulders and fine filamentous weed, good holding. 

Ekaluarsuit  (72º 29.4'N 54º 28.5'W, Sketch chart: Laksefjorden East Part)
This anchorage is in the inner part of Laksefjorden near the mouth of one of the char rivers.  Fishermen camp around the bay in summer and set nets extending 20 to 30m offshore.  The nets are usually marked by white floats and are obvious.  The best berth for a yacht is in 13m near the head of the bay, good holding.  The approach is clean.

Laksefjorden is very shallow beyond Ekaluarsuit,.  In settled weather it is possible to anchor wherever there is enough depth to float at low water.  The tidal range is about 1.6m on springs, 1.0m on neaps.  A useful anchorage if waiting on the tide is 1/2 M SE of the “Second Narrows” in 9m, mud.  This is more protected than it looks because the surroundings are shallow.  A vessel will normally be tide-rode here.

Orpik (72º 30.0'N 54º 29.7'W, Sketch chart: Laksefjorden East Part)

This is a lovely anchorage to the N of the island that nearly fills the head of the fjord.  The approach is via a shallow channel winding across silt banks.  The sketch chart will help but it may be prudent to anchor and sound ahead with the dinghy.  The channel has a least depth of about 1m at LW springs about 2.6m at HW springs.  The anchorage is in 4 to 7m, mud, excellent holding and well protected.  The surroundings are beautiful with two good watering streams nearby.  There are char in these streams but note that a permit is required for fishing.

Nordre Sunds north and south sheets

Nordre Sunds

NP 12 5.67
72º40'N 55º00'W (2013)

Chart D 1700, D1710
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds N & S Sheets,


Nordre Sunds are a series of cross-connected sounds and fjords between Laksefjorden and Upernaviks Isfjord. They form a network of about 100 miles of protected channels with magnificent scenery, many all-weather anchorages and little ice in summer.  All the sounds are navigable with care by a yacht and most should be navigable by larger vessels.  Chart D1700, the only chart available for most of the area, lacks any soundings except in the SW entrance to Angmarqua.  The outline of the coast on D1700 appears accurate within the limitations of its scale of 1:400,000 except in the vicinity of Upernaviks Isstrøm where the ice front has retreated 3 to 5 M from its charted position.  The sketch charts should help but as always need to be used with care.


NP 12 5.67
72º35'N 55º20'W (2013)

Chart D 1700
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds N & S Sheets

Angmarqua is a narrow sound extending NNE from Laksefjorden to Upernaviks Isfjord.  Nutârmiut forms its NW side and the islands of Akuliaruseq, Nako and Sáningassoq, together with Uilortussoq peninsula form its SE side.
The 9-mile long section of Angmarqua between Kangeq (72º28'N 55º40'W) and the SW corner of Sáningassoq (72º43'N 55º04'W) is deep and the mid-channel appears free from dangers, with no depths less than 185m encountered during three transits.  Off the SW end of Sáningassoq there is a short section with an irregular bottom and least depth of 37m recorded in two transits.  Beyond this is 2-1/2 miles of deep water extending to the NW end of Sáningassoq, minimum depth in two transits 100m.  Several small islands constrict Angmarqua the NW end of Sáningassoq.  Near these islands the bottom is irregular with a least depth of 14m on a rocky shoal close S of the most S island of this group.  When proceeding N leave the first large island to port and the remainder of the group to starboard.  Between these islands and the NE end of Nutârmiut, where Angmarqua joins Upernaviks Isfjord, the bottom is irregular but without any obvious hazards to surface navigation.  The least depth encountered in two transits was 27m.
The islands off the NW corner of Sáningassoq and between Sáningassoq and Uilortussoq keep most of the drift ice in Upernaviks Isfjord from penetrating S into Nordre Sunds.  Tidal streams are stronger N of these islands than to the S. 
A bay halfway along the NE side of Nutârmiut (72º50'N 55º01'W) that looks as if it might offer shelter is too deep for a yacht to anchor conveniently.  In August 2004 it had sufficient drift ice to make the use of lines ashore difficult.

“Akuliaruseq Sound”

Chart D 1700
72º33'N 55º00'W (2004)
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds N & S Sheets


“Akuliaruseq Sound” is an informal name for the sound extending N from Laksefjorden for 5 M between Akuliaruseq and Amarortalik.  The S part of the sound is fjord-like with steep shores, mid-channel depths of over 100m and no obvious dangers.  NW of Amarortalik depths decrease and the bottom is irregular.  It is possible to cross this section without encountering anything shallower than 40m, but unless a route is sounded first a more likely minimum is 20m.  In four transits no depths of less than 16m were encountered.  A cross channel 4 miles long connects “Akuliaruseq Sound” with Angmarqua.  The cross channel is deep and appears to be free of mid-channel hazards. 

“Nako Sound”

Chart D 1700
72º38'N 54º58'W (2004, 2013)
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds N Sheet,
North Nako Anchorages

“Nako Sound” is the informal name given to the 5-mile long, northward extension of “Akuliaruseq Sound” and runs along the E side of Nako terminating in a 2-mile long inlet into the island of Nako.  There are several islands and above water rocks on the E side of “Nako Sound”.  Provided these visible hazards are given a reasonable clearance there appear to be no submerged hazards near the mid-channel course.  The least mid-channel depth encountered was 45m in the inlet forming the N part of the sound.  The S part of the sound is deeper.  There is an excellent all-weather yacht anchorage in “Winter Cove” on the W side of the inlet about 700 metres from the head of the sound (see North Nako Anchorages).

“Amarortalik Sound”

Chart D 1700
72º35'N 54º46'W (2013)
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds S Sheet,
North Nako Anchorages


“Amarortalik Sound” is the informal name for the sound extending north from Laksefjorden for 6 M between the mainland to the E and Amarortalik to the W.  Depths decrease from about 100m in the S to 10m in the narrows at the N end of the sound.  These narrows are about 100m wide but rocks extending from the W shore reduce the navigable channel to about 50m. Favour the E side of the narrows to avoid these rocks.  The least depth found in three transits was 10m.
Cross channels lead W and NW from the N end of “Amarortalik Sound” to “Nako Sound”.  Depths are in these cross channels are irregular and the navigable channels are tortuous.  However, with care, they present no undue difficulty to a yacht (see sketch charts Nordre Sunds South Sheet and North Nako Anchorages).  Tidal currents in these cross channels were strong enough to prevent them freezing over completely in the winters of 2005 and 2013.

“Sáningassoq Sound”

Chart D 1700
72º43'N 54º43'W (2004, 2013)
Sketch charts: Nordre Sunds N Sheet

“Sáningassoq Sound” is the informal name for the 4-mile long, N-trending sound, which runs between the E shore of Sáningassoq and the mainland.  No depth of less than 55m was encountered in one mid-channel passage through this sound, but the bottom is irregular and shallower water may exist close to the course followed.  E-W cross channels connect the N and S ends of “Sáningassoq Sound” to Angmarqua.  These channels are narrow and encumbered with above- and below-water rocks but, with care, are navigable by a yacht (see sketch chart Nordre Sunds North Sheet).  Tidal currents maintained pools of open water and thin ice in the S cross channel in the winters of 2005 and 2013. 

Uilortussoq to Upernaviks Isstrøm

NP12 4.89
72º45'N 54º30'W (2013)
Chart D 1700

Sketch charts: Uilortussoq

Upernaviks Isstrøm has retreated between 3 and 5miles from the position shown on D1700, greatly increasing the area of the basin between Uilortussoq, Qagserssuaq and the ice front and revealing several islands.  The ice cliffs and the jumble of icebergs in the basin near the ice front are impressive.  
In June 2005, early in the navigation season, it was possible to reach open water in the ice-front basin through the channel SE of Uilortussoq when access to the ice face via the channels north of Uilortussoq was still blocked by a large accumulation of bergs.  Later in most seasons these jams of ice clear, allowing direct access to the basin from Upernaviks Isfjord but there is likely to be much brash at any time.
The approach through the channel SE of Uilortussoq is narrow but deep, free from dangers and in June 2005 contained only a few scattered bergy bits and brash when all other channels were blocked by tightly packed bergs.
The large amount of ice makes any anchorage between Uilortussoq and Upernaviks Isstrøm insecure.  In very quiet weather it might be possible to anchor SE of the small island in position 72º46.5'N 54º22.7'W (Qornoq 1927 datum) with reasonable protection from large ice
South Nûtarmiut Anchorages

Nordre Sunds Anchorages

In settled weather the only constraint on anchoring anywhere in Nordre Sunds S of Uilortussoq is water depth as the sounds are sheltered from swell and usually ice free in summer.  Only all-weather havens with moderate water depths are described.


NP 12 5.68
72º36'N 55º30'W (2004)
Chart D 1700, D1710

Sketch chart: Nutârmiut South Anchorages

Tasiussaq, which means “like a lake”, is a large land-locked bay on the S end of Nutârmiut.  The bay is poor yacht anchorage despite the glowing testimonial in NP12 4.68.  The main bay is too deep for a yacht to anchor conveniently and large enough to make a leeward berth untenable in strong winds.  The narrow bay extending SE from the main bay where the hills are lower offers a good berth but the entrance is too shallow for a yacht of average draught to enter at less than half tide. 
Nutârmiut SE Bay or South Nako Anchorage, both within 15M, are equally well protected and have much easier access than the Tasiussaq inner pool.


The entrance to Tasiussaq main bay is narrow but straightforward.  Foul ground extends about 100m NW from a large, low, rounded rock off the S entrance point to approximately mid-channel.  Enter from the NW keeping between 60 and 80m off the N shore of the entrance (keep to the port side of the channel), least depth 10 to 13m. 


Most of the inlet is too deep for a yacht to anchor easily.  Three likely berths in the main part of the bay are shown on the sketch chart.  Iron Bark investigated them but only used them briefly.  The best berth for a yacht in the main part of the bay is the cove on the E side of the NW arm in 8 to 12m.  A shore line is necessary due to restricted swinging room.  The other two berths are on steeply shelving exposed shores and are only suitable in settled weather.

The bay off the S side of Tasiussaq provides a sheltered berth for a yacht but entry is difficult. The entrance is a narrow, shallow, rocky gut about 10m wide and 70m long with a least depth of about 1.6m at low water and 2.5m at half tide.  This is not a place to go aground as the bottom and shores of the gut are boulders and the tide sluices through it at about 3 knots.  Sounding from a dinghy is recommended before attempting the passage.  Favour the port (NE) side on entry.  Once through the narrow section the depth increases to 50m.  There are well-sheltered berths for a yacht in either the E or SE arm of the cove in 10 to 13m.  The berth in the SE arm is the better of the two.  Holding is good but a stern line ashore is necessary because of lack of swinging room.  Tidal currents are weak.  The head of the SE arm is shoal.

There is a much better anchorage on the SE coast of Nûtarmiut on the opposite side of the peninsula from Tasiussaq, approached from Angmarqua. This is about 12NM by sea from Tasiussaq but only 1NM overland.

“Nutârmiut SE Bay”

Chart D 1700
72º36'N 55º24'W (2013)
Sketch chart: Nutârmiut South Anchorages

This un-named bay is separated from Tasiussaq by a 1 mile wide isthmus but is 12M by sea.  The entrance easy and the anchorage is well-protected with good holding in convenient depths.


The entrance to the bay is nearly 1/2 M wide but islets and rocks reduce the navigable channel to approximately 50m.  Enter on the W side of the mouth of the bay leaving all the rocky islets and skerries to starboard passing mid-channel between the W headland and the most E islet.  Underwater rocks extend a few metres from the W entrance point leaving a clear channel 50m wide with a minimum depth of 25m.  Once inside the depth increases rapidly to over 150m and there appear to be no dangers apart from a line of rocks and skerries N of the island in the NE arm of the bay.


The anchorage is behind the high rocky island in the NE arm of the bay.  Approach from the W side of the island.  The E approach is foul.  Although the bottom is irregular on this route it appears to be free from dangers with a least mid-channel depth of 7m.  Anchor behind the island W of the line of rocks and skerries that extends from the island to the N shore of the cove.  There is adequate swinging room in 12 to 14m, mud and filamentous weed with scattered boulders, good holding.  Shore lines could be used.

South Nako Anchorage

Chart D 1700
72º37'N 55º04'W (2004)
Sketch chart: South Nako Anchor



There is a very good small-craft anchorage in the inlet off the large, un-named bay that indents the SW coast of Nako.  The entrance is narrow but not difficult and once inside there is total protection in pleasant surroundings.  The inlet consists of three pools connected by narrow but easily navigable channels.  The best yacht anchorage is in the innermost pool.


The approach from Angmarqua across the un-named outer bay is deep and free from dangers. There is a rocky island in the entrance to the first pool. Leave this to port on entry. The channel south of the island has a least width of approximately 80m and least depth of 10m.  Foul ground extends about 150m E from the island in the entrance, with more rocks extending 40m NE from the cliffs on the S shore.  The first pool is well protected and has a good watering stream but depths are too great for a yacht conveniently to anchor.
A channel with a least width of approximately 60m and a least mid-channel depth of 15m, leads S into the second pool.  The E part of the second pool is encumbered with underwater rocks and although there is room to anchor between them is not a good berth. 
A rocky island forms the S side of the second pool. Leave this to port and continue on to the third pool. The channel E of the island is foul.  The channel on the W side has a least width of 30m and least mid-channel depth of 8m.  There are no underwater dangers in the third (southernmost) pool other than for two rocks within 20m of the SW shore of the island well clear of the obvious berth. 


Anchor in 8 to 12m, mud and weed, good holding with protection from all directions.  Lines ashore if required.  A low gravel bank separates the anchorage from the sound between Nako and Akuliaruseq.  There are two huts on this isthmus, one of which is weatherproof and could be used as an emergency refuge.

North Nako Anchorages

North Nako Anchorages

Chart D 1700
72º40'N 54º58'W (2005)
Sketch chart: North Nako Anchorages

Two bays indent the NE coast of Nako.  The eastern bay is here informally named “East Nako Anchorage” and the western bay “Winter Cove”.  Iron Bark, an 11m cutter, wintered in the western bay in 2004-2005 and in 2012-2103.  The bays are separated by a half-mile wide isthmus and are 2 miles apart by sea.  Each bay has a well-protected anchorage but “Winter Cove” is more attractive, has a better watering stream and probably better holding. 
Nako is less mountainous than the adjacent islands and mainland and there are some pleasant walks inland to the scattered lakes and ponds.  In summer, these ponds have loons, Canada geese and ducks on them with ravens, snow buntings, redpoll and longspurs on the hills.  Bilberries and crowberries abound and there is a small dwarf willow thicket in Winter Cove. 


There are rocks and foul ground in the approaches to both bays but they are obvious and easily avoided (see sketch chart North Nako Anchorages). 


“Winter Cove” is tucked behind a low rocky spit on the W side of the bay about 700m from its N end.  Depths within the cove decrease from 15m in the E to 5m in the W.  A number of large boulders encumber the inner part of the bay but except very close in to the shore all have at least 5m over them.  The boulders are large, widely scattered and unlikely to foul an anchor.  The anchorage is in 7 to 15m, sandy mud, good holding.  Lines ashore if required

“East Nako Anchorage” is in the inner part of the E bay behind a small rocky island.  Leave this island to port when approaching the anchorage as there is a drying rock to W of it.  The anchorage is in 12 to 15m, mud, weed and rock. 

“Slag Heap Bay”

Chart D 1700
72º41.4'N 54º32.9'W (2005)
Sketch chart: Slag Heap Bay


“Slag Heap Bay” is the informal name given to a well-protected pool lying behind an island at the head of the un-named fjord running E from Sáningassoq.  The island is a flat-topped deposit of glacial till and looks like a mine slag heap.  The surrounding country is comparatively low with rolling hills and open views to the icecap seven miles away. 


There is a mid-channel rock at the N end of the fjord, which is shown on chart D1700.  This rock dries about 1.5m and is visible at most states of the tide.  The channel N of the rock is 600m wide and has a least mid-channel depth of 75m (three transits).  The channel S of the rock is narrower and has an irregular bottom with a least depth of 21m (one transit only made).  Beyond the rock the fjord is deep and apparently free from dangers until about 1/2 mile W of the island where a bar with depths of 7 to 13m crosses the fjord.
The channel leading to the anchorage is on the N side of “Slag Heap Island”.  Favour the island side of mid channel, least depth 4m at LWS.  The passage to the S of the island has a least depth of about 1.5m.
Anchor in 8 to 9m in mud, good holding, with ample room and excellent protection from all winds.

“Capelin Cove”

Chart D 1700
72º37.3'N 54º35.9'W (2005)
Sketch chart: Capelin Cove


“Capelin Cove” is the informal name given to a cove at the head of a short fjord, which extends into the mainland from the N end of Amarortalik.  The surroundings are attractive and there is an interesting walk up the large stream to a lake about half a mile inland.  In June 2005 there were many small, capelin-like fish jumping in the cove.


Straightforward with no apparent off-lying dangers


Anchor off the small stream on the SE side of the bay in 10 to 13m, good holding, partially open to the SW.  Alternatively, anchor further in with stern lines to shore, protected from all winds.

Inshore route from Upernavik to Kraulshaven

Chart D 1700, D1710

There is a useful inshore route from the Upernavik area north towards Kraulshaven mostly in protected water.

Iron Bark’s route from Upernavik was north between Karrat and Upernaviarssuk (a low islet), then between Nunuarssuaq and Avalia favouring the Avalia side, and E of Kingigtorssuaq and across Upernaviks Isfjord leaving Qaneq to starboard. There was much ice in Upernaviks Isfjord but not enough to stop a yacht. There are two coves at the head of the bay indenting the SW side of Qaneq that could be used by a yacht with an anchor in 9m and lines ashore. Both coves are open to the NW and possible drift ice.

From Qaneq, Iron Bark continued NW, leaving the bleak little settlement on Tusâq to port and Itivdlilik to starboard then between Sâtup akia and Qaersorssuatsiaq. There are several beacons on islands on the port side of the channel. The bay on the E side of Qaerorssuatsiaq has a well-protected inner bay entered through a 20m wide channel. The channel is encumbered with large boulders and although a yacht of average draft can get in near high tide, this requires manoeuvring around individual rocks for about 50m. Iron Bark, with a draft of 1.5m, got in without touching but coming out into the sun hit several. Inside are depths of 12 to 20m. There is an anchorage on the NW side of the bay, of easy access but open to the S and SE.

Iron Bark continued north, passing between Kangârssuk and Igdlunguit and between Tasiussaq and Pâgússat. NP12  5.98 describes a boat harbour and an anchorage giving shelter from SW gales near Tasiussaq settlement but Iron Bark did not investigate them. After passing between Augpilagtoq and Uigordle, Iron Bark passed E of Qavdlunat and across Gieseckes Isfjord rather than threading her way through the foul ground between Nutârmiut and Qavdlunat. There was a large accumulation of ice in the inner part of Gieseckes Isfjord but the passage from the NE corner of Qavdlunat to between Mernoq and Tugtorqortôq and then between Qutdilorssuit and Agpârssuit was straightforward. I turned back off Qutdliksorssuit, because of lack of sleep (I was single-handed) and worsening weather, but there appeared to be no problems continuing north to Kraulshaven.

NW approaches to Upernaviks Isfjord

Chart D 1700

The approach to Upernaviks Isfjord has no soundings on chart 1700 but appears to be clean as is the fjord itself (two transits from or to a position midway between Kingigtortagdlit and Kitsigsut, 73°04’N, 056°53’W, as well as several crossings of inner Upernaviks Isfjord).