The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Why Go North? For The Scenery


When John wrote the first chapter in this book back in 2007, we were planning a trip to Greenland for 2009. Well, for various reasons—including boat refit leftovers, a repower, and moving to Canada—we never made it to Greenland in 2009 and we never continued with the series.

But here we are again—7th time for John, 4th for me—planning a trip to Greenland for the summer of 2011. And in between all the myriad details of planning such an expedition, our thoughts are turning north and to the reasons we keep going back.

Sometimes Good Things Come In Big Packages

If you’ve ever asked us what Greenland is like, I’m sure we replied “big”: big mountains, big bergs, big glaciers, big sky. And the combination of northern light—which John wrote about in the first chapter in this book—with that big scenery, is indescribably beautiful. Though it can be intimidating when viewed from the deck of a small sailboat, which feels smaller and smaller as the scenery gets bigger and bigger!

The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Greenland for high latitude scenery: Visit Newfoundland, Labrador, or Norway and chances are you’ll get bitten by the high latitude bug!

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Tom T.

Have you been, or desire to go, to the other islands? Baffin, Bylot, Devon, Ellesmere…? Sam Ford Fjord on Baffin looks like a stunning place.

John Harries

Hi Tom T,

I took Morgan’s Cloud to Baffin Island in 1995, on the way back from Greenland. It’s an equally interesting place although very different. The conditions are also substantially more taxing for a visiting boat than those on the west coast of Greenland: less charting, more ice, generally more violent weather and huge tides.


Hi Phyllis, Your article and photo certainly makes me want to chuck in my job, load up with food and head up that way for a look (athough it is a long way from Australia).

It looks alot like Antarctica or the Beagle channel, two places I really love. I also think the stillness and the solitude are part of the appeal of these places for me.

Oh well, one day soon with abit of hard work….