What is different in South and East Greenland

The main differences for European and American paddlers will be the cold water, ice, remoteness and the need for self reliance.

In the South
You will be paddling in an arm of the Gulf Stream and the water temperature will be about 5-7°C.

Many areas however have local ice, drifting pack ice or icebergs drifting in from the East Coast or a local calving fjord (look for fjord names like Sermilik – ice fjord) which has a local cooling effect, both on the water surface and air.

Although it is possible to get to remote areas, you will never be more than a few days away from assistance if you paddle for help, and always within range of boats and helicopters.

View South Greenland in a larger map

On the East Coast
Here you will always be paddling in a cold current (0-3°C) and there is always ice about, the amount depending on region and time of year.

The air temperature is cooler, though exceptionally good weather is quite the norm during mid summer. The East Coast fjords are generally not as long as on the South Coast – or if they are, they will usually have glaciers at the back so it does not get much warmer in there as in the south (where there is also Gulf stream).

On the East Coast you can easily be cut of from help and there are far fewer resources available to assist, so a satelite phone is a must, as is organising your trip through a local outfitter or boat owner. A few operators and boat owners are listed under "Travel - East."

All in all
The South is milder, greener, has more population and is easier for the first visit. The East has very few villages and resources, it’s much colder and more barren – expect to be fully self reliant unless you mean to paddle between the villages. Exemptions are Ammassalik and Sermiligaq fjords, right near Kulusuk airport.

View East Greenland in a larger map

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