Waited eight years for his dream vacation

American Richard Burns waited eight years to go sailing in Scoresby Sound in East Greenland, but the trip was worth it.
Photo/Richard Burns

American orthodontist Richard Burns and his wife Cindy waited eight years before they could cruise with North Sailing to Scoresby Sund in East Greenland. They took the trip in August with a group of ten, and Burns describes the trip as absolutely out of this world.

“This trip to Greenland and being on the boat combines everything I love about travel. Beautiful scenery in faraway places, a different way of traveling with an amazing crew and guides, and the ability to share this experience with a group of people as excited as you are to discover foreign places. It was an exceptional experience for the daring traveler,” says Burns.


Visited Iceland in 2014


Burns came to Iceland eight years ago and then he and his wife went hiking in the highlands, a trip he says was also an eye opener. Their guide in Iceland told them about North Sailing on these Greenland trips to Scoresby Sund and Burns started learning about the area and realized that sailing in Scoresby Sund would be the perfect trip for them.

He booked a trip for a group of 12 and the plan was to leave in 2019 at the end of the summer and the group was already in Iceland when the trip had to be canceled due to unforeseen reasons.

North Sailing trips to Greenland have been very popular for about ten years. Now they sail every year in July, August and September. Three sailboats are used for trips to Scoresby Sund, Ópal, Hildur and Donna Wood.

“We returned home and booked a trip the following year, but it was canceled due to the Covid pandemic. Then we managed to move the trip to August 2022, so it took us roughly eight years to get to Greenland. I was afraid we wouldn’t get there until I set foot in the Ópal sailboat,” he says.

Celestial experience

Sailing in Scoresby Sound lasts seven days and the schooner cruises all the fjords of the Sound. “We traveled back in time to the Age of Discovery, when schooners like Ópal sailed the ocean and discovered new lands unknown. We sailed on Ópal through incredible fjords filled with icebergs from all shapes and sizes. It was a heavenly experience,” says Burns.

He really enjoyed living aboard the schooner and compares it to living in a really cool clubhouse with your friends. “Ópal is not a big ship, so you quickly realize that the cabins are small, but you adapt to it and settle in quickly. The dining room, or the main common area of ​​the schooner is a very comfortable space and we had fresh bread and good meals every day. Once we grilled on shore and we grilled several times on deck.”

There is a hot tub on the schooner and Burns says the group bathed in the hot tub every night. He says the tub was great and a lot of great memories of the trip were made in the tub. “One night as we dropped anchor the crew played guitar and sang in the common area. Me, Norm and Wes were sitting in the hot tub, listening to music and taking in the breathtaking scenery,” says Burns.

I took a drone to take pictures

In total, there were four people on the crew and Burns is grateful for their good work. “A small crew like that has to do a lot of things. They navigated the ship, prepared meals, cleaned up, guided us on walks ashore and on small boats, and especially them because our good friends. That’s a big part of what made this trip such a success.

It’s obvious from his stunning travel photos that he used a drone. “I read that guests could take a drone with them, and I had already practiced using a drone in Greenland for three years. I had to land the drone on the spa cover every day, and it was a stressful process every day. I almost crashed it at least three times. But my best photos of the trip were taken with the drone. Heimir (Harðarson, the captain of Ópal) slowed down the pace of the schooner as I was about to land the drone and cheered me on,” says Burns.


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