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Scouting on the east coast of Greenland

Innovative cooperation for an immersive experience

The first step in exploring the farthest reaches of Greenland is to imagine together with the Inuit communities the immersive experiences that could be offered. José Sarica, Director of the Expedition Experience in the R&D department, looks back on this first scouting trip to the east coast of Greenland and on the societal and environmental challenges of this cooperation.

How do you approach the development of a journey to a region as remote as north-east Greenland?

In these far-off regions, it is even more important than anywhere else to take a thoughtful, humble approach. The recce was essential to create that bond of trust with elected officials and local communities who represent only 3,000 inhabitants, to explain our approach and reassure them that our way of navigation will preserve the land-fast ice shelf and involve them in the activities offered to the passenger.
We are co-building a whole new experiences that has to meet the needs of local communities and those of the company.

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As a result of this mission, what experiences are being considered?

We would like to offer to live in immersion among the Inuit communities during visits that would last more than 24 hours to have time to appreciate the experience. We are going to recruit local guides and set up activities with them. We’ve identified dog sledding routes, locations for kayaking, ice fishing, hikes supervised by local guides, and nights off the ship. We are also going to draft a good practices guide for the operational teams

What is the impact on local communities?

By setting up this immersive experiences with the communities alongside, we are contributing to the region’s economy and can make ourselves useful. Thanks to these scouting, we are looking at a potential partnership with the Royal Arctic supply ship. With Le Commandant Charcot this community could get supplies of essential goods earlier than normal. That’s the beauty of doing a recce. By gaining their trust, the end result was beyond our expectations.

The pack ice, a vital habitat for the inhabitants of the East Greenland coast

The east coast of Greenland is an area particularly enclosed by pack ice in winter and spring. These land-fast ice shelves, ecosystems are of paramount importance for polar biodiversity and the Inuit communities. From an environmental point of view, they are where vulnerable species give birth and feed. The Greenlandic pack ice also allows for social links between communities. Because it serves as a route from one village to another, and one village to their hunting grounds.

Crédits photos : © J. Fabro ; © Studio PONANT / M. Monneret

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