As we get closer to the holiday season let’s look north. No, we’re not going in search of Santa, we are exploring the stunning landscapes of the land of the midnight sun as we welcome the Complete Expeditions (ComEx) team as a full member of the AYSS family this month.
Specialising in expedition leadership, ice pilotage, and of course port agency services for yachts, ComEx, led by the father and son duo of Pete and Matt Jess, has over 40 years of experience operating in the Arctic. They have been assisting visiting yachts with their agency and logistical needs for over seven years while they cruise in this magnificent part of the world.
Considered the world’s last yachting frontier, Greenland and the Northwest Passage, which has been inaccessible for centuries, is now a yacht cruising destination due to the ever-changing ice conditions. If you’re thinking about cruising this part of the world, this will be a conversation you’ll want to have now over the holidays, as the area requires careful preparation and coordination with the team at ComEx.
The cruising season in Greenland lasts from around mid-June to mid-September, and a two-week cruise along the Greenland coast is an experience not to be forgotten. The cruising season along the Northwest Passage is just six weeks long, lasting from early August to early September (ice conditions permitting); consider a four-week adventure through the Northwest Passage and join the select group of vessels which have managed such a feat.
Two Weeks in Greenland
In Greenland, the world’s largest island, you can immerse yourself in 4,000 years of Inuit history and 500 years of Viking history. Its population of just over 50,000 people speaks Greenlandic and Danish, and you’ll be welcomed by locals enthusiastic to introduce you to their traditional cuisine and way of life in their colourful coastal villages. There are only 16 ports on the entire island, and travel is only feasible by aircraft or boat (in the summer). Starting in the south, you’ll find an abundance of sheep farms and Viking ruins; the rich green colour of its landscape is what led early explorers unsurprisingly to call this area the “green land”. The capital, Nuuk, is a modern cosmopolitan city which is great for fine dining and shopping before continuing due north towards Disko Bay which is the most northern migration ground for the humpback whale. Here, guests will marvel at the 300-foot tall glaciers and towering icebergs before going for a summer dog sled ride.
Four Weeks through the Northwest Passage
Transiting between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is a route that sailors have sought for centuries. The Northwest Passage will take you through parts of the Canadian territories of Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and the state of Alaska. Here, the effects of climate change can be observed in dramatic fashion, and those courageous enough to take on this magnificent challenge will be rewarded tenfold with a glimpse into one of the last, untouched places on the planet.
Having a ComEx expert ice pilot on board will be critical since there are no guarantees of passage due to unpredictable ice conditions. A ComEx guide is also essential onboard to access certain points of interest as well as for coordinating bunker and provisions in this remote region. Observe Inuit traditions that have allowed them to thrive for thousands of years in this harsh environment and the beauty of the vast wilderness filled with polar bears, walruses, and beluga whales. This is a journey that you will be talking about for a lifetime.
Over the past seven years, Pete Jess and his son, Matt, have led exclusively tailored Northwest Passage voyages. Pete, with more than 45 years experience, has worked in the Arctic as a helicopter pilot and operations manager, and he owned & operated the world’s most northern eco-tourist lodge where his son Matt grew up. Matt himself has over 20 years of experience and is a licensed guide and outfitter in all three Canadian territories.
This duo has explored the most remote Arctic islands and has forged strong relationships with local communities to ensure that your cruise is an exceptional one-of-a-kind experience you will never forget.
Welcome Pete and Matt Jess and the entire team at ComEx to the AYSS family!