Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen

Arctic Sailors

Dorthe & Jens have circumnavigated the world via North West Passage on their beautiful expedition yacht Kigdlua. They salvaged her for one dollar, refitted in Greenland, and sailed to every corner of their beloved country, and far beyond.


Interview with Dorthe & Jens

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Always been sailing. Dorthe for generations. Her great-great-grandfather was Angartaaq, the whale hunter. But everyone sails in Greenland. No roads between towns and during winter the only road is ice. Everybody fish and hunt.

<< It’s our acre here, our garden. At first we did with a dinghy, then with a "tukutuaraq" the onomatopoetikon for a small one-cylindered diesel motorboat, the sound! >>

Photo courtesy of Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen

From 1987, Jens and Dorthe shifted to the former hospital’s traveling boat, “C.N.Rudolph” built 1948 - renamed “Sila”. With that yacht they ran the company “Sila Charter” for 20 years, doing construction and boat-repair beside the charters.

<< The meaning of “Sila” covers all, from “outdoors” over “the weather” and “The Almighty” to what hopefully is inside your brain. >>

S/Y Sila. Photo courtesy of Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen

Together with the Danish Environmental Research as the first ever they attached satellite transmitters onto narwhals in 1993. That was in the northernmost Melville Bay corner, above 76 degrees North. Carrying on, year after year, they implanted satellite transmitters in king- and common eiders – finally admitted by the hunters as causing no harm to the birds.
Returning yearly counting various bird-species and their breeding grounds – all to monitor stock and behavior, in an environment not only threatened by possible offshore drilling, mining, pollution and climate changes but also by risk of unsustainable hunting and fishery.

“Kigdlua” Photo courtesy of Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen


Dorthe onboard S/Y Kigdlua. Photo courtesy of Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen

As time passed, all summers were filled up with scientists, historians, hospital personnel, specialists, optometrists, photographers, doing work for the Court of Justice – between towns and hamlets all along the Greenland West coast from Siorapaluk down to Cape Farewell, ending usually at Christmas dismounting the pontons in the hamlets when ice froze the harbors.

With “Sila” Jens and Dorthe went abroad twice with their children, showing the Greenlandic flag as far as Africa and South America. With their present boat “Kigdlua” – which they bought for a dollar and salvaged – Jens and Dorthe left by way of the North West Passage, and went all the way around the world.

"We’ve seen the world. We’ve met its beauty and wonderful people who are so much alike. We will never live in any place but Greenland."



Dorthe & Jens Kjeldsen

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