Sisimiut: She Had My Number

Greenland’s Second City

The population of the entire island, the biggest in the world, is just 55,000 and the majority of that is on the west/southwest side.

Nuuk, the capital, has a population of 17,000 and Sisimiut, where we flew the other day, has about 5,500.

The name means “place of the fox burrows” and has been inhabited for 4,500 years by Inuits and Danes from Europe.

We flew over from Kangerlussuaq in the venerable Dash-8 in a quick fifty-minute flight.

The final approach is down the valley where the the city is located to a right turn onto the runway where we were met by a ground crew wearing mosquito netting.


It’s fair to say the mosquitos were swarming at the airport and in different places around Sisimiut though they never seemed to bite.

The repellent for sale didn’t.

We stayed at the Hotel Sisimiut where, on check in, the front desk manager eyed me head-to-toe, handed me the registration paperwork and said, “Listen very carefully because I am only saying this once.”

Had she been warned I was en route, the guy talking when I should be listening?

Sisimiut is not a tourist town, at least not much, which was cool.

They have a vibrant fishing/shrimping industry with a factory where the catch is processed and then shipped.


The way in and out is by boat or air or a long trek over boggy trails.

Some distance above the arctic circle the city has a nice outdoor pool heated to about 88F; the outside air temperature was in the 60’s with brilliant all-day sunshine.

(The sun sets at about 2330 and rises at 0400 though it is never actually dark.)

There is some very nice hiking in the mountains around the city, Nasaasaaq rises about 2,700 feet and is a three-hour climb on a sketchy trail above the tree line as there are no trees, period.


The city from the peak

The city has a hospital capable of basic surgery such as c-sections, a police force and fire department and the water is drawn from two fresh lakes while the power is from a relatively new hydro plant.

We went out one evening at nearly 2200 in a boat and followed four whales around the fjord as they did shallow dives and then blew their airy mist high up signaling their whereabouts.

Even when they were too far away to spot you could hear the sound of their exhalations over the calm water in the evening stillness as the sun hung just above the horizon, a sight (and sound) to behold.







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