Greenland Days 1-3

Musk Ox have been spotted on shore at our first stop in Greenland. A zodiac landing is planned for tomorrow at Wordie Bugt and Claveringoya  to see if we can get closer with our cameras in the morning.

Another Arctic sunrise  greeted us on our first day in Greenland.

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The mornings landing went well. A large musk ox male let us get within about 500 yds of him. Our zooms could just pick him out at that distance. Although this is a national park, he was wary of us and 500 yds was his limit.

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The scenery was stunning – a moonscape dotted with small arctic plants gone to seed and colouring before the onset of winter, mountains and fjord in the distance .

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The glacier that had once been here left traces of every imaginable variety of rock. the afternoon turned into a zodiac cruise. Some interesting light.

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Day 2

A nights travel brought us to the end of King Oscar fjord to Blumsterbutka. Despite grey skies the trip down the fjord in the early monochromatic light conditions was amazing past floating icebergs of all sizes tinged with pink from the morning light. A group of us are waiting to be transported onshore for a hike to a glacial lake back from the fjords end.

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The lake was spectacular with pink tinged water and jaw dropping geology.

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Arctic plants are in their fall colours of red and yellow. The forests here are tiny. Poplars and willows predominate at heights up to 4 inches. The saying is if you get lost in a forest on Greenland all you have to do is stand up….

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Very few birds about, the smell of oncoming winter is in the air. Following the 3 hour hike to the lake we visited the small cabin on the fjord which is a stopping point for the Sirius patrol – a group of men and seven dog teams who patrol East Greenland National Park

 

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The ship left anchor just before dinner and we headed for the open ocean to continue our journey south along the coast of Greenland. The predicted 40-50 knot northerly winds and accompanying swells hit us abeam as the ship exited King Oscar Fjord around 11:30 pm. We had been warned to secure all electronics and breakables in our cabin before turning in. Our lack of attention to securing paper products resulting in us waking in a veritable blizzard of books, papers, pens and miscellaneous pieces of clothing as the ship took the first heavy swells broadside. we had a fitful night after that. The swells have calmed considerably this morning – the wind is fresh from the southwest now. Our entrance to Scoresby sound was incredible, clouds and rain scudding in front of the winds, it may turn into a fair day if the wind keeps up.

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Scoresby sound is the largest and deepest fjord system in the world, covering more than 14,500 square miles, with fjords extending 100’s of km into Greenland. We are headed deep into the fjord, hugging the southern coastline and hope to attempt a landing at VikingbutKa. The time before the landing was filled with an hour of the history of the area from paleo-peoples to the 1400’s when the Vikings disappeared from Greenland. The Polar historian on this cruise is very knowledgeable and her presentations are extremely well done. A talk on botany followed her lecture and then we were in the iceberg field.

The landing went off smoothly and a steep scramble up snow covered rocks gave us some outstanding views of the Fjord. Some of us have named this Sound Iceberg alley – they are everywhere, calved off the numerous glaciers that feed into the sound. Fresh snow had fallen the night before and tracks of arctic fox as well as geese meandered across the slope. Arctic sorrel and some arctic poplar were the only plants still in evidence – they had taken on their fall hues and were a nice contrast adjacent the partially snow covered rocks. We even found a midge (small chironomid fly) – it didn’t look very happy – who could blame it.

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The recap of the day included an excellent short talk on night sky photography, as well as a recap on the botany and some of the geology we have seen. Once all were aboard the captain weighed anchor. Following a 4 hour navigation through narrow ice berg filled waters towards yet another glorious Arctic sunset,  we are now in the deepest reaches of the Scoresby sound fjord complex at Rode Island where Rodefjord and Fonifjord meet.

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Not many people get this far in. Red sandstone is the predominant rock of Rode Island, which makes a spectacular contrast with the glaciers, icebergs floating by and the dark rocks in the mountains surrounding us. We hope to make a landing here.

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