Monday, 15 September 2014

08.09.14 Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) DAY 5

Finally we came to Greenland, and the crossing could not be smoother, and we were met by icebergs, sun and the biggest fjord in the world. 
In north east Greenland there is no harbors, which means we have to do “wet landings.” 
Scoresbysund is also a settlement, the second biggest in east Greenland and the Greenlandic name is Ittoqqortoormit. 

This is the village where Martin on the expedition team lived for 9 years, working as a professional hunter. 

Now there is about 450 people living there. They were expecting us and had prepared an “open town” for us. We could visit the church, museum, local grocery store, buy souvenirs and meet some of the local dogs. 
It was very interesting to 

see how people live this far north, isolated from the rest of the world. 

The sun was shining from a blue sky, almost no wind, but nothing to ruin our day! A Great first day in Greenland!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

07.09 Ísafjörður DAY 4

After spending the night in the harbor of Ísafjörður, with the first northern lights of the season we had a day packed with activities. 
Today we could choose between horseback riding, hiking to the famous troll’s throne and a guided bus trip to a nearby fishing village.
I was on the excursion to Suðureyri (fishing village.) They claim to be the most sustainable fishery in Iceland and also have a lot of interesting history. The trip is called savour the flavour, so it involved tasting of different fish dishes. The most interesting was maybe the “hard-fish,” dried in the wind for 6 weeks and nothing else. You need a hammer to soften in up to make it eatable and also surprisingly tasty, and believed to be the reason for the high life expectancy in the area of 95-107 years.  

We left Iceland at 16.00. and started a 24 hour crossing over the notorious Denmark-strait to Greenland and Scoresbysund. The rest of the day was spent on the ship, with lectures and the spectacular fashion show performed by the expedition team. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Flateyri 06.09 DAY 3

For the first time in a while we actually had some sun! We started our day in the small town Flateyri, close to Ísafjörður. It was windy… But for some reason it was only really windy at the pier next to Fram. About an hour after we arrived we got to see the sun. This meant no rain and no fog! So you could also see the mountains. Amazing scenery.


We started an excursion going to see the fjords and flowers. A bus ride with several small stops around the area. The guests got to see the Botanical Garden and really enjoyed themselves Other than that, we also had a hike where guests did not have to sign up. This was also a success. Walking around in the beautiful nature… I mean, how bad can that be? And then in sunshine as well!
We left Flateyri in the afternoon and went on to a small Island called Vigur. Here we were going to look for Eider Ducks… But instead we got to see whales! The entire front of the ship was filled with blue jackets, cameras all pointed the same way and we just enjoyed it while the whales were playing around in front of Fram.

In the evening we arrived in Ísafjörður and some guests went out exploring the city by night. Because now it actually gets dark again, this is nice… Fram doesn’t get to see a lot of darkness during this season, because of the midnight sun.   

Grundarfjordur 05.09 DAY 2

Today we started the day in Grundarfjordur, a really nice small town. Most passengers went out on different excursions, one of them started early; at 8:30 we took off to Snæfellsnes.
Great scenery, beautiful nature and a lot of smaller stops during the 5 hour long trip. The weather was okay up until the afternoon, rain started pouring from the sky and the wind was a little harsh. We all wished for sun at that moment.

The other excursion to the Shark farm went smoothly as well and again passengers enjoyed their time.

In the afternoon we also had a hike, but because of the wind and the rain it was a bit harder than expected. Especially up hill. But everyone on it survived and came back on the ship in time. Then we went on our way again, now we are heading to Isafjordur, so goodnight for now, see you again tomorrow!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Reykjavik 04.09 DAY 15 & DAY 1

We had a very quiet night, let’s just say that everyone could feel they were going home early the next morning… The bar was empty, no one in the gym, no people sitting in reception, none in the Jacuzzi… It almost felt like our dear passengers had already left!

At breakfast the passengers started their goodbyes to the crew and us in the expedition team, we then had to tell them that we would be waving them goodbye outside ten minutes later. A smile then appeared on their faces. This was nice to see.
Outside we went, we shook hands and when the busses took off, we stood there waving… Goodbye is always a little sad, but we had new passengers coming on board that afternoon and we had to prepare everything for them. Around 15.30 passengers started arriving; we handed out their blue jackets. (Fram passengers always wear these by the way) 

Dinner was served in the evening and we also had the mandatory safety drill.
In the late evening the captain welcomed the new passengers in the Panorama lounge, a speech, a toast, presentations of all officers, other staff, expedition team and the hotel manager gave out important information. During the night we experienced northern lights for the first time this trip.
Only a few passengers were awake to see it, though it was not strong and did not fill the entire sky, we saw it! It was there and it was green! So now we say goodnight and see you again tomorrow!

Day 14, 03.09, Grundarfjörður

Today we were in Grundarfjörður, a very beautiful small Icelandic town. We also had some very nice weather here… For the first time since we came to Iceland actually. Most passengers went out on excursions today, only a few stayed on board, so the ship was quiet. We had an excursion in the morning, watching and walking in the beautiful Icelandic nature with waterfalls, animal life and so on. In the afternoon we had some passengers going to a shark farm. This was also a very interesting excursion with some very…. Let’s say interesting food tasting…
We also had a very good lecture by Steffen. He told us about the “Volcanoes of the World.” This was very appropriate since Iceland is having some problems with the volcano Bardarbunga. On Fram we have also feared this thing a bit… What would happen if it would melt the glacier on top of it and create a huge ash cloud like in 2011? This would mean no passengers – no changing in staff – no work?? We are crossing our fingers that it will not affect us!

We had an auction in the late afternoon, when all passengers were onboard again. This went extremely well. Two items were up for auction and believe it or not… One passenger bought both items! The money will go to an association helping Greenlandic children, so we are very pleased with this. After the first dinner seating we had our Captains Farewell in the panorama lounge. A speech, a toast and a song. Now we are preparing for the big goodbye in the morning in Reykjavik. So goodnight to our blog followers out there!   

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Day 13, 02.09, Flateyri

Fram arrived Flateyri as most of us ate breakfast. The village is situated in Iceland’s Westfjords. With a population of approximately 237, it is the largest settlement in Önundarfjördur. The town has been trading post since 1792, and temporarily became a major whaling center in the 19th century. In 1995 an avalanche hit the village, destroying 29 homes and killing 20 people. Since then a deflecting dam has been built to protect the village from any further avalanches. In the 1990s, Flateyri prospered as a fishing village and after recession hit its main fishing companies shut down and many people left.
Some left for an excursion, Fjords and Flowers, already in the morning, while the rest of the guests used there day on hiking or enjoying the town. As the weather got better more and more people strolled around town to go to the coffee shop, Non Sense museum, an peculiar old bookshop/museum, an small expedition about the town and finally an outlook point on the deflecting dam.
Steffen and Tessa also offered great lectures about Volcanos (German) and Expeditions (English).

We finished of the night with a bar quiz up at deck 7, with Steffen playing the piano. It was an even thigh between the teams, but we finally managed to find the evenings winner =) 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day 12, 01.09, Ísafjörður

After a rough night with a lot of waves we woke up to calmer seas and land it sight. We had reached the north west coast of Island. As we had not yet reached our final destination of the day, we started the day with a nice breakfast and four lectures.
At 12 o’clock we reached the port of Ísafjörður (ice fjord in Iceland), the largest town in the peninsula of Vestfirðir with its 4000 inhabitants. We had almost twelve hours to be able to see the town, buy souvenirs, go to the museum, go hiking, taste the flavors of Island and to ride on the famous Islandic horses. It was a great first day on Island.

Today the crew had made Philipin food for us and they finished of the night with a spectacular show at the bar. The show made us sing, dance (even if it was only in the chair) and laugh a lot. Thank you for that =) As the show  finished, so did our stay in Ísafjörður. As we all went to bed the ship sailed of to our next destination: Flateyri.

Day 11, 31.08, Scoresbysund and heading for Iceland

Early this morning we suddenly got a new signal on our cell phones. It said Tele Greenland. This could only mean one thing… We were very close to the only town in Greenland we were going to visit. Scoresbysund (Ittoqqortoormiit). This is considered one of the most isolated places in Greenland, with 450 people living there. This small town is for many not even considered a town, more like a tribe of people. But in Greenland it is real, it is not a tribe. We got a program and map delivered by the landing site and after that we went out to explore – even though it was a bit windy and rainy, it did not stop anyone. It was nice to see people again, visit the stores, being able to buy souvenirs for once, seeing the East Greenlandic nationalsuit, the church… Well. It was a good landing.

At noon we departed Ittoqqortoormiit heading for Iceland and the afternoon was spent on lectures in both English and German. This was nice, the Denmark Strait was still pretty calm. But around dinner time the storm hit us. Between 20-30 m/s and waves between 4-6 meters high. A quiz was arranged in the panorama lounge, but this we had to cancel due to lack of guests (And staff for that matter). Seasickness took over most of the ship late evening and it was extremely quiet in the hallways.         

Day 10, 30.08, Alpefjord and Mestersvig

Waking up this moring we found our selves surrounded by high mountains, but due to references no one could imagine that these were more than 2000 meters high, some even close to 3000 meters. This is of course Alpefjord in Staunings Alper. The area is a mecca to climbers, there is also several unclimbed peaks for those interested in trying to conquer the wonders of geology. The aim for this morning was to get everyone into the tender-boats for a 30 min cruising along the glacier in the bottom of the fjord. It is actually two glaciers, the Gully gletcher and Sefstrøms gletcher draing parts og the Staunings alps. It was very impressive to sit in the small boats listening to the sparkeling glacier ice and have a look MV Fram in this enormous fjord.
During lunch we cruised out of the fjord only to be met with the impressive geology in Segelselskapets fjord, consisting of more than 500 my old colourfull marine sediments.
In the afternoon we dropped anchor at Mestersvig, Nyhavn. This is and old mining town from the 1950s’ and 60’, where one of our guides used to live as a small kid with the world largest nationalpark as his playground. Today Nyhavn is used by the yearly supply-ship to the Royal Danish Naval Guard and the Mestersvig airfield built in 1952. The station is manned by two men all year round, normally “retired” men from the Sirius patrol or Station Nord. Visits are rare, as we are the second and largest cruise-ship of the season.
Today we offered a kayak tour and a hiking trip to the airfield and the surrounding mountains and some good old stories from our “home-sick” guide ;0)

This is also our last stop as we leave the Nationalpark of NE-Greenland heading for the civilization in Scoresbysund…

Monday, 1 September 2014

Day 9, 29.08, Blomsterbukta and Ella Ø

The sun was shining and we were all getting ready for a busy day, with two landing in front of us. We started out with Blomsterbukta (meaning Flower Bay), were activities like hiking, kayaking and wandering around enjoying the nature were on the list. As we got ashore we could all understand why the bay was called Blomsterbukta, as the area was full of flowers all though we were by the end of August. The flowers and their surroundings together with the iceberg just by the landing beach made the view breathtaking. Also the fauna showed itself from it best side as very many of us got one or many glimpse of the musk ox. The hikers got beautiful hike up to a lake colored red by the sediments and across several small mountains, while the guides enthusiastically told everything there was to tell about the surroundings.
The kayakers got an amazing trip with quite water and a very close encounter too five musk ox, which showed of their climbing skills. The guides also demonstrated how a rescue would be done on the open sea in case someone falls out. 
We went back to Fram and continued on our journey. Our next stop was Ella Ø, a beautiful area with around dozen of houses. Ella Ø is a large island at the mouth of Kempe Fjord in the inner Kong Oscar's Fjord. It was named by Nathorst during his 1899 expedition as Ella Ø, after his wife. The station was continuously manned 1931-1943 and 1947-1952. It was also used by Lauge Kock's expedition as a summer station in 1958. These days Sirius patrol is using it as their base during the summer months. From here they use the summer to supply all the smaller huts around the area. The five Sirius patrol members and two of their dogs were supposed to have left the area for the season, but luckily they were still here. The guest therefor got a chance to meet the real Sirius patrol and see how they lived during the summer. The guests also walked around in the area enjoying the surroundings with its flora and fauna.

The rest of the evening we enjoyed on board. And as most of the guest enjoyed their evenings in their normal procedure, some of the guests were getting ready for Arctic night, meaning sleeping under open sky on Fram’s deck.

Day 8, 28.08, Myggbukta

Myggbukta, also known as Mosquito Bay. This was a former Norwegian radio and meteorology station established in 1922. On the 14th of October the first weather report marking the first wireless connection between Greenland and the rest of the world went out. In 1931 five Norwegian trappers hoisted the Norwegian flag and claimed the area. The flag was lowered again in 1959 and the station shut down eventually. Today it still gets visits from different cruises, scientists and so on.
This morning we had quite a lot of wind at the landing site. Around 15 meters per second. This was the reason our kayaking at the site was cancelled, but the hikers went out for a couple of hours and got to see a lot of both dead and living musk oxes, snow hares, geese and so much more. The hut placed in Myggbukta was actually in a very nice shape. It was bigger than other huts we have visited, it had loads of food and everything was ready for the next visitors by the time we left. Because it is very important to clean the huts before we leave.

We spent the rest of the day sailing in fjords. We went into Kajser Franz Josef fjord, with the amazing moutains all around the ship. Greenland is a huge country and you very easily feel small. We definitely felt small today while sailing here. We also went into the Nordfjord and here we are going to stay all night, because of the glacier that is lying right next to us. This is a very beautiful place. So goodnight from us here at Fram. See you in the morning!