Friday, 21 August 2009

Qaanaaq / Thule

At 09:45 some of the expedition team took a Polar Cirkle boat to shore only to find that the tide was extremely low. So low in fact that we had to wait another hour for the tide to come in before we would have enough water to get our boats to the small dock. The bay in front of Thule was completely dry. All the fishing boats were sitting in the tidal flats high and dry. The floating dock was not floating. It too was stranded far from any water.
At 11:00 there was plenty of water and the first people on shore were the hardy hikers. Off they went with a packed lunch. Their walk led them through town and then up to the mountain above Thule where they had incredible views of the town, the ship and the many icebergs surrounding the Fram.
All day long we were surrounded by many happy friendly children all looking to help us with our boat operations.
While we were visiting Thule many local fishing/hunting boats returned. Many of them were successful. We watched several boats unload seal meat and a couple of boats had plenty of Narwhal meat to unload. The buckets in the last photograph are full of Harp Seal meat.

Our crew had been looking forward to visiting Thule again. Thule had been looking forward to our crew returning after a year's absence. Why? Because Team Fram's basketball team beat Thule's basketball team the last time they met. This was an opportunity for a good-natured rematch. The result? Thule won by four points in a very sporting game.
By 16:00 the last Polar Cirkle boat left shore. All too soon the Thule choir had sung its reportoire in the Observation lounge. We waved goodbye to Thule, each of us content with a very full day.