Sunday, 9 August 2009

Uummannaq and Illorsuit

The weather continues to be tailor made for adventures in Greenland. It was another cool sunny day. Absolutely perfect for our hike that started at Santa's summer home and ended in Uummannaq. We posed for a group picture at Santa's small green turf hut and then headed across the barren landscape that surrounds Uummannaq. A long line of blue jackets stretched across the rocky landscape as we followed the pink dots that marked the trail to town.
On the edge of town we were greeted by Greenland dogs. On some of the houses there were Harp Seal skins hanging on racks for stretching and drying. On other houses there were muskox skulls and caribou antlers. Greenland style dog sleds parked in the front yard for the summer were a common sight.
After the hike we had time to return to the ship for a scrumptious buffet lunch and explore Uummannaq on our own.
At 14:30 we lifted anchor and headed to our next stop for the day: Illorsuit. Illorsuit is the smallest community we visit and today was the only time the Fram stopped there. It was a special occasion. Today was their 150th anniversary. We invited the people from Illorsuit to the ship where they entertained us with singing and dancing. They also put on a small Greenlandic Fashion show modelling traditional clothes for us. The intricate workmanship in the clothing was very impressive.
At about 21:00 we headed to shore in our Polar Cirkle boats. It was a wonderful experience to explore Illorsuit and interact with the local people. A few small kids followed us while we wandered along the beach. A small dance floor and band stand had been set up for the evenings celebrations. There was more singing and dancing and plenty of opportunity to wander about the little village.
Clearly this was a hunting and fishing community. There were two minke whale skeletons lying on the far end of the beach at the edge of the village. The whales had been butchered cleanly and the meat distributed to everyone. Many houses had whale meat and fish drying on the front porch - right next to the laundry!
A crowd of children helped us with our life jackets and waved goodbye as the last Polar Cirkle boat left shore at 23:00.
We will all go home with very fond memories of our evening in Illorsuit.