Monday, 28 September 2009

South Greenland turned out to be so different from the northwest - no snow, but green meadows! So entering the Eiriksfjord we all could realize why Erik the Red called his new land for Greenland. We visited his old farmplace Brattahlid where we enjoyed a lively performance about his adventures and familyproblems from one of his concubines - fallen out of time.

Others went on a small boatcruise to a nearby glacier where they could enjoy a lot of icebergs - amongst them one of the astonishing blueest icebergs ever to bee seen!

Than we turned our ship to follow from this historical place in the steps of Leif Erikson - the first one who ever crossed the nordic ocean and found Vinland or nowadays America.

Finally we made it!
We escaped from the long-lasting winter-weather as we crossed the 62th parallel on our way to the south and found ourselfes suddenly again surrounded by the good, old rain ...

The storm was still moving the ship and pushed us back in time, so we reached our todays destination - the abandoned mining settlement of Ivittuut - around 16:00 in the afternoon. Here we could stroll around in the remains of the village and the mining-buildings and look for small pieces of the here once processed kryolith. It was the hugest deposit of kryolith in the whole world and brought wealth to Greenland, as it was used to produce aluminium and was mostly shipped to the USA. A very nice museum showed a lot of minerals and explained about the history of this place.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Today we visited the capital city of Greenland - Nuuk.

And the Fram brought the winter to southern Greenland, for it started with the snowfall during the night - the same weather we had experienced the last ten days more up to the north. But down here the people were not expecting such an early winter and chaos came to town: the busses had not changed to wintertires and stayed at home, as a thick layer of app. 15 cm snow and ice covered the streets! It seemed a little bit strange to see "Arcticers" caught and confused by snowfall, just like in every other middeleuropean town when winter starts ...

That changed our plans for sightseeing-trips and shuttle-busses, so we had to walk into town with our local guides and hired some 4-wheel-cabs as a substitute for the Bus-shuttle. So everybody was still able to get to the town and also to visit the old colonial part of Nuuk, where the National Museum is located. This offered a really well done exhibition about the old Inuit way of living as well as a newly set up way of presenting one of their most well-known items - the greenlandic mummies from about 1475.

We left Nuuk in the late afternoon and had to head out for the open sea where we ran into a nice storm lasting the whole night. It kept the most people to stay in their cabins ...
Leaving the long Kangerlussuaq-Fjord the Fram turned southward again, finishing by this the long season of western and northern Greenland for this year. We had some time on our way and visited the Evighetsfjorden just a little bit south of the Kangerlussuaq.

The weather stayed as the days before, in fact it added some extra heavy snowfall, so that some AB`s were allways busy to get rid of that stuff and took good use of their showels ...

We left the fjord during lunchtime and started with our lectures to inform the new passengers about such arctic things as ice, glaciers, Inuit and vikings. And we headed on to the south, to escape from this serious winter!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Kangerlussuaq - airportday. For the last time this year we wave goodbye to our guests here, disembarking them in snowy winterweather. Than we wait at the airport for the new ones to come. Once in a while smaller snowstorms cover the airstripe with a new layer of white, and the tractors hurry out to get it clear again for the next planes to come.
The last group mainly liked this real greenlandic, arctic weather wich showed them the islands harsh nature and gave a small glimpse of greenland in wintertime. For the new ones it will be an unexpected start for this viking-route, but at least we will just travel in southern directions ...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Ilulissat - for sure one of the highlights of the whole trip. The city named after all the magnificent icebergs drifting out from the Icefjord into the Discobay, starting their northbound journey towards the Smithsound-Region, before turning south again and travelling additional thousands of miles along the shores of Baffinland and Labrador ...

It was more or less snowing throughout the whole day, but we were lucky enough to had all excursions taking place, so our passengers could enjoy the scenic Icefjord by hike, by boat and even by helikopter.

And what most people never realize - a slightly clouded sky gives a much better impression of the the icebergs: On sunny days the ice is just "boring" white, but with some clouds all the various sorts of blueish colours are getting visible. So it was in fact a perfect day to take some real spectacular shots of the most impressing sights of greenland - the icebergs!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Almost a seaday - quite a distance to cover until we reached our todays destination, the glacier Eqip Sermia. So, while sailing through the beautyful Vaigat Sound, we had good time to entertain the guests with a whole lot of lectures - so they learned about greenlandic vegetation, the old ways of hunting for delicious food like "Giviaq" or "Mataq" and as well about the greenlandic situation in a modern world.

In the late afternoon we went ashore and had some time to stroll through the tundra and enjoy the view on the nearby located glacier. It was mostly snowing a little bit, but it was calm and so not getting too cold. But in the evening you could watch the watersurface starting to freeze ...

Back on the ship it was BBQ-time, taking the advanced season into consideration, it was not longer celebrated ashore but in the warm comfort of our cosy ship.

Monday, 21 September 2009

In the morning we made our way through the Umanak Fjord and it was really a spectacular sight to see: many think that fjord to be one of the most scenic of whole greenland - with the steep Nussuaq Peninsula on the one side and the rugged peaks of the Wegener Peninsula on the other side. And today this beautyful landscape was all covered with a thin layer of fresh snow, all down to the shoreline.

This added some difficulty to our tradionell Santa-Claus-Hike, but we made, it just took some extra-time.

And in the evening - as the highlight of the week for all expedition-team - we once again visited our nice friends in Ukkusissat. They had coffee, tea and cakes prepared in their community-house and later they visited us onboard the FRAM and showed our passengers dances, songs and their colourful national costumes. An interesting evening and we had much fun! To sorry it was the last time for a long period ...

Sunday, 20 September 2009

We reached Qeqertarsuaq a little bit later than usual - due to bunker until the middle of the last night - but that was well done, for we got sunshine in the afternoon. So a lot of guests participated in our hike to the valley of the winds and enjoyed the beautyful scenery. Quite a few icebergs were stranded in the bay, so the view was really great, especially on the way back. Once in a while small clouds filled the air with snow - that added a touch of greenlandic winter our experience.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Sisimiut - it`s getting dark now, but we still wait for our place at the pier ... went ashore with our Polar Circle Boats today, as a greenlandic freighter occupied our position. But as we have the urgent need of some shiploads of provisions, we wait patiently for our time to come!

The weather was a pleasant mix from nasty cold snowstorms and brilliant light over the city - beautyful with the snowcovered mountains behind ...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Last day on our cruise. We are in Itilleq. Football again and we lost.......again. Even thou we had almost 12 in our team. But it´s so fun, to run and play together with no real rules. Just play. We did a good match and came back in second half and scored from 0-3 to 3-3. But the second they took over and the games ended 5-6 to Itilleq. We still have this excellent weather but the snow has not reached Itilleq yet.
Tomorrow Kangerlussuak at the end of this very special trip. And we begin with the very last Disco bay tour for the season.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Photo; Cecilia Hed Malmström
No words would be necessary today. No more than “Its winter”. Look at the picture from wonderful sunny snowy Ilulisset. Hard to describe….
But shortly: A winter hike up to Sermermiut with the puppies following us for a while. The Ice fjord with the boat trip under the very hot sun. The sound of cracking ice is just amazing.
After this fantastic day we have only one left on this trip. Feel a little bit sad. But grateful that we had this wonderful weather thou we started out the trip with a 6 hours delay because of a storm…
Next trip is the last up hear this season. The autumn has already left just after a week and the winter has come.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Ok … it´s really winter. After a nice educating morning we ended up in Equip Sermia and it was snowing. Not so cold, but large snowflakes falling down on us. But that didn´t stop our guests from hiking up to the top and walk the ridge.
“Smiling in the snow” is the words of today.
A cold feeling in the face and warm inside your body we all feel good after the good hike in the snow. We went back for the barbeque and all the drivers where down at the beach waiting to bring us back onboard.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Photo: Cecilia Hed Malmström
The winter has come to Uummannaq. A light layer of snow gives the area a winter feeling. The winter is coming soon. But today the sun was shining all day. A lot of people had the Greenlandic lunch outside the restaurant enjoying the wiew. Seal, whale and Musk ox mixed with different kind of dry and fresh fish.
Then we went on the traditional hike to Santa Claus hut. The way was still dry but now you could feel the wind getting colder. After dinner we set of to Ukkusissat. The small little settlement. They had some coffee and Greenlandic cake for us. We walk around until the beautiful sunset came. And we finished our evening in the bar with the choir and dance group showing us traditional song and dance.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Colourful Greenland

Photo Roland Hans Jürgen
When we woke up from the rocking sea you could feel that the weather had change. The sun is now shining and gives a golden shimmer over the landscape. Greenland is colourful right now with the autumn strong red and yellow on the ground between the mountains. And the mountains go from red to brown in different layers. And we bring the sharp blue in to it. We had a wonderful hike up to the Vally of the Wind. We pass the dog yard that said god morning to us. Big icebergs has now reach the beach and shiny blue you can see them between the houses. As we walk thru the town the children gets very curious about us. And they slowly try to talk to us and we to them.

A rainy autumn day in Sisimiut

Photo: Roland Hanns Jürgen
It´s raining, but it feels like soft and warm pearls of water. The smell of fish, salt and sea tickles in your nose and for just a moment you can sense the smell of diesel from the harbor. Somewhere in the background you hear the dogs. They’re howling. “Feeding time? “ is the question that goes thru your head.
What a wonderful rainy day in Sisimiut. The dog we pass on our way up to the old church where standing like statues. Sitting on the rocks with the ears hanging down and the eyes focus two meter in front of them. It´s really an experience to discover Sisimiut in this pouring rain.
“There is actually not bad weather, only bad cloths” comes from one of our happy guests.
After a wet hike we go for a good cop of coffee at Sisimiuts café. We pass the local butcher. The top of the mountain disappear in the low sky.
Time to go back to the ship. Drilling, safety and finally dinner. We leave Sisimiut on a rocking sea. Suddenly the sun appears. The rain stops and we have a wonderful sunset.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Storm in Kangerlussuaq

Questions about the weather? Just don't ask...
The morning was quiet, peaceful, maybe a little sad because of the farewell. And then someone up there snapped a finger and all of a sudden high winds and nasty waves all over the fjord. The ride in the Polar Cirkel Boat became a most dangerous enterprise for driver and passengers. So we had to keep all the new arrivals ashore until quite late, knowing that everyone must have been veeeery tired from the trip. But there was no choice, and luckily everyone seemed to understand, especially after they had their own bumpy joyride to the ship. So the spirit is really good now, although everybody is of course dog-tired. Now, that was a true Expedition start, so let's heave anchor to make our way through the night! Our first destination is waiting - Sisimiut.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Oooops, two weeks gone already? That can't be, haven't we just left two days ago? Hm, but our itinerary leads us inevitably towards the Sondre Strømfjord, where it all began.
However, this is another fantastic day in paradise, fine weather again, seas calm, so we have all reason to smile as we ride in to Itilleq in our Polar Cirkel Boats. And this is certainly a special stay: In many of the cosy houses we are invited for a kaffemik, a Greenlandic tradition taking place in the private houses of the people living here. So we really get to see how they live, get to eat their (very, very delicious!) cakes and get a decent cup of coffee. We might need all our strength, since we are on for the event the people of Itilleq have been waiting for all the time: The famous football match. Starting with only a handful of folks on both sides, this game got more and more of a sportive happening. Disregarding age, personal fitness or nationality, the ball was driven over the dusty pitch until the final score said 5:4 - for the host. Well, everybody won here today, that is for sure. And so now it's getting time for Captain's dinner and farewell as we re-enter the Kangerlussuaq fjord in the dark.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Eqip Sermia

Riding the waves, yeeehaaa!
Many of us felt reminded to the Drake Passage in Antarctica, a good swell going our way. This gave the bridge tours a little extra, navigation live.
The wind picked up considerably, so we started to dread the bay at Eqip Sermia might be too rough for us. But then it is alway a good idea not to lose optimism, just take a look what's there. And indeed, we were lucky, the cove giving us nice protection from the choppy sea. After a short while everybody was ashore and could enjoy the majestic beatuy of the great glacier, or even take a hike on the mountains from where you could catch a glimpse of the inland ice. The glacier front is about five kilometers wide, something you just don't believe for the lack of reference. But surely boats don't go near for the glacier is highly active. However, sitting there, listen to the wind and the ice, looking down on the world where we are just visitors - this is a reward, and this is also an occasion to let the past days drift by, all the images and memories of everything we've done. So the stormy beginning of the day finds a peaceful end.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Upernavik - so near and yet so far

There is something different when we are getting up this morning, that's what our bodies tell us. Oh yeah - the ship is moving. Not in the nearly imperceptible way it used to do in the last weeks, but whith a great deal more of motion. Now there's a chance to find out if we have real sea legs! In a drunken sailor's fashion we move towards the breakfast hall and back, just before our arrival to Upernavik, our goal for the day. Anchor chain is rattling out noisily, the familiar sound of the tender deck opening is to be heard and many a head is craning over the sides to watch the expedition team mount the Polar Cirkel Boat. Well - try to mount...the swell is letting the boat jump like a young rodeo horse. The decision is taken right away: We have to skip this landing, it's just too dangerous. So we are waving Upernavik good-bye and turn around to continue our journey south.
Well, but isn't board life good, too? Train your brain with more lectures, train your body and go to the gym, in the sauna, marinate in the Jacuzzi, sit and dream in the observation lounge, eat a lot, participate in the polar bear art contest, listen to Erman, Edgar and Jael sing in the bar. Or just - do nothing. This is holiday, after all!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Half a seaday

It is time to head south, everybody knows. So we are diving back again into learning: The lecture halls are not being half emptied when the next crowd is already lining up, eager to hear about Greenlandic culture, Passions for Ice, Earth History and more. Just as we are running in full university mode, there is news: As we are getting close to the village of Krauthavn and since the weather is just fine, tide included, we can as well do a landing there, right? Once proposed, everybody goes for warm clothes and life jacket and off we are.
Since 140 of the 200 inhabitants are on a school trip, the welcome comittee is rather small, although very friendly. The stroll through the place reveals a different side of modern Greenland. Situated in the most remarkable spot between two lagoons and the open sea, we encounter a vast amount of neglected houses, waste and miserable dogs. The friendly smiles of those we meet here are a stark contrast to this place where many people apparantly have lost their hope for a better life. This is what happened often in the 1970s when many villages where closed and the old way of living was lost.
But then again, the other side of the village is sporting newly built houses with nice verandas towards the sea. Perhaps life just starts to come back here. Thoughtful we return to FRAM, but when the villagers gave us a frantic farewell escort with no less than six fishing boats full of women, men and children it is really a touching sight, leaving - in a bizarre way - a good memory to this place.

Friday, 4 September 2009


We're back online!
Sorry Folks, but the delay is built-in if you travel this far up north: The satellite coverage is poor and in many parts simply non-existent. But here we are again, full of things tell you and show you. Just scroll down and see what happend, of course we did not skip a single day!
The only reason that the cosy little village of Siorapaluk is not overrun by tourism is its position: It is the northernmost settlement in the world and really, really far out, a good deal higher up than even Thule and Qaanaaq. And we do have the privilege to land there, more than warmly welcomed by the people who seem to celebrate our arrival like a public holiday. It is an unbelievable atmosphere, a mild late-summer sun hanging over the glistening Siorapaluk Fjord, the glacier looming in the background, filling the bay with the most beautiful icebergs. And the beaches! They are pretty, the sand is juuuuust fine, they are empty - if it weren't for the large icecubes everywhere you would feel like in Portugal or somewhere else warm and pretty. Well, the ice did not keep everyone away from the water, three of us went swimming, under the amused looks of the villagers who even took pictures for their families to tell.
The day ended as spectacular as it begun, under a bright full moon we continued our journey back south, back to the realms of modern communication. And that's why you can read this little account...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

High North

For many of us this is the day that was supposed to make it all worthwhile. To be sure, we had Neptune baptize us beforehand.
Canada and Greenland at equal distance, this is how we traveled to get up here, feeling very much in the footsteps of the ancient and famous expeditions. The weather decided not to spoil our adventure, an amazing sunset made Canadas mountains gleam bright orange and covered Greenlands coast with a magical blueish sheen. You could literally feel the atmosphere on board, everybody was so exited!
And then the shout from the bridge - polar bear! There he was, quite in a distance but certainly visible, prowling the drift ice, stopping here and there to sniff. Of course everybody hoped that the galley boys on FRAM were coincidentally preparing fish for dinner… And he came closer, and closer yet, and - then he lay down and decided not to move anymore. Well, that's how they hunt, isn't it? However, we had it, our eyes had seen! So we push the throttle again and keep going north, aiming for high.
Only one hour later: This is it. Finally we have to stop. The GPS shows 79°40,9' North when we encounter the Big Ice, impenetrable for us. This is the highest latitude FRAM has ever reached! It means that we are now just a little more than 1150 km away from the pole. It may sound a lot, but it isn't: Except military personnel and a few handful of scientists, we are probably the northernmost people upon this planet. What a thought…
Of cause this calls for a celebration, and so the Captain proposes a toast on deck seven, ships horn is sounding - Whew!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Qaanaaq - Ultima Thule

Change of plan. Again, and again for a really good reason. We heard that THE German adventurer, Arved Fuchs, would be staying in Qaanaaq with his tiny but famous sailing boat "Dagmar Aaen". So, if this is not a hell of a chance to get some first-hand information about the Arctic. At least, you can always ask…
And we were lucky! "Bribed" with a box of fruit and two cases of beer, Arved Fuchs and two of his team came over to FRAM and told us - and of course the camera team - all about his current projects, the last of which was retracing the unlucky Greedy expedition of 1896, where 16 men died of hunger.
After this event we were all shuttled over to Qaanaaq and had plenty of time for all kinds of things. Here you can actually HIKE to the icecap. It just takes a couple of hours to get there, and the brave ones really did it. Those who preferred to take it more from the holiday point of view strolled through the village, watched the whale hunter tell his tale and sell Narwhale skin right from his boat or had a chat with Finn who runs the small but exquisite museum with a lot of very good artefacts from many a period.
And then we got visitors again on our ship - the senior (over 80 years old!) of Qaanaaq came over with his wife to perform traditional songs accompanied by the drum. Time and History dissolved in our observation lounge when we all listened. As we opened our eyes again, it was already time for us to leave - go North!