Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Greenland's National Day & the 1st Day of Summer!

We arrived in Qeqertarsuaq at 09:00.  There isn't a large pier here so, as usual we dropped anchor in the beautiful natural harbour just outside of the marina.  Soon Polar Cirkel boats were zipping to and fro, from ship to shore, each carrying a cargo of eight passengers.  Everyone arrived on shore by language group.  First to arrive this morning were the Scandinavians.  As soon as they were all assembled, the entire group set off on a hike through town and then out to the beautiful countryside.  And so it went for   six different groups.  
As we walked through the small community three canons were fired to commence the celebrations and events for Greenland's National Day.  Many people were gathered to sing in front of the community centre, some had Greenland  flags and some were dressed in traditional costume.
It took only a few minutes to walk through the centre of town to a beautiful dark sandy beach.  There were lots of bergy bits washed up on shore and many large icebergs lay just offshore.  It was a perfect place to stop for a few photographs.
 Carrying on, we soon left the town behind.  We had just crossed a small river when one of the expedition team announced that there were Humpback Whales just off shore.  The whales were feeding in the exact same place as the week before.  It was almost like Hurtigruten had these Humpbacks on the payroll.  They even obligingly moved closer to the beach as we oh-ed and ah-h-ed from the hillside.
It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but after awhile even the most ardent whale watchers had satisfied their desire to see whales.
The hike ended at a beautiful waterfall.  The Expedition Team pointed out a pair of Canada Geese nesting on an isolated pinnacle of rock adjacent to the falls.  Some of the Team had been coming to this same location for several years and it was the first time any of them had seen  Canada Geese nesting there.
On the way back into town we could see many local people picnicing and barbequing on the edge of town.  There was also a demonstration from the town firefighters.
At 15:30 the last Polar Cirkel boat left Qeqertarsuaq.  We heaved anchor and set our course for Uummannaq and Ukkusissat.  
Our afternoon was filled with lectures and briefings about our plans for tomorrow.