Friday, 17 June 2011

King Neptune, More Ammassat & A Stunning Glaciar

Today was one of those days that starts off slowly, builds momentum throughout the day and then has a spectacular finish.

At 09:00 we had bridge tours for the 1st three groups.  the Captain was a very genial host and seemed in an especially good mood today.  Not that he isn't usually in a good mood but today was Captain Tormod Karlsen's birthday!  Happy birthday Captain Karlsen!!
Our lecture series continued at 09:30 and featured not only the Expedition Team but also guest lecturer Bud Ward from the United States with an informative talk on Climate Change - Confronting the Challenge.

We enjoyed excellent scenic cruising throughout the day which was interspersed with briefings about our plans when we arrive in Ilulissat tomorrow.

At 15:15 we had a surprise visit from King Neptune.  Perhaps it is to Neptune that we owe a big thank you for the marvellous weather we have been experiencing.  Apparently a "thank you" was not enough appeasement for crossing the Arctic Circle.  We had to pay a bigger price.  The price was frigid ice water poured down the back of our necks.  I was amazed at how many people lined up to have the experience.  Masochists!

After carefully working our way through many miles of  ice-filled waters we finally arrived at Eqip Sermia. At 17:00 we dropped anchor and around 17:30 we began Polar Cirkle boat operations whisking everyone to shore.  As we approached the beach we could see thousands, maybe millions of Ammassat (Capelin) swimming in the water.  Soon word about swimming piscatorial delicacies  reached the ship. A Polar Cirkle boat with crew armed with fishing nets was dispatched.  In less than 20 minutes they had netted enough Ammassat for the entire crew!

Meanwhile, the Expedition Team had constructed a makeshift landing platform out of wooden pallets which turned out to be the perfect thing as it allowed us to get to shore without getting our feet wet!

Once on shore we were free to wander but were cautioned not to venture down to any beach areas as there was an ever present danger of tsunamis from the calving glaciar.  Sure enough around 20:00 we heard white thunder from Eqip Sermia.  A large piece of ice had calved off the glaciar.  In about 5 minutes large waves washed the shore line briefly interrupting landing operations.

By 20:45 the last boat had left the beach and everyone was back on the ship enjoying a delicious barbeque in the warm sunshine on the stern deck.  The backdrop for the barbeque: beautiful Eqip Sermia.