Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sometimes Change Is The Only Constant

We knew from the ice charts that getting to Narsaq and Qassiarsuk would be a challenge.  The Captain and navigation officers did their best to get us there but it just wasn’t possible.  The sea ice had moved south along the east coast of Greenland and had totally choked off our entry point for Narsaq.
In the meantime the Expedition Leader and the Captain had come up with an alternative plan.  We would head further south towards Prince Christian Sound.  Along the way, if weather and ice permitted we would visit the old Viking settlement, at Ikigait.
As we followed the edge of the pack ice we encountered hundreds of seals on ice floes. There were 10 or 15 seals hauled out on some of the floes. Most of the seals were Harp seals but scattered here and there were Hooded Seals either solo or in pairs. 
A great part of the day was spent cruising through heavy fog.  Navigation officers really don’t like fog, nor do they like heavy ice conditions.  In these kinds of conditions we are always forced to reduce speed in order to navigate safely which of course pushed our arrival time at Ikigait to 19:30.
As we aproached the coast the very dense fog dispersed. One could almost hear a chorus of angels sing as the sun burst through the clouds illuminating our landing site in sunshine!
Now that we were so much further south we actually had to consider at what time would the sun set?  22:00 was the answer.  This left time enough for everyone to explore the old Viking ruins.
Much to our surprise several small boats from a nearby settlement came over to say hello and to offer some beautiful seal skin craft work for sale.
Shortly after 21:30 everyone was safely back on board the ship.
Tomorrow’s destinations:  Prins Christian sund and the village of Aappilattoq.