Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Of Plans and Nature

No, I do not mean planTs and Nature. This is about the power of the wilderness that surrounds us and about us smiling gracefully at our own insignificance.
Blue were the skies and the seas as we pulled into the bay of Qeqertarsuaq this morning. Gargantuan icebergs were lined up on either side, like huge white sentinels. Perfect!
So everybody was looking forward to the activities of the day, like the hikes into the valley of the winds (where Friederike was posted with her enormous shovel to explain the tundra vegetation) or the exciting boat ride among the big cold monuments that gather in front of Qeqertarsuaq beach.
Just when everybody was about to get ready to hop in the boats, a thin white fuzzy line appeared out at sea, getting bigger, higher and fuzzier by the minute. And only moments later everything was totally enshrouded in the Arctic fog that came with unbelievable swiftness. OK, that means standby, see what happens. But the mist just went from dense to thick, so the ice cruises had to be cancelled, much to the woe of guests, drivers and expedition team alike.
But then again - this is it, this is the moment of surprise that makes this voyage an expedition, not a mere cruise. Nature will always prevail, and it should, that's a principal lesson to be learned out in the Wild. 
And hey, look at all the beauty - the subtle contours of the bergs that are around, how they gently appear, only to wane a few instants later. The Kayakers gave it a go, but they had to stay in the close neighborhood of FRAM. However, those who changed plans to join the hike into the valley was surprised that there, where the glacier stream creates a breeze that blows out the mist, the blue skies came back upon the instant. A channel of visibility, in the middle of this foggy world. So shall we rename the Valley of the Winds in Valley of Clarity…?
The on-board activities were not affected by this at all, so in the afternoon lectures were enjoyed, and many a giggle was heard when officers and staff changed into fashion models in the evening, well -  with a few extras, maybe.