Thursday, 4 July 2013

Farewell Ukkusissat

This was the busiest day of our Greenland itinerary.  We visited two communities in one day.  Our first stop was at the picturesque town of Uummannaq. We dropped anchor at about 09:30. The excursions to the famous archeological site of Qilakitsog and ice cruising in the Polar Cirkle boats were underway thirty minutes later. 
Santa's Cabin Uummannaq

Our nearly perfect weather for the cruise thus far continued, making for ideal conditions for our hike in the afternoon.  Approximately 80 people rendezvoused with the Expedition Team at the pier to begin the hike at 13:30.   The objective was to reach the summer home of Santa Claus on the opposite side of the island.

Alpine Mouse Ear
It is now the peak of the season for wildflowers in Greenland.  Arctic Campion, Moss Campion, Alpine Mouse Ear, Lapland Rosebay, Cassiope, Blue Heath, Alpine Arnica, Arctic Poppy, Entire-leaved Mountain Avens, Arctic Rock Cress, Hairy Lousewort, Snow Whitlow Grass,  Three-toothed Saxifrage, and various Cinquefoils grew in profusion, dotting the largely monochromatic rocky landscape with vivid splashes of pink, yellow, green and white.

The museum in Uummannaq is one of the nicest in Greenland and features information on the "Greenland Mummies" from the Qilakitsoq site.  Lots of folks availed themselves of the opportunity to visit both the museum and the church.
By 16:30 the last Polar Cirkel boat departed from the pier and shortly after Fram weighed anchor and turned her bow northwards in the direction of Ukkusissat. 

Ukkusissat is our most significant cultural stop in that we always invite the people from the village on board Fram and then afterwards we join them in their community.  It is the best opportunity to get to know some of the people of Greenland.  At 19:30 one of the Polar Cirkel boats started shuttling 39 of the local people to Fram.  By 20:00 everyone had rendezvoused in the Observation Lounge where the people from Ukkusissat entertained us with Greenlandic folk singing and dancing. 
Folk Dancing
After the singing and dancing they modelled traditional and formal Greenland clothing.  The workmanship and detailing in the clothing was a marvel to behold.
Traditional Clothing Observation Lounge Fram
Ukkusissat is our northernmost destination.  Even though it was 21:00 by the time we went to shore, the sun was still about 40˚ in the sky and of course, at this time of year, would not dip below the horizon.  The evening sun bathed the pretty town in golden summer light.

Pretty much everyone meandered over to the community centre where a large crowd gathered to watch Miki play his guitar and sing and to avail themselves of coffee, tea and cake. 
All too quickly it was 22:30 and time for the last Polar Cirkel boat to leave shore.  It is nearing the end of our Greenland season and this was our last visit to Ukkusissat and the last time to see our friends until next year.  It is always a little sad to wave goodbye to our good friends of Ukkusissat at the end of the season.