Wednesday 4 August 2010

At Atá

We had a little further to travel today which meant our morning was a time to relax.  We had several lectures from which to choose, or we could meet with the photographer by the fireplace, or just kick back and enjoy the ride.
  In the afternoon we had a surprise visit from King Neptune.   We are well above the Arctic Circle at approximately 69˚49´N, 50˚15´W.  In recognition of crossing the circle, Neptune was here to baptize us with Arctic water.  Two hundred people lined up to have ice-water poured down the back of their neck!  B-r-r-r!
Our destination for today was the beautiful Eqip Sermia glacier.  As we plied our way towards the glacier the water became choked with ice.  Brash ice, bergy bits, ice floes and large icebergs.  The captain was at the helm skillfully navigating through the dense ice. Our speed was reduced to a minimum.  The scenery was fantastic.  Blue jacketed people lined the railings on all the outside decks.

And the ice got denser.  

It soon became apparent that it would not be wise to try to force our way through the ice any further.  When it comes to battles with mother nature usually discretion is the better part of valour.  Sometimes nature's victories have severe consequences.  
Very quickly a new plan was organized by our Expedition Leader Anja Erdmann and our Captain Rune Andreassen.  We just happened to be very near a remote nature camp called Atá.  Atá was a former settlement but now caters to tourists for kayaking, fishing, hunting and hiking.  The decision was made to attempt to do a landing.  Fram altered course. We soon dropped anchor and sent in a landing party to inquire if we could bring people on shore.   Very kindly, the staff at Atá invited us over!  
The hiking was excellent.  Many people climbed up a big hill (small mountain?) where they were able to enjoy a view of Eqip Sermia in the distance.  Cool.  
We made up for our invasion of their wilderness privacy by inviting everyone, guests and staff, to join us for an evening barbeque on board the ship.  
It was a really nice way to wrap up our day and a moment of unexpected luxury for everyone  at Atá.