Thursday 9 September 2010

Unusual circumnavigation

Something's different on FRAM, we feel it clearly in the evening and especially at night: the ship is heaving and pitching in the shaking seas. In the morning not everybody looks like having had a long, good nights sleep. So it is a fine idea to enter the Skoldungenfjord whose towering walls protect us from the roughness outside. It's like entering a different world, emerald green waters with white pieces of ice. From all sides glaciers despereately try to reach the waters edge, but in vain: The glacier retreat is frightenly visible here, nearly all of them are hanging in the scree of the mountain valleys, shedding little trickles of water that come down as pittoresque waterfalls.
It is here on Skoldungen Island, in the Skoldungenfjord where we perform our landing of the day. Guess where - right! In Skoldungen, also name of the small settlement that existed here until 1961 when people were forced by Denmark to give it up and move to larger cities where supplies were accessible more easily. Like many ghost towns there is a morbid charme in the air, here it is emphasized by these tiny details like the puppets head on a rock or the group of fuel drums that has sunken in the permafrost soil like a gathering on the moor. It is a really interesting spot to visit, so we return with another deep impression of times that were.
As we continue to go round Skoldungen we hope that ice and landslides have not made the passage impossible. We are lucky, except for a few stretches of going really, really slow we manage to do the circumnavigation of Skoldungen Island, a very particular enterprise that not many ships venture. And we even find the time to do a little Polar Cirkel Boat cruise in front of a pretty, steep glacier, surrounded by waterfalls, gulls and eider ducks.
Night falls earlier and earlier now, eight o'clock means darkness, so it's movie time: Paolo's Wedding, an impressing, black-and-white classic silent movie about Greenlandic life.