Friday 15 June 2012

An icy day with a surprise

The midnight sun was just too magnificent and one did not want to loose a moment! Tired eyes were however clearly gone in the fresh morning air when we made an extra landing at Qulissat on Disko Island. Qulissat is an old, now abandoned mining settlement. It was founded in 1924 as a coal mining town and in its heydays had 1200 inhabitants. The mine operated for 48 years until 1972, when the economic base of the settlement collapsed, leading to its abandonment. We landed at the beach- and figured out soon that the place was not so abandoned after all: two retired men live here at the moment to spent their summer months. We walked through the settlement, Birger talked about the life in a small community, Miki found an old open house with a toy collection from the good old days and so everyone enjoyed the morning stroll…

We said that there was not much sleep in the morning. In the evening, suddenly you could hear people running to the outside decks, grabbing their cameras and just disappearing! “A bowhead whale straight ahead” was the announcement! A bowhead whale? Our geographer Friederike nearly fainted as she has been coming to Greenland for over 30 years and had never seen one! But there it was: always close to the ice, it moved its 100tones with ease. Characteristic for a bowhead whale is the large head which takes approximately 1/3 of the entire body proportion!

When we reached Arveprinsens Island it became clear that there was a lot of ice ahead. Even King Neptun, who suddenly appeared on our very own deck 5, was speechless. We had hoped to reach the glaciar Eqip Sermia in the late afternoon for some hiking, but this was clearly no option today. But- icebergs, a beautiful surrounding and a calm sea can only mean one thing: Time to get dressed warmly in our thermal suites and out we went with the Polar Cirkle boats! To sit on water level and then suddenly having the ice so close and from a different perspective was something one will not forget.