Tuesday 26 June 2012

The Place by the foxholes

The morning starts with a question mark: Will the weather be good or shall we have our first landing in grey, rainy conditions - here, out at sea you have no clue, since the higher moisture very often creates fogs that dance elegantly over the calm seas. But as soon as we enter the busy port of Sisimiut the skies turn blue and the colorful houses of this 5200-soul place shine brightly in the sunlight.
A gentle and fresh breeze has a very appreciated side effect - the mosquitoes stay away, which could otherwise be a great nuisance.
Especially if it comes to activities out in nature, and this is what Sisimiut is all about. And in our effort to offer something to everybody our range of activity is wide: The multi-faceted history of the place can be seen best on the historic hike to Tele Island, which takes you from modern life with shrimp factories back through colonial times with beautiful buildings next to the harbor to remains of the whaling period that started as early as in the 1500s, down to ruins of ancient settlers who have been here a couple of thousand years ago.
The more recent events in Greenlandic history are unraveled on the boat trip to Assaqutaq, a picturesque abandoned island near Sisimiut, where a 20 minute ride in a speedboat takes you. Ones the centre of the local fishing industry the place was literally closed down by the Danish government who wanted to bring education and health care to the country and found the people simply too much scattered over the place.
So many villages were abandoned against the will of their inhabitants, because that meant giving up a lot of the old traditions and ways of living. Today, however, the place is used as a summer camp for children, who learn how to fish (inclusive how to gut them), and how to hunt for seal at an age where we usually start to fold our first paper plane… The boldest among us set out in the morning for an extra-tough hike up to Palaassip Qaqqa, the “Priest Mountain”, which is towering over Sisimiut bay.
Only with good binoculars the brave hikers can be spotted in the steep mountain walls. But almost all make it today, and they are rewarded by a splendid view in crystal-clear afternoon light. So everybody is REALLY happy on return, and there is even the time to do a little shopping; the Greenlandic souvenirs are mostly beautifully carved out of bone. As a bonus, two star kayakers from the town come alongside with their needle thin boats, and demonstrate all a true Greenlander can do with this incredibly small vessel, breathtaking rolls and stunts, in ice-cold water. Many, many cheers from a large audience! Into the pastel colors of the polar night we sail, knowing it will not get fully dark. So no stargazing, but veery romantic atmosphere instead.