Monday, 9 July 2012

On the way to “good harbour”.

After a good, night of sleep (if we can call it night – the Sun is above the horizon 24 hours a day) and breakfast buffet, we started our day activity. The first landing is scheduled at 18:00 but it doesn’t mean that we have nothing to do until that time. Shortly after breakfast we had our first briefing. The AECO (Association of the Arctic Expedition Cruises Operators) presentation explained us how to behave safe, responsible and environmentally-friendly in the Arctic. Then, we had short introduction about today’s and tomorrow’s activities. We have so many additional excursions that we can book! No wonder that later on, there was long line in front of the Expedition Desk. Then, the “educational program” started with lectures in German and English. As always during the Expedition Cruise – we want not only to see the places but also learn about the region where we are sailing to.

At 17:45 Fram anchored in front of our first destination – Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island. Here we could choose between two optional excursions. “Basalt & Volcano” (4 hours walk) or “Ice Cruising” in our Polar Circle Boat’s with possibility of whale watching. Of course we could also choose “Walk to the Valley of the Wind” (45 min. one way) or just stroll in the town. The place was well known to 18th century whalers and they most probable gave the place its Danish name – Godhavn (“good harbour”). Then, in 1773 a Danish trading post was established here. Till 1950, the town remained the most important northern community. Today Qeqertarsuaq has roughly 1000 inhabitants.

All excursions were a great success! In the Valley of the Wind, even though it is almost the end of the flowering season, we could still enjoy many flowers. It is amazing how colorful the tundra can be!

The long walkers had a chance to see the beautiful lava structures, remains from volcanic activity from about 50 million years ago. It was interesting to learn that Disko Island is the youngest part of Greenland!

“Ice Cruising” turned out to be an exciting whale watching excursion. We spotted a Fin Whale and a Humpback Whale. Two species during two hours – not bad!

But the best part of today started about half an hour after our departure. Three Humpback Whales made a “midnight show” for us. The highlight of the show was Humpback Whale calf breaching!