Tuesday 9 July 2013

Good Speed, Good Day, Good Haven

The magnificent scenery of Qeqertarsuaq
In the middle of the night the ship starts to move a bit to both sides, rolling gently. Those who work here exchange glances - it seems to be mighty early to be already out of the Søndre Strømfjord. But indeed, the currents have been very favourable, the tide going out together with us, not only making up for the delay caused by the later incoming flight but also giving us a nice advantage of more than an hour ahead of schedule. 
So the evening excursions in Qeqertarsuaq can start on time or even before - a nice thought to have in mind during the day, after the first night on board, when lectures and briefings are given, excursions are booked first lunch is taken in our splendid restaurant.
Shorthorn Sculpin
In the afternoon there is a bell ringing out on deck 5, wielded by a large bearded visitor: Neptune has come to welcome us at the Polar Circle, and to baptise all those who have never received a heavy gush of ice water down the neck. Some come away with the impression that Neptune actually gets a lot of pleasure doing this. Definitely the creatures of sea take notice, more and more dark little heads pop out of the water - seals are curious animals...
Not many places on Earth where you have that backdrop at soccer
And then there's the first blow! We have humpback whales in front of the ship, the decks rapidly fill again with people, pressing cameras to their eyes. For a little while we follow the giants, before we resume our original course to Qeqertarsuaq.
Down there, in this paradise, we took our dinner
And there is so much to do: a lot of things start almost at the same time in Godhavn, as Qeqertarsuaq is called in Danish. The long hikers set out to marvel at the beauty of basalt, flowers and ice, the Kayakers get into the small boats, all neatly dressed up in dry suits, eager to go. The Polar Cirkel boats fuel up to go ice-hunting with the strong hope of spotting whales while they are feeding on the Ammasset (a Kaplan), which occurs in enormous quantities at the moment. We know now they are there, don't we??
The path along the coast is marked in yellow
A city walk is guided as well as the pretty walk into the Valley of the Winds. 
Late at night everybody returns to FRAM, red in the face from fresh air and excitement, a lot of talking among the various groups: Yes - the fog has lifted on the long hike, beau-ti-ful it was! Yes - there were whales close to the Polar Cirkel Boats, our first humpbacks!

What a magnificent first day...

Lapland Bunting