Saturday 13 July 2013

Two Towns Per Day Makes Up For Ivittuut!

Okay.  Yesterday we had a storm which caused us to miss Ivittuut, but now we are making up for it, with two towns today and two landings again tomorrow!  
We arrived in Narsaq a little before 08:00.  A cargo vessel had the pier booked before us, so we anchored just outside of the harbour.  On the way down to deck two we grabbed a town map at reception. 
It was easy to walk around this small and friendly community by yourself.  In fact Narsaq has the reputation of being one of the friendliest communities in Greenland.  However the Greenlanders on our Expedition Team from Qaqortoq, Maijken and Aka, took umbrage with that and claimed Qaqortoq, is just as friendly!     A short three minute Polar Cirkle boat ride, brought us to a lovely pier situated very centrally.  
The kayakers went off kayaking and we, the hikers, went off hiking.  We followed our local guide up a steep ascent of a low mountain right behind town.  There has been a lot of rain in South Greenland during the past two weeks.  In fact it rained yesterday and there was a threat of rain in the air today.  The result of all of that precipitation being wet, squishy terrain.  I can't speak for the others, but before long, I had very soggy socks, despite having quality hiking boots. 
Hikers on the mountain behind Narsaq

Wildflowers were profuse with species heretofore unseen in our journey as they are more specific to the South.  New species of wildflowers included; Alpine Ladies Mantle, Rock Speedwell and Three-toothed Cinquefoil. Alpine Bartsia, various Buttercups and Hawkweeds flourished.  
When we reached the half-way point we were at 355 metres with a superb view of Narsaq and Fram.  At the summit someone had built many cairns, possibly as many as one hundred. These Inukshuks ranged in size from a half metre to three metres tall.
While we were exploring the hillsides of Narsaq we could see our kayakers paddling about icebergs wa-y-y-y below and tiny blue-clad shipmates walking the streets of Narsaq with a local guide. 
The last boat back to Fram left shore at 13:30.  Three hours later we were dropping anchor just off the shore of the tiny agricultural community of Qassiarsuk.  The population varies between 60 and 90 people depending on the season - the summer, of course, being the busiest time.
Statue of Leif the Lucky in Qassiarsuk
Qassiarsuk was one of the original Viking settlements in Greenland and was the home of Erik the Red.  Many people chose to go on a guided walk of the settlement with Edda, a flamboyant Icelandic woman dressed in Viking clothing.  She regaled everyone with energetic stories of the Vikings.
Edda and Truls in Qassiarsuk
While Edda entertained, many other people chose to go on a small boat excursion to Qooroq Glacier.
Ice Cruise to Qooroq Glacier
There were thirteen different departures in local small but very comfortable boats. 
Chopping up Glacial Ice for Martinis
Each of the boats found a quiet place to stop to admire the view and collect glacial ice for martinis enjoyed by everyone!  It was still very overcast, in fact it was raining by the time the last of the Qooroq excursions made it back to the ship at 21:30.
Martinis in front of Qooroq Glacier