Sunday 8 June 2014

Nature is the Boss

As the night approaches, more and more strange sounds are heard all throughout the vessel: like something is crunching, brushing against the hull
We have reached the ice.
Funny material, ice: It is so much more predictable when it is really cold outside, the frost keeps it well in place. But comes springtime, then it starts moving. Incredible amounts of white begin to follow the major currents, and one of them is bringing them to Greenland’s South, to Kap Farwell. But the journey doesn’t stop there, instead the cold voyagers take a sharp turn to the right and then skirt the western shores of the world’s largest island.
In our case a long and mighty arm of sea ice is stretching north-west, forming a long frozen peninsula almost parallel to the coastline. This is unfortunate, because our destination for the day lies behind this barrier, so Captain HÃ¥rvik and his crew try their best to get through/around it, making the route in the electronic navigation Chart look like the footsteps of a drunken spider.To make it a little more challenging for him we encounter dense fog, forcing us to slow down to low but safe speed. What sounds like a bad morning is actually a very picturesque scenario, the silhouettes of the ice floes and ice bergs appear like faint ghosts, drifting by in majestic silence only to fade to white just behind the ship. Every now and then we have to kick one out of the way, and then FRAM is slightly jerking. She can take that, point of fact she is built just for this! So we utterly enjoy the ice ride, as well as the lectures and the music (and the delicious Norwegian pancakes)
The ice belt, however, proves to be unyielding, and as time progresses we finally have to give up on the plans to reach Qaqortoq in the afternoon. Instead the decision is taken to head north towards Bredefjord and make another attempt in the morning of the next day.This is it - this is real expedition! We have to adapt, to embrace the unexpected. And one thing is clear (as ice…): not we are the ones commanding the events - Nature is.