Monday, 1 September 2014

Day 7, 27.08, Kulhus

After a couple of days with clouds, heavy fog, rain and sleet we woke up to clearing weather. Finally NE-Greenland was going to show us her beauty. A thin cover of sugar snow was on the mountains and the sun forced away the last clouds, reveiling the pack-ice. Not long after we found the first polar-bear, then the second and the third. The deck was bustling with activity and thousands of photos were shot. One bear found a seal to eat and one did not even bother to wake up as we slowly drifted towards him/her. The day had only started and more was to come…
In 1908 during the Denmark expedition geologist Håkon Høeg Jarners found an great layer of coal, which therefore was called ”Jarner’s coalmine”. It later changed name to Kulhus, meaning Coalhouse, as Lauge Koch built an expedition station in the area in 1932. It was made for traveling, but in 1932-33 and 1934-35 four and three people, respectively, overwintered on the station. The Sirius patrol used the station occasionally up until 1960s. The area has supplied many stoves along the nearby coast with coal.
We landed in beautiful sunny weather. The wind had picked up since we were in the pack-ice along with large swells. With excellent and cold work the expedition team and the crew managed to everyone safely on the shore and back on the ship, though it was a wet experience. Being a bit wet does not matter when you have a day like this ;0)
Most of us had a good walk up to flat plains behind the old station with a stunning view of mountains from 1000-1800 m. Names like Matterhorn gives associations to the people and places expeditions came from which gave the names.
At the landing site at the beach it was possible to see and touch coal seams. The yellow coloured sandstone next to the coal was a beautiful contrast in the evening sun.

During dinner we slowly sailed south and met a narrow belt of pack ice where we found a big whalrus enjoying the sun and the hundreds of cameras on the Fram.