Greenland, Murder Island, 14th August 2012 pm

Now for more on our boat ride to Tasiilaq.  The boat captain had a surprise in store for us. He took us to Murder Island, a place where some guy went mad and killed around 25 people including himself.  The real story will never be known as no-one lived to tell the tale.  Gruesome and horrific, yes. But, it’s a peaceful place now with only the ghosts to enjoy the island – and there were some lovely plants to be found amongst the rocks.

Our boat at Murder Island    (P1000955 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Immature fruit on a Salix sp.   (P1000960 © DY of jtdytravels)

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 Not sure what this little beauty is ????  (P1000961  © DY of jtdytravels)

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Blue Mountain Heath [ Phyllodoce caerulea ]  (P1000964  © DY of jtdytravels)

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A golden mushroom  (P1000967  © DY of jtdytravels)

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Common Harebell [ Campanula rotundifolia ] (P1000980  © DY of jtdytravels)

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Mainly Betula sp. growing in a sheltered spot  (P1000983/1  © DY of jtdytravels)

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Alpine Hawkweed [ Hieracium alpinum ] (P1000973 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Hawkweed growing on scree with lichen (P1000971/1 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Just to prove I was there!  … with fellow passenger S. on Murder Island  (P1000987 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Cracks showing in huge iceberg    (P1010010    © DY of jtdytravels)

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Sea lane full of huge icebergs    (P1010017  © DY of jtdytravels)

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Massive ice silhouettes   (P1010018    © DY of jtdytravels)

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And this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’!   (P1010019    © DY of jtdytravels)

Because the density of pure ice is lighter than that of sea water , we see only about one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg above water… we see only ‘the tip of the iceberg’.   It has come into English meaning a problem or difficulty that is only a small bit of a larger problem.  Running into one of these would be rather a larger problem on it’s own!

They come in many shapes and sizes   (P1010021    © DY of jtdytravels)

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Fishermen dwarfed by a monster of ice   (P1010031    © DY of jtdytravels)

We even came across an orca which had been harpooned earlier during the night some 30 kilometres out to sea and was  just being landed in a cove near a settlement.  Everybody was turning up for their share.  Nothing much was happening as the whale was too big to haul out of the water.  The locals would have to wait until the tide dropped and left the carcass in a position that it could be butchered.  A small slither of its skin was cut off for us to try.  It was extremely tough but with perseverance some flavour could be extracted from the sinew.  We were asked not to take photos.

I don’t have a problem with this kind of hunting.  These people have been hunting whales for food since time began, and only harvest to meet their own needs, and in their own waters.  Where I do have a problem is where whales, and the like, are harvested in a commercial way, far from home, and for so called ‘scientific’ purposes.

It was an absolutely idyllic afternoon, one of my best ever, and very reminiscent of the Lemaire Channel in the Antarctic.  In some ways it was better as this time I was in a much smaller boat (capacity perhaps 8) instead of around 300, and therefore felt very much closer to the whole experience.  Photos of the village of Tasiilaq in next musings.   D

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