Greenland, to Tasiilaq, 14 August 2012

This was transfer day from Iceland to Greenland.  I looked up the forecast for Tasiilaq on the Weather Channel to get an idea of what to expect on arrival in Greenland.  The forecast was not good – it was supposed to be wet and cool, 9-11℃  with a wind chill factor reducing that to 6-7 degrees. Tuesday was supposed to be a couple of degrees warmer and Wednesday yet another few degrees warmer.

Packed, breakfasted and ready to move, we drove to the local airport in Reykjavik (RKV), just a few kilometres out of town. This is not to the international one (KEF) which was some 40 minutes away.  As we lined up to check in for our flight, we found that one of our small group had left his money belt, containing not only his money but his passport as well, on the dining room table at breakfast time.  He made a hurried trip back to the hotel while the rest of us continued with our check-in.  The taxi ride failed to produce the lost passport.  His baggage had to be offloaded as did his wife’s.  We had to leave them in Reykjavik to organise a replacement passport during the next few days.  Fortunately, we are returning to Reykjavik for one night before heading to the Faroe Islands so they could be picked up then. With now just three passengers and our guide, we took off for Greenland. Our plane climbed up out of the showery, dull weather of Reykjavik through cloud that seemed to last forever.

The airline serviette   (P1000864 © DY of jtdytravels)

We we were fed a snack on the 1 hour 50 minute flight.   It was accompanied with this serviette – someone in this airline company had a sense of humour!  And then I looked below!

A blue, blue sea! (P1000855 © DY of jtdytravels)

The sky had suddenly turned blue, brilliant blue and was reflected in a brilliant blue sea dotted with islands and icebergs.

Oh what a beauty!   (P1000883 © DY of jtdytravels)

The Captain came onto the intercom and told us that the weather in Kulusuk was warm and sunny!  Were we going to the place we thought we were?  He also informed us that as the visibility was excellent and, as we were a little ahead of schedule, he would take the scenic approach to the runway.  Wow! That’s service we don’t expect with flights these days. It was a great introduction to Greenland.

Iceberg on a sea of blue.   (P1000870 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Mountains all around us (P1000893 © DY of jtdytravels)

Craggy brown mountains rose around us, still holding, in places, some of last winter’s snow.

A window with a view! (P10008891 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Our shadow on the land (P1000899 © DY of jtdytravels)

What a wonderful arrival, and such an unexpected one.

Our Fokker 50 airplane on arrival (P1000901 © DY of jtdytravels)

Our Fokker 50 touched down at Kulusuk, Greenland, on the dirt runway and taxied to a stop in front of the wooden terminal.

We retrieved our baggage. We should have only brought enough for our three night stay, not the lot, but this information didn’t get to us and that might have caused problems for our helicopter transfer back to the airport in a few days time. As it turned out, we were OK as we were only four passengers instead of six as booked.

We were met by our local tour operator, Thorbjørn (Toby), a young Dane who works in Greenland for the five month tourist season.  It was still only around 10h00 since we had lost two hours during the flight. So a boat transfer was on the itinerary to chew up some time and to make the transfer different from the return journey which, as already mentioned, was to be by helicopter as there is no road linking the airport to Tasiilaq.  Everything, it seems, is transported by sea or by plane.

Our boat transfer sounded great until we saw the boat.  There was nothing wrong with the boat except a skyhook or crane would have been useful.  There was no jetty with a gang plank, step, or even a ladder to help us get on board.  We found ourselves watching while our bags were lowered on the end of a rope some 5m or so over the edge of a landing.  Where was the boson’s chair?  No such thing, we had to scramble down some very chunky rocks to water level and then somehow clamber up onto the launch.  This was eventually achieved but not with much decorum.

A first view from the ground! (P1000905 © DY of jtdytravels)

This view of the nearby mountains were just a foretaste of what was to come.

Icelandic Sandpiper  [Calidris canutus]   (P1000917 © DY of jtdytravels)

There were a pair of sandpipers on some nearby rocks. Although called the Icelandic Sandpiper, these birds do not breed in Iceland.

We had a most enjoyable boat trip.  It took hours but as our hotel rooms would not have been ready at such an early hour this was no problem.  We drifted past icebergs and the most wonderful, but stark scenery.

A submarine of an iceberg! (P1000928 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Stark, stunning scenery (P1000921 © DY of jtdytravels)

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A remote settlement (P1000925 © DY of jtdytravels)

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How good can it get?  (P1000930 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Fingers of glaciers (P1000936 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Faces of glaciers (P1000942 © DY of jtdytravels)

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A closer view  (P1000945 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Greenland – land of ice! (P1000949 © DY of jtdytravels)

More of this wonderful boat ride in the next musings!  D

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