I woke up in the delightful small town of Tasiilaq. Where was I? Greenland. And I was looking forward very much to the planned cruise through the icebergs along a couple of the Fjords.
For some reason, unknown even to me, I’d had the idea that this cruise would be for just a couple of hours, at the most, in a Zodiac-type boat – shades of the same activity we had done when in the Antarctic. But no. We were to go out again in the same cruiser that brought us to the hotel – and the cruise would last for eight hours. One of our group decided she could not manage for so long on a boat, and so there were only the three of us plus the crew of two.
As we left the dock and looked back I was reminded of the colourful small houses in the north of Norway. These are all ‘flat-pack’ construction kit houses which have to brought in by boat. Similar houses, different colours.
On the way up the Fjord,we were entranced by the size and majesty of the icebergs. This one estimated to be the equivalent of 6 stories high. And that was only a fraction, about a ninth, of the iceberg that we could see – the rest, and by far the largest section, is under water.
And up even closer, they were totally awesome.
We had much further to go that day so we had to leave those icebergs with the promise of more to come. Our next destination was totally unpronounceable – the tiny settlement of Qernertivartivit!
The settlement of Qernertivartivit is a permanent home to only around 100 people. It must be a hard, hard life here – extremely hard! We spent an hour wandering around the houses and the only small store, owned by the same company which owns the two shops in Tasiilaq.
The small houses were strung out a long the rocky shoreline.
We wondered if this sleek yacht belonged to someone in the village but thought maybe not – perhaps another visitor.
The sun’s out, the washing’s on the line but there’s still a lot of ice out there in the waters around this small island.
Fish hung out to dry – maybe for a winter’s meal or two when the water is frozen over.
They say a picture tells a thousand words – there’s a story to be told about this house. I wonder what happened.
I hoped that people who owned this house hadn’t been burned or injured. If they did, they would have had to use the helicopter to be evacuated. There is a helipad marked out on a flat piece of ground at the far end of the village where some supplies are brought in during the winter and for emergency evacuations.
And if they had perished in the blaze, or for that matter, when any of the inhabitants dies, they have to be buried in a very rocky cemetery. The ground is so hard and rocky that it is impossible to bury a body under the ground, so rocks and sods of moss are used as a covering. When we visited the cemetery we saw the odd bone exposed.
From this vantage point we saw across the bogs filled with cotton grass, across the ice filled waters, and look up the fjord to where all the ice was coming from. There are a couple of glaciers here that empty into the head of the fjord. The whole area was jam packed with bits of ice, some of the bigger ones we could hear creaking and crashing as they split apart.
This ‘get-down-low’ view across the arctic cotton grass gives a different perspective to the ice flow.
No matter where we walked on this small island, the views were spectacular. We would have to make our way through those ice chunks when we returned to the boat to continue the cruise. That, I was looking forward to.
Climbing down over the rocks gave me the chance to photograph some of those reflections in the mirror still water.Apart from the great drifts of snowy white cotton grass, there was the odd late summer plant still showing its colours like this pink sea-side Thrift.
All too soon, our hour on the island and in this small settlement was up and we made our way back to the boat for the next part of our fiord cruise – and that will be the subject of the next musings. D
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