Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Greenland, Part 3

Camping in Greenland is a delight. At night we could listen to grumbles, crashes and bangs from the icebergs. Often this would be mixed with the noises of whales blowing. Most evenings we spent whale watching.

One evening we had a more nosy visitor.

And sometimes we just enjoyed the sights.

All in all a wonderful place, enjoyed with fantastic company.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Greenland, part 2

A large part of the attraction of arctic paddling is the ice. It's also dangerous stuff, with the potential for exploding icebergs, calving glaciers and drifting pack to make progress impossible. There was relatively little of it about this year, but it remained spectacular.

The glacier in the background here is coming straight down from the icecap. There are hundreds of miles of ice stretching from here to the west coast.
Picture the Cuillins of Skye, with glaciers, and stretching on seemingly endlessly.

We did visit some small settlements, which gave a limited opportunity to restock.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Very ColdWetWater - Greenland, part 1

I've wanted to visit Greenland for many years. It's one of the wildest countries on earth, and spiritual home of the sport of kayaking. It was with huge excitement, therefore, that I joined Martin Rickard of Sea Kayak Adventures for a trip to East Greenland. Martin has been exploring the area for many years, and has huge experience and a multitude of stories. He also has a very big gun, which is an essential item due to the risk of polar bears.

Our arrival point was Tasiilaq, the largest town in east Greenland, with a bit over 2000 inhabitants. Though at first glance quite attractive, it's a pretty dusty, grimy sort of a place, with some of the social problems of the country all too evident.
From here we set off for 2 weeks of wonderful paddling.

With a surface area that would easily swallow up the UK, France, Germany and Spain, Greenland has a population that would fit in a good size football stadium.
Hunting is still a large part of people's lives, and this might not sit well with western European sensibilities. We camped, sometimes, at ancient sites of habitation. There were remains of the mud and turf houses of long dead communities.

It wasn't unusual to find ourselves beside graves.

Some campsites were at summer hunting cabins, still in use. We were allowed to stay in one, and generously given some delicious fish to eat.

Campsites were sometimes bare rock, and running water was hard to come by. Bathing was either rainwater pools or in the sea, with ice cubes.

We had to keep a bear watch at night, and a bit of practice with the gun was needed (by me at least).