Day 3 |
Sep 05, 2011

Skjoldungen Fjord, Greenland  

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 63° 11’ 11” N, 41° 15 05” W
Air Temperature: 6,2°C
Pressure: 995 hPa 

Alarm clock ringing at 06:20! An early morning. We were meant to enter the Skjoldungen Fjord at about 06:30. So the first thing I did, I switched on the TV and put on channel 8, “Bridge Camera”. I could see land, and quite some icebergs. So we were there, as planned. I changed to channel 1, “Nautical Information”. Here is also the actual outside temperature visible. 3,4°C. I left my nice, warm bed and looked for an extra layer to put on. At 06:30 I was out on the deck with one of my colleagues and a handful of guests. It was still a bit dark, but it was good light for the icebergs. So I took quite some photos. I was just thinking what a great moment a lot of guests would miss… and just in this moment, as if he had heard me, there was the voice! Conrad, our Expedition Leader, made an announcement by the public system, that it was worth getting up to see this great scenery. And within the next half hour more and more guests joined us on the outer decks. And not a single one seemed to be disappointed. Our Captain even circumnavigated a particularly beautiful iceberg with the Silver Explorer.

At 07:30 I went for a quick breakfast in The Restaurant, then went straight back out as the landscape was magnificent. We sailed into this steep, long fjord. And on both sides there were quite some glaciers, some of them even reaching the waterline. At about 09:30, we reached the Thrym Glacier. It was one of those glaciers reaching the water. Its front was about 40 meters out of the water. We offered a Zodiac tour along the glacier front.

It is always fascinating to drive with a Zodiac next to a glacier. It is just a different perspective than from the ship. Everything looks even bigger. But also to pass the small icebergs, which are the remains from former calving at the glacier front, is something different with a Zodiac. So I managed that guests could hear the cracking in those icebergs. We even got a small piece of ice in the Zodiac, so everybody had a chance to touch it. Maybe this ice was more than thousand years old, hard to say, but more than likely it was. But what are a thousand years if you think about that the surrounding rocks have an average age of about 3 billion years! Yes, about years! It was a great cruise, and the hotel department did their part to make it even better. They were also out with a Zodiac and offered champagne and canapés. What else could you ask for?!

Back onboard I had a quick lunch, as I wanted to follow as much as possible of the fjord on our way back out. More glaciers showed up on both sides, and there were some remarkable ones amongst them. There were two that were perfect for a textbook, with all different kinds of moraines. At about 15:00 I was so cold that I went back in, and anyhow the weather had become a bit unpleasant.

At 15:30 Juan Carlos, the other geologist amongst us lecturers, gave a talk about plate tectonics. He had nearly finished his talk, when the voice, Conrad, made an announcement that there were some whales around. So again I went back out. And there were at least 5 fin whales close to the ship. Our Captain managed to maneuver the ship in a way that the whales stayed with us and everybody got a good look at them.

So at our Recap & Briefing it was obviously the first topic to talk about, which Robin, our onboard marine biologist, did. I spoke a bit about the ocean currents, the sea ice and drift ice situation around Greenland. Luqui, our glaciologist, spoke about all the glaciers we saw today.

After the Recap & Briefing there was a small cocktail party with all 16 guests who had stayed on from the previous cruise were invited.