Day 6 |
Sep 08, 2011

Brattahlid and Itteleq, Southern Greenland 

By Luciano Bernacchi, Naturalist, Birder, Glacier Guide

Co-ordinates: 61°00´N, 45°28 W
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: 6ºC
Pressure: 1014 hPa
Wind: Very Calm

The Silver Explorer had spent the night anchored just off our landing site at Brattahlid, also known as Qassiarsuk, like most places in Greenland they have both a Danish and a Greenlandic name. I woke up early and after breakfast joined fellow Expedition Team members going ashore to start the day’s activities.

I attended to the guests at the landing site, and helped in the disembarkation. Soon after we began, all guests were on shore walking in this rural settlement, lead by a local guide together with one of the Expedition Team members. The site is well known for the reconstruction of what was possibly the first church on Greenlandic soil, built by Eric the Red’s wife after she converted to Christianity, completely against his will.

I was particularly interested in one of the local guides – a woman dressed in old style Viking clothes. She gave a lot on information about Eric the Red, and listening to all the old Viking history I could picture the place centuries ago, so remote but still the chosen place for early explorers and adventurers to settle down.

Morning went quickly listening to all these interesting stories and walking around the site, visiting the actual church, the ruins, the Inuit turf house, and the replica of the Norse log house. I also had a chance to point out some birds to the guests, such as Lapland Buntings or Longspurs.

The local guides joined us on board Silver Explorer for lunch, and for our repositioning to the afternoon landing at Itilleq. Another rural settlement, Itelleq (or Igaliku), has a population of about 55 people. This area used to be the religious heart of Greenland during the 12th century. After disembarkation, the 4 km walk started on an undulating gravel road, and luckily the weather was quite good.

Three vehicles did the trip a few times to offer rides to the guests who could not or didn’t want to walk, however most decided to walk. The views were great with meadows, gentle hills, hayfields, and more dramatic mountains in the background. I particularly liked seeing some of the local farm life, the typical ponies of the region with their long hair hanging to a side, sheep dogs, and people going about their daily activities.

After crossing the 4 km isthmus, the small settlement of Igaliku (a very green part of Greenland!) came into view as the road wound downhill. I had a quick walk around the site, and then some coffee and cakes with some of our guests in the local café. I returned with the first group to help at the landing site.

We had to return and leave Greenland for our crossing to Canada. The days spent in Greenland were a great combination of culture, ruins, scenery, local villages, ice, fjords, glaciers, and lots more!!!

In the evening, the Expedition Leader Conrad invited us to the Observation Lounge for a drink and to talk about the following days. Captain Alexander and Marcus, the Hotel Director, joined us for lively conversation. I finished my day in Greenlandic waters by sharing a fine dinner with guests in The Restaurant.