In the morning I accompanied one of the walks around town with our local guide Nina, who had been born in Denmark, but moved to Greenland when she was small with her Greenlandic father and Danish mother. Most locals are a mix of Greenlanders and Danes.
It was a bit of a blustery day, with light rain, but it was a great chance to stretch our legs and see some interesting sights in this lovely town. Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland, and has a mixed economy based largely on shrimp and turbot fishing.
We strolled around for a couple of hours, amongst the colourful houses. Particular highlights on the walk were the lovely native Greenlandic dogs – some of the strongest working dogs in the world. These are the only dogs allowed in Greenland apart from the custom officer’s black Labrador! We saw dogs throughout the town. Dogs were formerly very important for hunting but nowadays they are mainly used in the growing tourism industry. Many guests enjoyed the opportunity to interact with three very friendly puppies.
Another highlight was the visit to the fascinating Sisimiut museum. This was an excellent ethnographic collection including various Saqqaq artifacts, which were excavated at two renowned local sites. We all had the opportunity to sample some local delicacies including seal soup, dried cod, seal meat, minke whale blubber (also known as Muqtuq) and dried caribou. This was a great success, with most guests being very adventurous and trying some interesting new flavours!
Several guests bought items from the Greenlandic crafts market, including traditional beadwork items and stunning carvings. I personally enjoyed visiting a shop which specialized in selling Qiviat – or wool from the musk ox. I purchased a lovely beret – it reminded me of a trip I’d had photographing musk ox in the Arctic some years back.
After lunch, I gave a talk about some of my experiences working for the BBC Natural History Unit on the series “The Blue Planet”, including working with polar bears. Of course, it can take many weeks in the field to get a very short sequence of just a few minutes on screen, and many guests remarked that now they would be thinking of the living conditions for the camera crew when they next watched a wildlife documentary!
In the late afternoon our Expedition Photographer Richard Sidey showed his excellent film of our voyage. My favourite moment was seeing the beluga whales. He really captured the atmosphere of the places we had visited. Another great day.