Day 3 |
Aug 01, 2008

Skjoldungen, East Greenland

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Latitude: N 63°27.890`

Longitude: W 041°54.710`

Today was a good day. After having enjoyed one more hour of rest because of the time zone change, we woke up to happily notice that the fog, which had prevailed since we left Reykjavik, had vanished. Instead we found ourselves on the Greenlandic side of the Denmark Strait (which had treated us kindly), and in front of the rugged east coast of Greenland. The approach to the island of Skjoldungen was dramatic, with jagged peaks sticking out of the ocean and outlet glaciers pouring down the slopes. 

At 9:45 am, Dr. Tony Huntley gave an interesting lecture entitled “What is a Marine Mammal?” followed by Camille Seaman with “Photography 101” at 10:45. Tony explained the differences and similarities between bears, otters, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, porpoises and the occasional mermaid, while Camille gave us practical tips on how to take better photographs. Our Head Sommelier Karolina offered a Martini tasting session at 11:30, and lunch followed.

Meanwhile, and since 10:00 am, we had been sailing into the spectacular fjord that runs along the northern side of the island of Skjoldungen. The scenery was breathtaking: a fjord with almost vertical walls of gneiss rock that rise from a depth of 700m in some places, to heights of up to 1500m. Truly an impressive place. Under a blue sky, the fjord zigzagged its way, continuously revealing nice views of glaciers, peaks and valleys. At about 1:00 pm, we entered the “The Channel of Darkness”, which led us to Dronning Marie Dal, the place of our landing.

Most guests came ashore and were split into long and short hikers. Soon enough the tide came up and blocked the beach passage for the last group of hikers that had to tackle their way inland to avoid the water. The landing site was then relocated near the mouth of a small glacial river, and from this point some short hikes were carried along its margins and the tundra. And then midges and mosquitoes showed up in great numbers and this turned the hikes into a “character building experience”. Once back on the beach, some opted for a quick dip in the water, while most returned to the ship. On the Zodiac ride back to the Prince Albert II, a small detour was made to see a nearby glacier.

At 6:45, recap started but after only a short while, it had to be cancelled due to the grandeur of the landscape, it was something not to be missed. A beautiful and seldom visited place indeed.