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Day 4 - September 6, 2011 - Prins Christian Sund & Augpilagtoq, Greenland  

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 60º08’58”, W 044º17’14”
Weather: Blue skies
Air Temperature: 0ºC
Wind: Fresh breeze

When I think of fjords I think of Greenland, and when I think of Greenland I think of the dramatic fjords we have seen yesterday and today. It does not get any more dramatic in terms of landscape than the fjords of Greenland, and especially when you have spectacular weather like what we had today.

I got up this morning and looked out the window hoping to see what I saw, a beautiful blue sky and Prins Christian Sund in all its splendor ahead of the ship. After breakfast and a few icebergs, the Silver Explorer entered this narrow passage that connects the east and west coasts along the southern tip of the main island of Greenland. To the south lay many islands all the way to Cap Farvel, the southernmost point, which is located at the same latitude as Oslo.

The scenery was exquisite and the whole Expedition Team was out on the open decks enjoying the views and sharing our knowledge of the natural history of this remote part of the world with our guests.

Just before 9 am we came close to the Sermet Glacier, which is the southernmost reach of the Greenlandic Ice Sheet. Captain Golubev skillfully maneuvered the vessel inside this small fjord so we could all get good views of the glacier.

For the rest of the morning we sailed westward along this magnificent passage until we got to Augpilagtoq, a small and remote Inuit village located in the middle of the sound. At 1 pm the scouting party was ashore asking the permission of the locals to come and visit their community. They were happy to have us there and so we brought ashore our guests for a few hours so they could walk around and explore this small village, which has a population of only 115. The locals opened the church and even organized for the choir to perform for us! They sang beautiful songs in the Greenlandic language, as well as in Danish.

Augpilagtoq is a place that few people have ever visited, way off the beaten path, located in a spectacular natural amphitheater of huge granite cliffs rising almost vertically from the settlement. Near the landing site there were at least a dozen kids, all very curious and friendly. They spoke very little English; luckily hand language can go a long way. All afternoon little boats would come and go; often the locals would come back with the catch of the day, a ringed or a bearded seal. What an afternoon we had. We were blessed with great weather, magnificent scenery and warm people. It was a truly authentic experience, to be able to visit such a remote community and to interact with the local people.

We sailed on at 4 pm, and at 5:30 we had a Recap & Briefing, followed by dinner.

But that’s not the end of it. At midnight we dropped anchor in front of Qaqortoq and as the lights went off we could see a magnificent display of aurora borealis (northern lights) – one of nature’s most beautiful and captivating phenomenon.

This was certainly one of the best displays I have seen. The sky was flaring up and dancing in veils and flames in shades of green and white, at times very brightly. A Hollywood ending for a memorable day. 
 

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