Day 9 - August 3, 2013 - Scorseby Sund, Greenland
By Claudia Holgate, Ornithologist and Climatologist
Co-ordinates: 70º51.5’ N, 027º10.45’W
Weather: Clear with few clouds
Air Temperature: 10ºC
Pressure: 1016 hPa
Wind: 6 knots
We have yet another day of magnificent weather as the high pressure continues its magic, and we are ready for another very long day in Greenland to make the most of this incredible scenery.
The expedition team is ready at 6am for our first landing of the day at Cap Hofman, a beautiful spot where we had hoped to see Musk Ox. We weren’t disappointed as there were a few Musk Ox around but they were very skittish. We took the first two groups ashore for a guided walk to a lookout point where we hoped to point out the Musk ox and most of our guests had the chance to see them, even though they were a little far away. Unfortunately, they are very easily scared off due to the continuous hunting that has lead to only small numbers of these fascinating creatures being around.
The star of the day, however, was a smaller member of the arctic mammal group and that is the Arctic hare, a pure white and rather large hare, which most of the guests had a chance to see. We all had a good laugh at Rapa (Our historian) who is completely bald, as he was the first to spot the hare and called on the radio “I have a hare”. Regardless of whether we saw any of the wildlife, the scenery was spectacular, with still, calm conditions. It was a great hike getting to know the Greenland fjords.
We arrived back on the ship and went cruising down the fjord to a place littered with icebergs, where Robin, our expedition leader, decided would be a good idea for a polar plunge. I think it is cheating a bit as the water temperature mirrored the air temperature at 10 degrees Celsius and I think that double figures is considered too balmy for a polar plunge, but many of the guests and staff took the leap into the cold water. One guest described it to me as a full body facial, so it was clearly refreshing.
We had a quick lunch break, before being back out on deck as we ship cruised through Ofjorden, where the Captain manoeuvred us next to jagged mountain peaks that are 1951m high. It was breath taking, and words simply cannot describe the grandeur of these pinkish mountains that are over 1.2billion years old. We carried on ship cruising for the next 3 hours with massive mountain ranges rising up on either side of us, manoeuvring between huge icebergs.
At 5:30pm we had reached our afternoon destination up a small fjord where we offered a one hour zodiac cruise around some of the largest icebergs I have ever seen. Each iceberg was like a miniature glacier between 80 and 100m high, with the massive cracks and holes which have a stunning blue colour. I had taken my first group out and shortly after leaving the ship, the iceberg we were looking at calved a whole section of the wall of the glacier. We were a good distance from the calving, but had a good view of the massive splash and subsequent wave that followed. The ice was truly an incredible sight, but the highlight perhaps for some of the guests was the last “penguin bar”. The hotel department had set up a zodiac behind an iceberg which was serving champagne and snacks for our guests to refuel before dinner.
It was with great reluctance that we headed back to the ship, but by 8:30pm it was time for a fabulous meal in the restaurant and an after dinner drink with Lou playing the piano in the Panorama Lounge.
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