Day 7 - August 13, 2013 - Brattahlid and Itilleq
By by Uli Kunz – Oceanographer and Zodiac-Driver
Co-ordinates: 61°00’ N, 45°28’ E
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 10.1 °C, 50.2 °F
Pressure: 1001 hPa
Wind: 3 km/h
Shortly after 6:30 a.m., I jumped into one of our Zodiacs with the Expedition team and went ashore to Brattahlid, a tiny settlement in Erik the Red's former estate found southwest of Greenland inside the Tunulliarfik Fjord. The surrounding area still has some of the best farmland in Greenland because the inner parts of the fjord are well protected from the cold foggy weather of the outer coast. Erik the Red and his descendants lived in this area until the late 15th century.
Shortly after the arrival of our local guides, we disembarked the guests and led them on guided walks through the settlement, where they learned more about the life of the Vikings several centuries ago as well as the life of a farmer in Greenland’s modern times. The settlement is now called Qassiarsuk, and is one of the gateways into Greenland. Qassiarsuk has a large airport which has international flights to Copenhagen during the summer months, on the opposite side of the fjord. Our guests walked across fields and on small gravel roads, visited farms and stores and the remains of a building which probably was the first church in the New World.
During lunch, Captain Maggie repositioned the Silver Explorer to our next anchoring position off Itilleq. For the second time during that day, I became captain of my Zodiac and brought our guests to a little jetty. From here, we started for a moderate walk on a gravel road towards Igaliku on the other side of the peninsula. The clouds were low and it was raining, but our ambitious walkers were not at all deterred....”There is no bad weather if you dress properly!” After about an hour hike up and down green slopes, our guests made it over the hills to a small café where they enjoyed what is considered to be one of the best cakes in Greenland.
On the way back to the ship, I maneuvered the Zodiac closer to some of the beautiful icebergs which were drifting close to our landing site. The sky was still overcast, but the diffuse grey light created a beautiful illumination of the whole scenery and the icy sculptures glowed bright blue on the dark background, which made for some nice photographs. My face was also glowing with a broad smile as our historian Christian had managed to save me a piece of the delicious cake and brought it back to the landing site where I could have an enjoyable bite!
During our Recap & Briefing in the theatre, we left the Greenlandic Coast behind and entered the Labrador Sea in direction of Iqaluit, our port of entry into Canada. With favorable weather, we hope to enjoy a nice crossing and two days at sea filled with lectures, ocean views, and relaxing tea times in the Panorama Lounge.
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