Day 13 - September 6, 2013 - Maniitsoq, Greenland
By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist & Ornithologist
Co-ordinates: 66˚56’27 N, 053˚48’ 59 W
Air Temperature: 9.6°C, 49°F
Pressure: 986 hPa
We arrived at Maniitsoq at 8:30 this morning and when we reached our anchorage, it became clear that even though the wind had died down during the night, the swell was still too large for us to launch our boats. As we stayed at the anchorage I could feel the ship being moved by the swell and a 2m swell is not safe for our zodiac operations. It was decided by our Captain Maggie and Expedition Leader Kara to push on towards Sisimiut, the next day’s stop.
This would mean a day at sea, which is by no means relaxing as our expedition team are ready with lectures to keep everyone interested. The first lecture was by our geologist, Stefan who gave a lecture on the 4.6 billion year history of the world. Fortunately, it didn’t take that long and was extremely interesting, as he covered the rise of animals and major extinction events.
The mid-morning lecture slot was our Viking archaeologist, Colleen, who gave a fascinating lecture on the World of Vikings. Here she talked about the trading routes, clothes and activities of the Vikings, which is particularly important in Southern Greenland.
After lunch, I gave a lecture titled “Climate change: the Global Carbon experiment,” which was well attended and had numerous questions. It is always a tough topic on the ship as there are so many view points regarding climate change. I like to keep the lecture as non-controversial as possible and stick to what we know and have experienced on the trip.
Shortly after my lecture, we crossed over the Arctic Circle, 66.5 degrees North, which is a milestone for many and the place on earth that has 24 hours of sunlight once a year. After a short break for tea, we gathered again in the theatre for our recap and briefing on tomorrow’s activities. Chris Cutler, our Biologist, spoke of the fish and fishing industry in Greenland, which is a question we often get asked about. Sue showed a short video on the challenges of filming in the Polar Regions and Franz gave a fascinating talk on ravens, which we have seen at many of the small settlements. He showed an amazing video of ravens using and making tools to retrieve food, as well as explaining how ravens can communicate about events that are not in the direct locality.
We had a short break to get ready for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party where Captain Maggie gave a short summary of our trip and brought up many of the crew on stage to thank them.
But our evening was not over. As we had docked in Sisimiut early Kara had managed to organize a troupe of performers to come onboard and sing traditional songs after dinner. Not only was the singing beautiful, but the singers were dressed in their traditional Greenlandic costumes, which have colourful beadwork that everyone enjoyed.
We are all looking forward to a quiet night with no bumping and moving against the waves. Ready for another busy day in Sisimiut tomorrow.
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