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Day 2 - August 29, 2009 - Sisimuit, Greenland

By Rob Suisted, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 066°56.36’N 053°49.28’ E
Weather: Fine, no wind

I was up a number of times in the night looking out for the Northern lights that we’ve experienced recently, but alas they were not to show themselves in any significance.

We were at sea this morning, so it was great to catch up on a little sleep; it was long day yesterday embarking new guests to the ship by Zodiac. This meant a leisurely start for most before we ran the mandatory Zodiac briefing and the ship orientation briefings.

At noon, we had the Captain’s welcome cocktail party. Captain Alexander Golubev introduced us to the heads of departments on the ship, and promised to do his best to make a great voyage.  I met some interesting and well travelled guests; two in particular were keen photographers.  One couple I met had travelled down through the sub-Antarctic islands south of New Zealand en route to Antarctica; islands I’m very familiar with. It’s always great to meet others who share such a love of these wild, special, and seldom-visited places.

After lunch, the Prince Albert II pulled into the harbour of Sisimuit (Holsteinsborg). I like the feel of this town. It has a large harbour, with a small, tight fishermen’s wharf or inner basin, surrounded by rocky hills dotted with brightly coloured dwellings. It’s the second largest town in Greenland with a population of 5250 people. 

We disembarked the ship by Zodiacs and had an organised guided walk out to Teleoen, about 1km from the harbour, to see Saqqaq cultural ruins. Here we saw graves and building remains before heading back into village. There was a museum and souvenir shops to visit in the heart of the old town. The church here is the oldest in Greenland, consecrated in 1775, and many buildings dating back hundreds of years surrounded her, looking very picturesque with their bright colours and having the harbour as a back drop.

The Prince Albert II was able go alongside in the early evening to bunker fuel, which meant we could walk back onboard after the relaxing stroll back after our first visit to a Greenland town this voyage. Many of the crew managed to take advantage of a supermarket to collect personal items – not a trivial matter when you’re travelling in this neck of the woods I can assure you.

Then, at 19.30 hours we sat down for another wonderful dinner. Tomorrow is Ilulissat, one the most dramatic and popular locations in Greenland.  I’m sure many people will be opting for an early night in expectation of tomorrow’s activities – I am.

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