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Iceland & Greenland Adventures - Part I

Author: Linda V. (More Trip Reviews by Linda V.)
Date of Trip: July 2005

We returned to the ship at 6PM and three Inuit villagers were onboard. We weren't able to get to Ittoqqortoormiit to pick them up, so they came to us. They will travel with us through the sound for the next three days. Their names are Scoresby, Emil, and Enu. Enu is only about 13 years old. They brought two Greenlandic dogs on board as well. They were cute, but extremely shy. We found them all up on the pool deck. Some crew members built a wooden structure to house the dogs. Scoresby dragged them (literally) one by one into the makeshift shelter. Hopefully they'll get comfortable in a few days.

We visited in the lounge, and I got to see a few of Frank's polar bear pictures. Oh my gosh - they were great. In one - the bear was holding the remains of the seal carcass in its mouth and you could see the flipper. Incredible. In another, one polar bear was leaping from one ice flow to another with its sibling in front. They were all amazing. I asked Frank if we were going to be able to buy prints from GAP of his photos. He said he wanted to give them to us, but has to get GAP approval first. An e-mail was sent to headquarters for permission. Let's hope so.

We enjoyed cocktail hour after the zodiac cruise. Nina, Renee and I polished off a bottle of wine, and Darlene and MJ worked on the Bacardi. We had our recap and briefing at 7:00 with Kim and company. She described and illustrated the path our ship had taken so far trying to get into Scoresbysund. We all gave the captain a big round of applause. Tomorrow we get up earlier - 7:00 - with breakfast complete by 8:30. Then it's time for the short, medium, and long walks on shore. We may see wildflowers or muskox. It all depends on whether we make it through the Sound. Later we'll visit bear island and lastly, the boat will try to go through a narrow fjord.

At dinner, Nina and I sat with the couple from Iceland - Biergen and Gundor. He is the "Iceman" and is helping the captain plan and plot our way through the ice. They were such a nice couple. He gave us pointers on what to see in Iceland and how to pronounce things properly. They are friends of Helena, the owner of Nonni Travel, and were invited on this journey.

Relaxed in the lounge after dinner...watching Frank's progress on the slideshow. Very cool stuff. We went in and out on the bow of the ship to capture more photos. The water was pretty still, and there were beautiful reflections. We even got a hint of blue sky as the sun was disappearing behind the mountain. It'll pop back up shortly. Guess I'll grab some much needed shut eye!

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 The Explorer - Day 5; Vacation - Day 7 Exploring Scoresbysund and Viking Bukta, Greenland

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures, and the whole of nature and its beauty." -- Albert Einstein

We had another great day in the arctic. Nothing that was originally planned happened as scheduled. Hey - you gotta be flexible in the Arctic!

We had a wake up greeting at 8:00 instead of 7:00. Due to heavy ice, we did not make as much progress through the sound. So we just hung out, went out to the bow and stuff enjoying the scenery - all the beautiful and colorful icebergs and mountains. We started out with lots of fog, but eventually got a beautiful sunny day. We went to a lecture from Jacky on ice. It was a bit of a snooze session. The afternoon ice was amazing. We just pushed and pushed through tons of it scraping and breaking it all up.

Nina gave me an acupuncture session when it started sprinkling outside. She had me stick out my tongue first (I guess to see if I'm healthy). She put in about 10 needles to see if it would help my shoulder problem. She put them in my arm, leg, shoulder, and neck. It didn't even hurt. Now my shoulder feels a bit better, and I have some more flexibility, but no where near normal. Maybe repeated sessions would help. That was so nice of Nina to do that for me. She has a successful practice in Malden, Massachusetts. She got her Bachelor's degree at USC and then had 4 more years of school for Acupuncture.

At 4:30 the group did a shorts and t-shirts photo session. I squeezed into a pair of Nina's shorts and wore my lovely Russian hat. It was fun. The pictures will be funny. Afterwards, Nina, Renee and I did our Charlie's Angels routine as Darlene took the photo.

Yeah! We got to do our first landing! Three different walks are offered - long, medium and short. All the walks give participants the opportunity to see and experience similar things but cater to different fitness/energy levels. We chose the long walk and were in the first group to leave the ship. There were probably about 25 people with Morten and Heidi. Morten was carrying a rifle in case we ran into a mean polar bear. This site is known as Viking Bukta. We had huge rocky mountains around us as well as a glacier. We trudged through the boggy muck and scrambled across rocks up the mountain to a little glacier lake. We all put on some insect repellent before disembarking. Greenland is known for its mosquitoes, and they were there to greet us. There was a large colony of Arctic terns on a small island nearby. The mosquitoes kept them very happy.

The walk was nice - very scenic. The shore was dominated by spongy polar vegetation. It was difficult hopping across boulders to make progress. We saw mosses and tiny wildflowers. There were also areas with tons of smaller rocks. It was a great spot. Plus we made it to Greenland! We trudged back to catch our zodiac to the ship. It was already after 8:00, but still perfectly bright outside.

Had another great dinner and rushed out to see the evening sky several times. The sky was clear again and the colors reflecting were amazing. We enjoyed a hazelnut soufflé for dessert and then retired to the lounge. Pretty soon we were all outside enjoying the evening sunset. Wow! The sun dipped down behind the mountain around 12:15AM or so. I managed to take around 25 sunset photos including one of our feet. Nina was wearing flip flops and my feet are attired in my attractive sheepskin slippers with the sun behind them.

We began heading down Fønfjord, but I gave up staying outside (I only had on my slippers and gloves - no coat). I toughed it out for 2 hours. Tomorrow we'll do some zodiac cruising and another walk. We may even see some more wildlife. We'll see! The expedition staff doesn't want to put it on the schedule - since it can change so quickly.


July 6, 2005 Wednesday; 3:10 p.m. The Explorer - Day 6; Vacation - Day 8 Fønfjord, Greenland

"To dine with a glacier on a sunny day is a glorious thing and makes feasts of meat and wine ridiculous. The glacier eats hills and drinks sunbeams." -- John Muir

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