We wake up with our fingers crossed.
We have been in Drake Strait which separates Greenland from Arctic Canada and, ice permitting, our goal is Disko Bay this afternoon, Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island tomorrow.
However, Anja Erdmann, our affable, multilingual, multitalented Expedition Leader has been giving us a daily ice update, always with the reminder that “expedition means change plans constantly.”
Expedition staffers add to our appreciation for Greenland and the Arctic by sharing their expertise with entertaining talks on subjects as diverse as the different varieties of ice, flora and fauna and polar photography. This morning is free, though, leaving us to enjoy the ship.
We make a beeline for the Club. Not only does the coffee machine make the best brew, the library is well-stocked and there is easy access to port and starboard sides of the deck in case we encounter something interesting.
We aren’t the only ones who like it here, so there is always someone to talk to, fellow guests, Expedition team members, the bartenders and/or ship’s officers and crew. All in all, a very pleasant spot to wile away a few hours.
Early in the afternoon our lazy day is interrupted. We feel the ship stop and hold our breath. Are we turning back? The news is good, we have reached the southern end of Disko Bay.
Suited up, out we go in the zodiacs.
It is cold, very cold, but anticipation warms us. Icebergs are huge. Some look like stately parade floats, others like whimsical animals.
Soon we hear the shout, “Whales!”
They are all around us, a pod of huge bowhead whales. If the polar bear is king of the Arctic, the bowhead is queen. They reach 65 feet in length, weigh in at 100 tons (humpbacks only reach 40 tons) and can live to be 200 years old. Those enormous heads can break through ice up to 6 feet thick. There are perhaps 8,000 between Canada and Eastern Greenland.
We see at least six and are thrilled.
While we were looking at whales, members of the crew, including our Croatian Hotel Manager Dmitar Potkontjak, went fishing. The catch, 60 to 80 kilos of cod and halibut. Dinner is exceptional.