ABOARD M/V SEA SPIRIT-We are out early today, off to see the glacier in Evighets Fjord. Like all Greenland glaciers, it is retreating. It is quiet this morning, no icebergs calving, but we keep our distance just in case.
Glaciers are the maternity ward for icebergs and the cliff next to this one is a maternity ward for nesting gulls whose discordant squawking dispels the otherwise serene setting.
No other wildlife shows itself and we don’t linger. As we head back to the ship, the overcast lifts a bit, playing peek-a-boo with us and a brilliant blue sky it has been hiding.
By lunchtime, the gray has lifted and wowzer! Those scrubby snow patched hills and cliffs all along the coast are backed by glorious snow-covered mountains. What a revelation.
Our visit to the settlement of Tandarmitt and its 350 or so residents this afternoon will be seen in a whole new light.
Like the other towns and settlements we have seen, the harbor is filled with boats, the hills with brightly painted buildings. At one point there was a code to the colors – yellow for medical facilities and churches, red for retail and storage, green for infrastructure and government – but that has been abandoned.
Leaving the zodiacs and the dock, we are greeted by an Inuit woman skinning, cleaning and cutting up the carcass. Nearby, a drummer and her troupe of young dancers perform. We watch both for a while before wandering through the village but in doing so we miss the opportunity to taste the liver, the best morel of the seal. Those who did say it was quite good. We learn from a flyer on a bulletin board that the ship offered a bounty for the first person to capture a seal for our edification.
Houses come with lines for drying clothes and wall racks for drying fish. The racks aren’t filled but the clotheslines are. The sides of the rocky finger of a hill that reaches into the harbor are lined with empty fish racks waiting for the summer’s catches.
Everyone seems to be reveling in the sunny and springtime warm day. Inside the community center, ladies of the community are serving coffee, cookies and buttered bread to their visitors and the dance group gets some of us to beat the drum. They beat on the underside instead of the top.
We head back to the ship but no one wants to be indoors. Many of us gather on aft deck off the Club, sharing drinks and experiences as we gaze at the mountains that surround us.
Speculation – will we or won’t we be able to reach the airport via the still icy Kangerlussuaq Fjord as planned and if not, what are the alternate plans – is rife. Consensus is that we won’t.
The evening is so pleasant no one bothers to worry. After a week with Sea Spirit’s Expedition team and crew, we know we can rely on them to handle whatever is needed.