W1610 – Sound Viewing

At the end of my last post, W1610 – Reykjavik too, I hinted that my next few posts would be about four wonderful days spent in Greenland. This post is about the first of those four days, when we were actually still at sea doing scenic cruising inside Prins Christiansund – Prince Christian Sound. This is a fjord, around 100km long, which separates the Cape Farewell Archipelago from mainland Greenland. We spent nearly all day slowly navigating the fjord from the eastern to the western end.

We were due to enter the fjord at around 8:30 in the morning, so after an early breakfast I tagged myself up in numerous layers to combat the cold and climbed up to the top deck with my camera and plenty of spare batteries, as they don’t last so long in the cold. Even before we entered the fjord it was apparent we were somewhere different from the large iceberg drifting between us and the coast:

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As we approached the entrance to the fjord we sailed close to another iceberg – this one had a hole through it – an early introduction to the huge variety of shapes and sizes of icebergs:

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At the entrance to the fjord there was a former weather station perched on the cliffs, with the steps leading up to it from the shore clearly visible. We were told that the station used to advise passing ships of conditions in the fjord and surrounding area, but that it had closed earlier this year as ships now get this information using the Internet.

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As we entered the fjord it was soon very clear just how scenic this cruising was going to be, with the rugged cliffs reflected in the still water:

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Before long we came to the first of several glaciers which feed directly into the fjord, and which are the source of the many icebergs and drift ice that we were seeing. Here the ship stopped for quite a while, and as before at glaciers it made slow 360 degree turns on the spot while one of the ship’s tenders went closer to the glacier to collect ice which would be added to passenger’s drinks later. Zooming in I could clearly see the broken nature of the glacier ice, and the lovely blue colours inside it:

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Eventually with the tender back onboard we continued on our way, and soon reached a second branch of the same glacier also coming down to the fjord. We were told that the two branches are known as Thor and Odin. At this glacier we also paused for a while, and hearing a loud noise I was just able to catch the splash as chunks of ice calved off the glacier and tumbled into the sea:

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Sailing on down the fjord past waterfalls it began to narrow, in places it is only around 500m wide. I decided there would just be time to pop down to the café for a quick lunch before we reached the next glacier.

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At this next glacier I again caught the splash of a calving, sadly I didn’t have the shear luck to have my camera pointing at the right place at the right time to catch the actual ice falling!

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After a while we sailed onwards again, and soon came to a bend in the fjord where the water was particularly still giving some beautiful reflections:

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As we rounded the bend I photographed this iceberg, noticing at the time the seabirds perched on it’s top surface. It was only later in my cabin when I reviewed the day’s photos that I also noticed the bird and the seal resting on it’s lower level:

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Nearby some more seals swam past our ship:

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After negotiating some bends we sailed towards the only settlement along the fjord, called Aappilattoq (sea anemone in the Greenlandic language), passing some fishermen from the settlement in their boats, and to my delight a whale as we did so:

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There are no road connections to Aappilattoq due to the mountainous terrain around it, so all communication is by helicopter or by sea. The settlement has it’s own school and fire station, and also a post office. We had been told that if we wrote post cards, for a fee when we reached Aappilattoq they would be taken ashore for posting at this remote post office by the ship’s ‘postman’ in one of the ship’s tenders. I have posted a card to myself using this service, it will be interesting to see if and when it arrives home.

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As we waited for the postvan – oops I mean ship’s tender – to return, the ship made it’s slow 360 degree turns. Close to the ship was this lovely iceberg with it’s beautiful and striking turquoise pool:

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Further away was another iceberg which caught my eye. We had been told how icebergs float at different angles in the water as they melt and chunks fall off, changing their centre of gravity, and this iceberg clearly demonstrated this:

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After quite a wait the ship’s tender reappeared, and once it had been hauled back onboard we continued our journey. For the last part of the fjord we had clear blue skies and bright sunshine, but as we sailed out into the open sea there was a big bank of fog rolling in. It was quite dramatic and atmospheric the way the fog rolled and swirled over the rocks and mountains:

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Once we had entered the fog bank I retired to my cabin to rest and thaw out, tired but thrilled with such an amazing day’s sound viewing.

Postscript Later a tannoy announcement by the ship’s captain brought us back on deck to see a vast iceberg up ahead. This was much larger than we had seen earlier in the day – it was longer than our ship, wider than the length of our ship and taller than it too! At first I thought it had a large crack running through it, but on closer examination it was a vein of blue ice. An epic end to an epic day’s scenic cruising.

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