My first impressions of Greenland
Alice continues on her journey to Greenland on MS Fram; Viking ruins and remote islands.
**Continuing on with Alice's day to day account of her journey on MS Fram's Greenland Glaciers and Ice voyage. **
As we had a few days at sea, the program had been filled with a variety of lectures, entertainment and we had to finish off the rest of the bridge visits. It was also a good time to get to know my fellow travellers a bit further.
I kept busy with trying to spot the whales everyone said they had seen and seabirds - which I had been learning about. I enjoyed lunch, dinner, relaxed in the lounge bar and I of course visited the bridge.
I did not have any luck with the whales nor could I name the seabirds I saw, but I manage to attend all the lectures, which were extremely informative and a good preparation for what was yet to come.
I was informed Denmark Strait is known for its rough waters, but on our crossing, it was quite calm.
Our last sea-day was a bit misty, however that did not prevent our excitement from building up as we were approaching the southern tip of Greenland, evident from our first small icebergs we could see, which were only a small taster to what we were going to experience in the coming days.
We were running ahead of schedule, which was great news as we were told we had time to explore Hvalsø or Hvalsey (Whale’s island), where we would see the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period; the former settlement of ‘Austurbygd’. Hvalsey was abandoned in 1408, where the last Viking wedding was said to have taken place.
However, when we got there, only the Discovery channel filming team disembarked as some changes had been applied to our sailing itinerary – we are on an expedition after all. We did however get close enough for a few awesome shots.
Next stop was Qaqotoq, capital of the Southern Fjords. As we sailed in, I noticed the beautiful coloured houses on the hill and some of the inhabitants were waving us in from their balconies. Qaqotoq is also home to the exhibition “Stone & Man”, forty sculptures carved all around the city, many of them carved right out of the surrounding rock face, which was absolutely fascinating. I had time to locate some after my excursion.
I opted to participate in the Great Greenland Tannery excursion. The most important livelihood in Greenland remains the hunting culture. Great Greenland is the only tannery in the country and we saw the beautiful sealskin and polar bear furs and went through all the processes used to treat the furs prior to producing a finished product.
I was left with a good first impression on Greenland & Greenlandic culture and I was excited to hear about what the others had experienced at dinner that evening.