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Log Book (august09) 


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qaqortoq to narsaq

We met this Danish family in Qaqortoq and ended up eating dinner with them.  It was an extreme blessing to have met them.  It was difficult to leave them. 

 

Jannelle and Bianca, all ready for another day of adventure.  The bunk behind them is Jannelle's

 

A cruise ship shows up weekly and Qaqortoq puts on traditional dress and makes a show of it.  We were glad we left before they ship arrived and got to see the real place, without 400 more tourists.

 

We called the girls up from their books and told them they had to see this iceberg.  It's rough being a kid in our home.

 

Later, we ran into some ice pack.  Doesn't look to bad?   Try driving your car through without scratching it.

 

We got through with nary a scratch.

 

The day went by quick, and our eyes never got tired of seeing it.

 

Something new for us, clear ice. This is the ice in the iceberg that has melted and then refrozen, instead of just being compacted snow.  It is beautiful, but difficult to see in the water.  The ice kept us on our toes for navigating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some more ice in the future.

 

 

Our berth in Narsauq.  Seeing this mountain made me want to scramble up it like Roy and Gillian in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but I will leave that to my brother.

 

It is net mending season in Narsauq.

 

Precipice in Narsauq

 

The men of the village mending nets.

 

Happy to be on land.

 

Narsauq at Sunset

 

 

 

Still can't get over the blues.

 

 

 

On our way out of Narsaq.  We are traveling on the inside passage to Arsuk Fjord.

 

We spent most of this trip in utter awe of the scenery.

 

The Admiral at the helm. 

 

A fog rainbow.

 

 

 

This is the Knaecket, a narrow spot in the inside passage that shows impassable on the chart.  The locals knew better. 

 

Deb hard at work making sure we don't hit big nasty pointy rocks

 

This village, not on the chart, appeared out of the fog.  In fact, most of the things we saw weren't on the chart.

 

Our anchorage for the night

 

Sunrise as we make our way from Groenendal

 

 

 

Rolland at the Helm

 

Lunch underway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we felt like the Millennium Falcon going through an asteroid belt. 

 

Thanks for the hat Rachael.

 

Our trusty liferaft, the Portland Pudgy.

 

This is in the entrance to Arsuk Fjord.

 

Arsuk Fjord seems to have a little more green.

 

More Arsuk Fjord

I had Deb call the Danish Military on the radio and ask if we could use their dock.. We not only got a berth, but a shower and a weather briefing as well.

 

 

Nothing like an icebreaker, with guns.

 

 

Watch out for musk oxen.  They are grumpy.

 

While walking around we met some of the people who live on the base. This is John, who is known worldwide for his knowledge of rocks.  He spent about an hour showing the girls all the different rocks from the area. 

 

 

You can't know rocks unless you break them apart.

 

This is Anna, John's wife.  She hates rocks.  Rocks take her husband away, and ever time they have vacation time he spends it with geologists looking at rocks.

 

 

John is most certainly crazy.  This means that we got along great.

 

This is our sole musk oxen picture. 

 

 

 

This iceberg collapsed during the early morning.  We felt the waves from it.

 

 

 

When we woke up this chunk was sitting was right behind our boat.

 

One of these pieces of ice polished the edge of our prop.   Grrrr.

 

But they cool your drink.

 

 

This is the Arsuk fjord heading toward the glacier.

 

This is our first glimpse of a glacier.  I was a little disappointed.  You can see on the wall where the glacier used to be.   I am sure that Al Gore already has this picture in his notebook.

 

 

 

Here is Jannelle reading in bare feet.  You know, Yaawn, sure Dad a glacier, whatever.

 

As we got closer to the glacier the cold air runs down and blows a continuos 20kt wind.  This is Bianca.

 

As we got closer, it didn't seem so small anymore.  It actually was over 300 feet tall.

 

Again, the colors were amazing.

 

The stick is our Torbay tower supplied by Charles Marsh.

 

It is difficult to picture the scale of all of this.  It is also difficult to get the feeling across.  Everything is under tension, and groaning and creaking and cracking.

 

 

 

 

 

On the way out we used the wind to sail.

 

A lifelong dream fulfilled.

 

Our next stop was Ittivut, and abandoned mining town. 

 

When I was a boy, my father took me to an abandoned mining town on the way to Alaska.  I was glad to be able to take my girls to an abandoned town myself.

 

We explored everything we could get into.

 

Black stones for women and white stones for men's graves.

 

 

 

This is probably as nice as a truck as Bianca will get for her first vehicle.

 

 

Jannelle, in the truck. 

 

Arsuk fjord to nuuk

 

 

We left Arsuk fjord for the open ocean.   The difference between the inland anchorage we spent the night in and the open ocean was a bit of a shock for our systems.  Jannelle got seasick again, but recovered after one night.  We spent the first three days tacking back and forth waiting for the wind to come from the right direction.  When it did, we had easy downwind sailing for the next couple of days. 

 

 

This was our anchorage the night before we left, very close to the village of Arsuk.  This was a place of complete silence and majesty and we felt blessed to be here.   We purchased a new anchor for our time in Greenland and haven't used it.  We are still using our "old fashioned" and much maligned CQR anchor and are wondering what all the fuss is about the them.  

 

The amount of icebergs we have seen on this trip have been amazing.  We have seen other sailor's pictures of Greenland and didn't see as many icebergs.   The first two days of sailing we literally spent the entire time plotting the location of icebergs on radar and making course adjustments to avoid them.  With the automatic steering wind vane gear this is as easy as turning a ring, but it requires constant concentration.  It also isn't something we leave to Jannelle or Bianca.  

 

 

Every kid should learn how to play with their dolls at a ten degree angle  wearing survival suits. 

 

Our last night before making it to Nuuk was hands down our most beautiful watch we have ever been on.  There was just enough wind to sail.  It was relatively warm. The sun took all night to set, and the moon was full on the other side.  The camera again fails us.  So does language.  It was a night of unbelievable blessing and beauty that could only be met with tears and awe.  This one night makes us thankful for choosing to go left instead of right when we left the St. Lawrence seaway one year ago. 

 

 

 

The moon rising on one side.

 

The sun setting on the other.   Over lake Michigan the sun sets in ten min.  Because we are so far north here, it takes all night for the sun to set.

 

And then it starts rising.

 

It was an amazing night.

 

 

We are presently in Nuuk provisioning for our next jump, which will likely be in the Disco Bay area.  We have been guests of Tue and Lena this weekend (Aug 7-10) and have been blessed by their hospitality without which we would have had a hard time of it in Nuuk.   

august 7 nuuk

Nuuk is the capital of Greenland.   There are approximately 50,000 people in the country, and about 16,000 of them live in the capital.  We were greeted by two couples upon arrival.  Deb had made the connection with them through mutual friends who live in Newfoundland.  Tue and Lena (the couple furthest in) basically blocked off a chunk of time to just take care of us, provide us with showers, and laundry.  When you are sailing, it is people like this that bring tears to your eyes and you praise God for.  Deb is about to pull out some fresh made bread from the oven. 

 

 

 

Step 1: Climb from Precipice into the large wooden fishing vessel

 

Step 2 Climb into the next large wooden vessel

 

 

Step 3: Climb into the rusty old barge

 

 

Step 4:  Climb from rusty barge into boat being used as a troubled boys home

 

Step 5:  Climb onto the Wharf

 

Step 6: Climb 200 feet of stairs to the town. 

If the boat three places in needed to leave, they would move lines and glide out without any scratching and  bumping.  The crews of these boats were very professional and careful, unlike the small boats we encountered in the North.

 

Parking your small boat in Nuuk doesn't require fenders, or even a dock for that matter.  You just find two boats to squeeze between and ram your way in - no bumpers required.   Grinding fiberglass shavings included free of charge.  This is also how people would come up to our boat.  Just motor up and BAM! they were there.  Giving the approaching boat the stare of death didn't stop this practice.  A boat hook aimed at the person driving the boat would get people to slow down before they got close to you though.  The farther North we got, the worse this practice got. 

 

This is never a good thing to see.   Parking accident?  Notice the oil sheen from fuel leaking from the tanks.  This kind of thing is why you have harbormasters.  The thing we have found everywhere we have gone is that harbormasters are usually relatives of someone in power and generally worthless - hence the condition of most harbors we visit.  The only exception we have found to this is the harbormaster, Joy, in Nome Alaska who actually does her job and rules impartially.

 

Precipice fit right in Nuuk.  I would say that 30% of the vessels here are wood and Precipice was the youngest wood vessel in the bunch. 

 

 

This is a factory fishing ship.  The catch is processed on board and is ready to ship.  The only things that comes off of this ship are pallets of frozen and boxed product.  The ship only stays in port long enough to unload  product and take on supplies. 

 

The Trowbridges in Nuuk

 

The sculpture behind is is a representation of the sea, which according to Greenlanders is a woman. 

 

 

 

We got invited to a Kaffemik after church on Sunday.  A Kaffemik is a Grenlandic social gathering.  You show up at your host, and if the table is full, you wait your turn to be seated.  You  spend about twenty minutes there and then move on.  The weird part is that talking is optional.  Our host tells us that she will go and visit a friend and spend a half hour there and say little beyond hello and goodbye.  Fortunately for us, this Kaffemik was a little more talkative than that. 

 

 

Our host, Tue, (pronounced Tooah, sort of) has a brother who makes his living by hunting.  This is the meat market for Nuuk. 

 

 

Tue works for the local TV station.  He gave us a tour.  This is the news studio, so we decided to do our own news broadcast.

 

 

On Sunday, I preached the message in English which was then translated into Norwegian.   I had a couple of "Lost in Translation" moments where I would say a short phrase and then stand there listening to a paragraph  of words come out the translator's mouth.  I often would wonder if the same sermon was being preached. 

 

Soccer is important part of life here.  When we would visit peoples houses, there would often be a soccer game playing on the radio.

 

Bleachers for the game not Required

 

 

Bianca (10) in purple,  Jannelle (11) in green and my wife Deb in Black shopping in Nuuk, Greenland

 

 

 

 

Nuuk is a modern city for its size.   The people there tended to dress better than the average joe from Michigan or Newfoundland.

 

 

Thank you Lena and Tue for showing us so much love and taking such good care of us.  We miss you.

 

 

 

About two hours after we left Nuuk, Lena and Tue gave us a one boat flotilla goodbye flyby.  It took them about a half hour to catch up to us.