Sunday, 04. September 2011
Pos.: 66°02'35 N - 17°20'33 W
Iceland with is wonderful harbour Húsavik hosts us once again. This is not the first harbour we have stopped at since we left Greenland, but in Húsavik it feels just like coming home. Before arriving here we were in Isafjördur, but Húsavik is something special.
But Husavik is special.
Our friends from North-Sailing are awaiting us; we sail directly to the swimming dock right in front of Gamli Baukur – a very nice pub – tie up and then it’s time to celebrate seeing one another again.
We had mostly calm, sometimes foggy weather conditions without further incident during our sail from Greenland. After the ice conditions we had experienced in the north, we were very content about this. There were unusually large amounts of drift ice along the entire northern coast of Greenland. This is partly due to the fact that ice, which breaks up in the northern Artic Ocean area, is carried down this way by an ocean current – the so-called Eastern Greenland Current. And because great amounts of ice broke up at the North Pole this summer, and obviously an ice-melting record has been reached – most probably more ice will melt this year than in the record year of 2007 - there is an enormous amount of drift ice heading down the coast of Greenland. Obviously the ice has to go somewhere.
Our journey then from Kong Oscar Fjord southwards was, therefore, extremely difficult. But, sometime in the early hours of August 25th, we got through. It is always a small miracle to break through the last ice barriers and suddenly sail into open waters. The whole strain of the previous days and weeks just seems to suddenly fade. It is something like being set free. To top this off, we sighted seven (!) whales and two walrus - not to mention the many seals. It was as if Greenland wanted to show us its better side and make a good impression before letting us sail on.
Message in a bottle
After working its way along the coast in the meantime, our buoy, the “digital message in a bottle”, has continued its journey. It is now drifting (map) in the northern area of Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord and has just completed rounding Bontekoe Island. It is really quite exciting to follow the drift of this buoy and with it, the path taken by the pack ice. It might just be a good idea to set out more of these buoys from different positions during future expeditions – eventually with a web cam attached to them.
The classical “messages in a bottle” sent by the I.C.E. participants are on their way, too.
Ten altogether, all with the same message, but sent from different positions on the iceberg, are drifting along the coast as well.
As always there have been so many impressions taken and experiences made that it is necessary to let them sink in and to come to terms with everything. But first we have to concentrate on our journey home. It is already the beginning of September and the weather is starting to get less agreeable.
The first storms have already been through. Today we have a change of crewmembers: Agnes, Uli and Bernhard are on their way home – it was not very easy for them to say goodbye. We have been joined by Astrid, Raimund, Nils, Peter, Rolf-Dieter and Torben. The crew is now complete and we can start off on the next phase of our journey.
Expedition Greenland North East - drift of the digital bottle