At sea from Keflavik to Tasiilaq
The new pull rod passed the test run in the bay of Reykjavik. It is Saturday evening, the atmosphere is relaxed and we are all relieved. The captain invites us all for a drink.
Early Sunday after customs were on board, we set sail for Tasiilaq the “Pearl” on Greenland’s east coast. The biggest city on the east coast on the Ammassalik Peninsula is a reflection of all of Greenland’s beauties, with all of the social problems which have arisen due to the radical changes in living circumstances. This is a city which is so remote that the shelves in the supermarket can only be refilled in the three summer months. This is a region characterized by the changes of a modern society in a “Big” city and by the partly nomadic hunters who live out in the fiords along the coast.
But this is still a long way off for us. The new crew members must first get accustomed to life on board and the one of other sea leg must grow on. We sail the first two days with a fresh breeze and cloudy skies under the rhythm of the watches on board. Our constant companions are the elegant northern fulmars who again and again make use of the up winds of the ship and the waves to glide along the ship’s side. On the second day we are accompanied for a while by a pilot whale family. The closer we get to the coast of Greenland the more often we also see mink- and humpback whales and even a fin whale.
On our third day the water temperature drops considerably, the winds turn to the west and let up considerably and the skies clear up. From now on we are on the lookout for icebergs. And promptly during our afternoon coffee, we see the first ice castle on the horizon – the radar shows a distance of 13 miles. From now on we must pay careful attention during the watches. There is an ice watch on the fore deck, but with the midnight sun, it is possible to spot ice chunks in the water all night. The big icebergs are not really dangerous; it is the small ones – the so-called graulers that are a danger. These ice chunks hardly show out of the water but weigh a few tons. A crash at full speed with one of these must definitely be avoided.
We reach the coast at 5 a.m. and now are sailing through a landscape which is normally found in fairy tales about ice princesses. But, it is obvious that the heat wave has reached here, too. Arved explains that he has never seen so little ice in this part of Greenland before. The sea ice or rather pack ice is completely missing, the ice covering on the surface of the water is thin and there are relatively few ice bergs. The sweet water ice bergs break off the glaciers on the east coast and are carried by currents down to Cape Farvel and wander on as far as Canada. We are able to reach Tasiilaq between the ice bergs with almost no difficulty.
There we are told by Arved’s friend the mountain climber from Tirol Robert Peroni that the first supply vessel was able to reach the harbor already at the end of June. He is concerned about the particularly stormy winter and tells us that there is a relatively great amount of snow in the mountains. The special weather conditions this year are also experienced in Greenland. Robert crossed the inland ice in Greenland already in 1983 and settled down in Tasiilaq. He makes us feel very welcome and we are looking forward to his visit here on board.
The “Dagmar Aaen” now lies at anchor like a painting in the ice bay in with the colorful houses of Tasiilaq in the background and we are looking forward to exploring the city.