The expedition has now picked up again. We are sailing southward through the bright night downwind with good currents and with over eight knots. It is good to catch up on some lost time and everyone on board is enjoying the speed we are making. Today we want to cross the Ikerasassuaq (Prince Christian Sound) which shortens the long route around Cape Farvel. We can expect a picturesque passage through steep mountain slopes.
We had our last crew change for the next five weeks in Kulusuk last Saturday. Freda has unfortunately left us and Elise, Frank, Alex and Volker have come on board. The airport in Kulusuk served as a radar station and military base until 1991. Today it is more like a countryside railway station with a living room atmosphere. The check-in desk, the check-in area, a restaurant and a duty-free shop are all in a room not larger than 50 square meters. Plaster is crumbling from the walls and a polar bear fur is hanging over the baggage claim area. The place does not invite passengers to linger longer than necessary and suffers from the fact that it is really only seen as an unavoidable transit station on the way to Tasiilaq. We now have eleven men and women on board and even the last bunk, which is usually used for storage, is occupied.
Before departing we stocked up on supplies and had time on Friday afternoon for various excursions. Brigitte, Thomas and Peter hiked through the Valley of Flowers and Freda, Kristian, Lauren and Justus climbed up the local mountain. From there we had a breathtaking view along the east coast to the south, of the inland ice to the west, of the city and the “Dagmar Aaen”, which looked the size of an ant, to the north and of Ammassalik Bay with a few small and larger ice bergs to the east. It is good to stretch legs – the distances on board are not very long.
The east coast is overwhelming with its steep mountains which rise up out of the sea and are separated by glaciers. The weather allows us to sit on deck hour for hour and just let this beautiful alpine landscape pass by. We are all elated and only the whales and the fulmars can distract us from this panoramic view. We are already making plans for our next trip to this part of the east coast. Now we are heading for northwest Greenland.
We only worry about how little ice there is. Our travel guidebook tells us that the icy east coast is normally firmly surrounded by thick pack- and drift ice in the summer. We, on the contrary, can sail directly along the coast – we pass a rare ice berg which is not a problem. Arved tells us that the passage through the sound to Qaqortoq, our next harbor, is often not accessible in the summer and it is often necessary to take the route around the stormy Cape Farvel in order to avoid the heavy ice and the danger of being caught in the ice. We surely will not have to take that route this summer.