18.08.2018: Back in Siorapaluk


Siorapaluk is the northernmost community in the world. It is at least the northernmost place in the world with the longest continuous settlement history. Only 40 people still live here with a decreasing trend. This has been home to the Inughuit – the Polar Inuit – since ancient times.

Brigitte and I were here in Siorapaluk six years ago. We are of course curious to see if we will meet our old friends once again. In 2012 – together with the two hunters Ikuo and Quidiugtuq – we undertook a difficult dog-sled expedition over Greenland’s inland ice. Adventures like these bring people very close together. We have hardly touched ground as one of the hunters Quidlugtuq approaches us and is delighted to see us. He recognizes us right away. This man, who is normally quite reserved, first takes Brigitte in his arms and gives her a big hug and then me. It is a very touching moment. The joy of seeing us again is genuine and is written all over his face. Time in these latitudes has a different meaning. What are six years? No matter how long one hasn’t seen one another, friendships once formed are ageless – they last for decades.

Avanersuaq-Expedition 2012

Together we find Ikuo in his house and sit for a coffee in his kitchen. We can see the “Dagmar Aaen” lying at anchor from the kitchen window. Of course both hunters want to come on board and see the ship. Soon after we are sitting together with the hunters and the crew in the comfortable mess-room and everyone has a steaming cup of coffee in their hand. It is cramped, hot and sticky but really cozy. Ikuo tells us the latest news in the region. We have brought a book about the dog-sled expedition for each of them. Neither of them can read but the photos they are on trigger their enthusiasm and cause bursts of cheer.

We exchange the latest news for hours and late in the evening the two go back on land. The next day we continue on with the “Dagmar Aaen” in the Robertson Fiord to the Mehan Glacier. A massive glacier tongue rolls down to the fiord from a height of 1400 meters. Here at that time we climbed up to the high plateau with the dog sleds. This was an incredibly memorable but also an exhausting tour. Standing at the foot of the glacier and reminiscing is very special. It is as if one is undertaking a journey in one’s own biography.



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Friday, 1. June 2018