We had been at sea for five days and were expecting to see the south coast of Greenland appear at anytime. Then a jerky sound from the engine and we turned back with damage to the variable pitch propeller – without my seeing the coast I had for so long dreamed of seeing and of setting foot on. This was followed by seven days at sea with perfect sailing weather – dead calm and a severe storm -after which we were towed the last stretch by a harbor tugboat to a pier on Iceland. We all had imagined our journey quite differently.
This year we had another chance to finally reach Greenland. For myself when I went aboard in Isafjördur ( and for most of the others as well) the stormy days of last year’s crossing were fresh in my mind and I wondered if the notorious Denmark Straitwould await us with similar conditions. The weather forecasts, however, promised something quite different and proved to be correct despite our skepticism. From sailing out to our arrival we had calm seas and little wind. It just had to work out this year.
We were not half way between Iceland and Greenland when we sighted the first ice bergs. I could hardly imagine at this point that we would sight many more and much bigger ones before arriving at our destination. This first spectacle being more than impressive, the coast of Greenland offered a thoroughly surreal image: On our third day of sailing, as we had just started our midnight watch, the coast was already visible to starboard. The snow-covered summits of the edged mountains stood well out against the reddish glow of the setting sun and out front of this breathtaking scene of course ice bergs. During our whole watch we couldn’t stop gazing in amazement – more and more icebergs appeared and with the increasing daylight, more details of the coastline became visible. We also sighted hunchback whales; some of them came very close to the ship.
During the noon watch we then arrived at the entrance to the fjord where our destination Tasiilag lies. Now, when the Dagmar Aaen lies at anchor before this small city which is situated on a hill with its colorful houses on a quite bay surrounded by ice bergs, I can hardly imagine that we have really arrived in Greenland. I am so very happy that it is true.