Once we had gone through the ritual of packing our kayaks, whilst feeding the local mosquito population, we managed to escape the insects and paddle out among the ice floes. A chilly breeze greeted us at the entrance of Kong Oscar Havn as we ventured out along the committing south coast of Angmagssalik Island.
A group of French kayakers were paddling in the opposite direction. They were just finishing their trip. They had seen two Polar bears in the last few days. The most recent sighting had been that day and the bear had been where we were intending to camp that evening.
Photo Julie Jones
As we paddled along the southern cliffs of Angmagssalik we marvelled at the experience of weaving our way through dense sea ice. However, it wasn't long before we encountered problems. At the most southerly tip the ice was moving swiftly in the tidal stream and lurching about in the ocean swell. There was simply no safe way through.
Photo: Julie Jones
We decided to look for somewhere to land and wait for the conditions to settle. The only landing we could find was in a nearby bay. The landing was not easy. There was a small rock ledge beneath a steep slab that led to a larger, more comfortable ledge upon which we could brew up and eat snacks.
After a couple of hours we tried again. This time the tide had weakened and the swell didn't seem as troublesome either. After a couple more miles of paddling through the icy waters we found a sheltered lagoon and an island. Our accommodation that evening would be a (bear-proof) wooden hunting cabin on the island with an overwhelming view across the water to a huge valley that time must have forgotten.