Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Winding Back

Over the last few days we re-traced our route to Sermiligaaq visiting our previous camps on the islands of Storø and Gruse. With time in hand we could explore the remains of old Eskimo settlements and hike up onto the high ridges to take in the expansive views.

Soon after we entered the network of channels that lead from Sermiligaaq to Tasiilaq we stopped to explore the abandoned US air base known as Bluie East 2.

Bluie East 2 was hurriedly abandoned in the early 1950s. The local hunting communities made good use of the furniture and fuel that was left behind. Some of the truck engines remain in use to this day on fishing boats. The trucks, mangled hangar and some 100,000 oil drums make up a bizarre rusting wasteland that stands as a decaying reminder of the 'Cold War'. A blot in an otherwise pristine sub-Arctic wilderness.

A forecast of poor weather combined with news of a volcanic eruption prompted us to make a dash for Tasiilaq in order to wind things up and sort out our kit before strong winds and heavy rain would make this task a great effort.

It was a bit of an anti climax to return early but the underlying memory is of an expedition to a majestic coastline with such scale that I could not have imagined. The glaciers, the cliffs, the bergs and the Northern Lights were all so much beyond what my dreams could conjure up. 

As for Lake Fjord and the Watkins memorial, they will be there for another time and another adventure... Finally, I'd like to pass on my thanks to Martin Rickard at Sea Kayak Adventures for his impeccable guidance and  logistics arrangements, Clif Bar & Company for keeping us all in healthy & nutritious snacks, Lyon Equipment for support with Ortlieb dry bags and Trek 'n Eat expedition meals, Mitchell Blades for my excellent 4-piece Bombora paddles and finally to Peak UK and P&H Custom Sea Kayaks for their continued support.

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