Thursday, September 03, 2015

Greenland 2015 - Johan Petersen Fjord

In Early July the sea ice off the East Greenland coast had failed to clear as it would normally during early summer. This meant that there would be no boats running from Kulusuk to take us to the Sea Kayak Expedition base at Tasiilaq. We took the unusual step of making this journey by Helicopter.

The 10 minute ride was spectacular. We flew close to a couple of places that we had camped during past trips before crossing Kong Oscar Havn and landing at Tasiilaq. The weather was gloomy and cold (2-4 Celsius) but there was plenty of excitement in town for the evenings football match.

Over the next few days, we made our way through densely packed ice-laden waters and headed around to the north side of Angmagssalik Island. This involves paddling the length of a 20 mile long channel called Ikasagtivaq. It is bound on each side by spectacular snow capped peaks and is a major highway for local hunters. Danish ex-pats refer to is as the E45 after the biggest motorway in Denmark.

We visited the settlement at Tiniteqilaq before entering Sermilik Fjord and its roving collection of ice bergs. The highlight of the trip was reaching the depths of Johann Petersen Fjord. In Previous years it had been clogged with huge ice bergs but this time it was surprisingly clear.

The back of the fjord is a frozen amphitheatre on a grand scale. Steep rock walls and ice-falls stretch skywards from the sea. Beyond lies the timeless expanse of the Greenland ice-cap. This place is an other-worldly experience where sometimes the loudest sound is of silence.

Many thanks to Martin Rickard of Sea Kayak Adventures for another wonderful adventure, and to  P&H Custom Sea Kayaks, Mitchell Blades, Clif Bar UK and Peak UK for their continued support.

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