Thursday, September 18, 2014

Latitude: 71˚38′ N      Longitude: 55˚66′ W
Speed: 10 knots          Wind: 9.8 knots
Temperature: 5˚C (41˚F)

Our 7:30 wake-up call is given in Swedish, followed by an English translation.

080-IMG_2477We can see Greenland but won’t arrive for several hours. We are amidst more ice now and see lots of stunning, building-sized icebergs. The sun is just coming up and the sky over the Greenland coastal mountains is pink. The icebergs also have a pinkish glow to them.

After breakfast Cam gives a presentation on “Arctic Bird Identification,” and Andrew and Susie offer additional morning workshops.1-076-IMG_2406

After lunch we anchor in Karrat Fjord, a glorious bay surrounded by snow touched mountains, showcases enormous icebergs. Some of the bergs look artificial as if they are made of plastic. We have a fabulous zodiac cruise in and around the icebergs to our landing spot on a flat, rocky stretch of Karrat Island.

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This is our opportunity to take the afternoon to wander and appreciate where we are. We spread out over the rocky mountainside. Some of us hike up the hill or check out the waves crashing against the rocks. I find a flat rock overlooking the bay and just sit and reflect on the phenomenal view of cliffs, mountains and ice. In the quiet, you can hear the distant rumbling of the glacier at the end of the fiord, calving off icebergs into the bay.

More plants are growing at Karrat than we found on Baffin, notably as a result of the Gulf Stream warming up the coast of western Greenland.086-IMG_2702

It is about five to 10 degrees warmer than in the Canadian Arctic. I photograph little flowering purple saxifrage and yellow mountain saxifrage. Some folks saw an arctic hare too.
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It was hard to leave such a stunning spot, but we cruised back to the boat amongst the icebergs.  We are served cocktails outside on Deck 5. 089-IMG_2734The amazing thing is the clear ice in the drinks was chipped off an iceberg by Liz and Jocelyn. A huge piece of it sits on the deck. It has absolutely no air bubbles in it and is clear as glass. It is 10,000 years old.

Karrat Fjord was a spectacular book end to Icy Arm Fiord, two incredible fiords on either side of Baffin Bay.

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Stefan treated us to a “Recrap” in the lounge at 18:45, showing us the fascinating scat he’d found on Karrat Island, mainly goose droppings. One dropping, he demonstrated was quite tasty.

Cathie more seriously discussed how the icecap of Greenland is 3,000 metres thick. Which means some of it is below sea level – phenomenal to ponder.

1-AC Staff NWP 2014 D4S3344 by Michelle Valberg

Our AC staff group shot on top deck in Karrat Fjord. © Michelle Valberg

Inuktitut word of the day APUT = snow. Susie explained there are 60 different words for snow in Inuktitut.

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About Season Osborne

I am a writer with a passion for Arctic history. After finding a photo of Capt. Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, who claimed the Arctic for Canada in 1909, I was inspired to write my master’s thesis on Bernier’s contribution to Arctic sovereignty. This ultimately led to extensive research into Canadian and ‘foreign’ expeditions to the North, which morphed into my recent book, In the Shadow of the Pole: An Early History of Arctic Expeditions, 1871-1912.
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