Back to gorgeous sunshine today. Little glinting diamonds sparkled on the water. We cruised along the incredibly glorious mountainous coast to visit Evighetsfjorden, the “fiord of eternity,” to see a glacier upclose and personal, and go for a hike.
Before breakfast, a call went over the PA, a whale or two had been spotted on the port side. A crowd subsequently gathered with binoculars. The whale spouted several times about a half km away, –double spouts, which meant it was a bowhead. There was speculation that it could’ve been a mother and calf. I saw only one dark ridge of a back and a tail fin as it dived though.
We anchored during breakfast with the first zodiac tour scheduled for 8:30. When I got down to the gangway loading room, (which incidentally has stainless steel walls, ceiling and floor) Matthew James directed us to a plastic tub of hats. There were a variety of unusual (crazy) plush hats to choose from, some were fish, others zany animals. I chose a crown. Brian was my zodiac driver with the horse’s head.
When zodiacs were fully loaded, we zipped around the boat and headed to the end of the fiord to get a closer view of the Maniitsoq ice sheet. The ice sheet is 58 X 41 kms in size. The snout of the glacier, where it comes down the mountain valley to the water between snow peaked rocky mountains is a 30 metre high cliff of white and blue ice. While we were watching a couple of chunks calved off the glacier, which revealed very old, deep azure blue ice beneath.
We respectfully kept our distance from the glacier. The snout of it was divided in half by a short peninsula, the rocky cliff face of which was the residence of hundreds of noisy birds (probably murres, but I can’t recall).
Apparently, a decade ago this peninsula was hidden behind the glacier, which has significantly receded. On our second cruise of the morning, the tide was out and more of the scree beneath this cliff was visible. Pieces of corrugated clear glacial ice floated in the murky brown water around us. These pieces are thousands of years old. Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on the planet.
Heading back to the ship, we watched as Milbry Polk dipped a huge painting of three polar bears in the glacial water below the glacier. The water would cause the paint to run dramatically. This is part of an art project through the Explorers Club, to raise awareness of melting ice and how it is affecting the Arctic. The painting had been dipped in waters off Baffin. She and Stefan, Linda and Jessie lowered the painting in the frigid water closer to the glacier, then headed back to the ship. An enormous chunk of the ice broke off and crashed into the water, seemingly close to where they had been, but of course, they were far enough away.
Then the ship weighed anchor and we cruised through the fiord closer to where we would land. The scenery was breathtaking, snow peaked mountains Caribean blue water.
After lunch we went ashore at one of the fiord’s coves. Upon landing, we were fiercely swarmed by mosquitoes. This part of Evighetsfjorden, the beautiful “fiord of eternity, was for anyone without a bug hat, the fiord of eternal mosquitoe hell. Some folks didn’t last and headed back to the ship not long after landing.
There were many lovely little flowers growing in clumps among the rocks and hummocks of turf. There were three sort of levels to the climb and each one had a lovely little pristine lake.
The third at the summit was the top of the valley, surrounded by mountains. The views of the surrounding mountains with the aqua coloured water in the bay of the fiord below offered incredible photo opps. We spent several hours exploring the valley.
Late afternoon, we reluctantly headed down the hill to catch the zodiacs back to the ship. Despite the bugs, it was a fabulous landing spot.