Tuesday, September 20, 2016

North Baffin Bay
76° 20’N   73°W
-5°C  / 23°F
35 knot winds, SSE
6 metre swells (18 feet)
Time change: clocks ahead one hour

It was a rough sea that carried us across Baffin Bay to Greenland. It was the worst pitching and tossing we’ve experienced so far.Sept.20_2b.jpg


Everything not anchored down in our cabins slid back and forth. My dresser drawer flew open and fell right out with a loud thunk. I hadn’t realized that there was a hook on the side to       keep it closed. Walking down the corridor was tricky. The  ready-to-use vomit bags mysteriously appeared stuck in the railings along the walls. Fewer people were in the dining room.  At breakfast, the spray from a huge wave sloshed the dining room window on the sixth deck. (That made me nervous.) The starboard side decks were closed.

The big swell delayed our arrival at Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, so we watched Julia Szucs and Steve Smith’s movie Vanishing Point. The lead character Navarana lives in Qaanaaq and is coming aboard today to travel the rest of the way with us.

The seas calmed a bit as we approached Greenland. Icebergs heralded the island before we saw the spectacular mountainous coast.Sept.20_6a.jpg We anchored a distance from the ring of houses along the bay that made up the hamlet of Qaanaaq (population 650) with its backdrop of brown hills. The water was still quite rough and the scout boat bounded over the whitecaps to the town. David Reid and the zodiac returned with Navarana, and the advice that the conditions in the bay were too dangerous to land.  Another shore landing was cancelled.  😦


Instead, we looked at the town from the deck, and snapped photos of the majestic icebergs against the stormy grey skies. Then the ship weighed anchor and headed out of the protected harbour back into the rough seas. Qaanaaq marked the highest latitude we would reach of the trip at 77°28’N.

The ship’s course was now charted for Kap York to the south. We took in an afternoon of presentations or enjoyed quiet time.

After dinner, there was game of Arctic bluff in the Nautilus Lounge. Another Explorer’s Club Film Festival movie was also shown The Norse: An Arctic Mystery, which was enjoyed with popcorn in the Aurora Lounge.


About Season Osborne

I am a writer with a love of 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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