Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Melville Bay
76°13’N   72°14’W
2°C / 36°F
30 knot strong southerly winds
Six to seven meter swells

Enormous waves and excessively strong winds continued though the night, resulting in little advancement in our travels. TV screens outside the lounge and dining room constantly  display the day’s itinerary and the ship’s track and position. Looking at the ship’s track from last night, it looked like a strange triangle. It appears we went south, then blown north, and are back to where we started.

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Apparently, the winds along the Greenland coast, coupled with the number of icebergs in the waters make it dangerous. So we are travelling parallel to the coast, but not close to it.  Unfortunately, though, the waves are worse out  where we are in the open waters of Melville Bay.

At 08:30, as we planned to stop at Kap York, I gave a talk about the three large iron meteorites that came to earth there. In 1894, Robert Peary sought and located the meteorites that the Inughuit had used as a source of iron for their harpoons and knives for centuries. Peary went to great effort to remove/steal the meteorites and brought them back to the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

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The massive 31 metric tonne iron meteorite “Ahnighito” loaded on Peary’s ship in 1897 to bring back to New York. 

When I was in New York this summer, I visited the museum specifically to see these Greenland meteorites.There was a plaque about Peary removing the meteorites, but no comment on how shameless Peary was in his exploitation of people and things for his own purposes.

With the miserable sea conditions, we had to abandon our plans to land at Kap York. Instead, we decided to sail past Meteorite Island where Robert Peary had located the largest of the three iron meteorites for a look at the place of such thievery.

Lynn gave a presentation on Greenland’s glacial landscapes. The Greenland icecap is about 3,200 metres  (10,500 feet) thick.

Not surprisingly, attendance wasn’t as high at our morning lectures as in the past, mainly due to the pitching of the ship. Many folks preferred to watch the presentations from the comfort of their rolling bunks on the TV in their room.

The ship continued to plunge and rock through the sea.

sept-21_1 For anyone wanting to get a full sensory experience of the sea we were travelling through,the port side bridge wing was open.  I was one of the few who struggled up to take photos of the mighty waves crashing over the bow.  Lesley Ann from Newfoundland showed an impressive video at recap of an enormous wave rising right up over the deck and sloshing the camera lens. She definitely got wet during that shoot.

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Yikes!

The peregrine falcon is still along for the ride. It has taken shelter at the top deck at the back near where the zodiacs are stored in racks, and is riding out the storm with us.

The sea was still too rough as we neared Kap York, so we stayed our course and didn’t venture closer to the coast.  Lots of afternoon presentations, such as ukulele lessons with David Newland. However, Carolyn’s watercolour painting class was cancelled due to the extreme rolling of the ship. Later in the afternoon, I joined Michael, Barney, and Carolyn, for a book, DVD, and artwork signing.

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I bought Carolyn’s beautiful watercolour of Qilakitsok where we had visited in 2014, where the Greenland mummies were discovered.

At recap Jason promised to sacrifice himself in a polar dip for calm seas. Turned out we had endured gale force (not hurricane) winds ranging from 30 to 45 knots. –No wonder many passengers were green around the gills.The biggest swells we had were between seven metres high, or 21 foot waves. Imperial measurements seemed more impressive than metric.

The sun came out after 17:00, offering hope that the next five days would be stellar. Barney Bentall’s concert carried us over the waves.

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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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One Response to Wednesday, September 21, 2016

  1. I just love your blog Season. You are a truly fine writer. Thanks for taking me there!

    Like

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