Posts from Friday 26 Sep

Jarvis Day 1

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Musk ox burgers are one of the faster moving offers in the Kangerlussuaq airport café. A butchered deer and freshly shot Arctic hare were piled in the back of a pick up on the quay. The closest we’ve got to fauna and a good reminder of the fact that the Arctic wildlife that to date I’ve known only as the subject of natural history films and photos is a (fresh, tasty, free) resource for Greenlanders. Hunting for it is a job for some and a favoured pastime for most.
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I am travelling through the sea at night and I am not sure which sea it is. I am in the Arctic, so it could be the Arctic sea.    I have travelled across the world to be here but I am not sure which countries I have passed.  I have no idea which hemisphere I am in. I think I am in the southern hemisphere but I am not sure. I can find out but at time of writing I am not sure.   I don’t know what time it is.

I am on a ship. I am not sure what it is called. I can find out. But what I know so far is that it is named after a famous Russian Oceanographer who has died; Gregory something-or-other.   I can’t remember his name.  But I can find out. One thing I am sure of. Gregory something-or-other  is dead.
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Greenland and the ship at last

You are not currently connected to any networks. My remote wireless connection won’t work because I am somewhere too remote. A backbone of water  slithers behind the ship as it bows  out of the fjord from Greenland. To each side  great warriors made of rock,  protectors of landmass,  line the coast and watch us go quietly.  The ship hums,  gallantly rises up and down as  waves dive to each side of stern.

Eyeballs can go pop

On top of my warmies, I’m bringing to Greenland with me a cough, a cold and some congestion. My pharmasaviour advised I take some decongestant before I hit the skies. I did. It wore off about just before I hoped it would. As the plane initiated its descent, I had some serious head pains. It kind of felt like my eyeballs were going to explode. There was definitely one of blood, sweat or tears coming from them. I got another decongestant down with a dry swallow, leaned back in my chair and prayed my little sudafeds were of the fast relief variety. Minutes later, I’m all right.
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The longest of long days

— Sorry, this video file has moved —
Steaming through the fjord leaving Kangerlussuaq, the journey begins.
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Plane landing at Kangerlussuaq

We could see the east coast of Greenland, indifferent, majestic, and there they were – icebergs from above!! Aaaarrr!! We were suddenly all toddlers, looking down on the little minty sailboats being shoved out of the nest of the shore, forced to take off on voyages from which they would never return. Ever diminishing, ever more alone. Gliding off into the vastness.

5 hours sailing down the gargantuan straight of Sondre Stromfjord, the light starts to get soaked up by the time. Like a waking dream. Milky green sea that looks alive. A beautifully perfected valley scraped out of the landscape as our guide, singing us out of its mouth. The weirdness. The spook. That half-light that makes you feel like the whites of your eyes are glowing. A low-lying cloud that turns a scottish landscape into a science fiction set. The boat is full and buzzing like a hive. The Belgian-Danish bar and restaurant manager Jan (Yan? Xian?!) has the best and weirdest burr on his r’s I’ve ever heard. Want to teach him the Ragged Rascal Ran tongue twister.

Sighting the icebergs

Despite having known from long time that I was taking part to this exceptional voyage, it didn’t feel quite real until I met the rest of the group at the airport, all geared up, enthusiastic and probably a bit nervous. It was really hard to imagine what it was going to be like spending 10 days with such an eclectic mix of artists and scientists. What was clear from the beginning though, was the positive energy end enthusiasm of the group, the sense of urgency and ‘mission’ that everybody shared, and the spontaneous discussions on climate change and politics that sparked at any occasion.
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The all important safety briefing

Joe Smith and Suzan-Lori Parks

No time to be fussy about personal style

The all important safety briefing
Jarvis Cocker dons life-jacket

Boarding the Grigory Mikheev

Ryuichi Sakamoto on the zodiac transfer as we boards the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq

Joe Smith, Marcus Brigstocke and David Noble boarding the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq
Joe Smith, Marcus Brigstocke and David Noble

Boarding the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq
Francesca Galeazzi and Ruth Little

Home for the next 10 days

Boarding the Grigory Mikheev
Our first glimpse of the Grigory Mikheev
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Arriving in Greenland

Mojisola Adebayo, first steps in Greenland
Mojisola Adebayo, arriving at Kangerlussuaq Airport, Greenland

Jarvis Cocker during the flight to Kangerlussuaq
Jarvis Cocker