Icebergs and discos in Disko Bay

Tags: David Noble

David Noble

My eyes opened this morning to a seascape of icebergs barely outside my cabin. We had moved much further north overnight, toward the Disko Bay area. The area is littered with icebergs that originate from the Ilulissat glacier, move through the Ilulissat ice fiord and dump into the ocean in Disko Bay.

The glacier is sick. It has climate change. As a result, the glacier is retreating at a lightning pace. Right now, it is retreating by 38 metres per day; over the last 10 years, it retreated by more than 16 kilometres.

We went ashore for a hike overlooking the fiord. On the zodiac ride in from the Grigory Mikheev (our boat), we whizzed past icebergs of every character. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that the aqua blue veins that permeate many of the bergs had been PhotoShopped in. Our hike was a bit surreal. Imagine a pick-your-pace meander across virgin snows, against a backdrop of as many icebergs as you want, in wonderfully clean, cool and crisp Arctic air.

By midday, we were back on the Grigory Mikheev, warming up with some hot carotty-squashy soup, and hearing rumours about a disco. Jarvis Cocker’s idea. On top of his warmies and wellies, Jarvis packed his turntables. He thought we should have a disco while in Disco Bay.

At 10 pm, Cape Farewellers took to Murphy’s pub in Ilulissat. This was surreal squared. Here we are, in a tiny little pub in a tiny little town, on the edge of mostly ice-covered landmass isolated in the far north Atlantic, enjoying an intimate and interactive with the Disko Bay Blues Band (a local band who it turns out is one of the most famous bands in Greenland) and an incredible cast of special guests. It all worked. This couldn’t possibly have been planned. Only an unlikely confluence of circumstances could produce this. It was fantastic.