Sailing on to Greenland

By Dan // Tuesday 25 Sep // 16:19:39 // No Comments


Well, where does one start?

The students having lined up and said there farewells to the captain and crew, did an Inuit dance lead by Doriana which she had been teaching them as a way of having fun and keeping warm – it was fantastic to watch, full of energy, fun and vitality. Then they realized that they had to go which became very emotional for many, lots of tears, really felt that they were leaving part of a much loved family. The cross over at the airport didn’t allow enough time for them all to meet the next arrivals, which was a shame. They generated such energy; I already miss their company.

The others arrived with even more language and kit than the first group, which soon piled up to be a mountain of cases, bags, boxes, flight cases and scientific equipment. Unimaginable where on earth this stuff would fit on the ship, but somehow we managed to squeeze it all in. Our cabin now has just enough room to open the door and stand in and I’m sleeping with a box of art materials -my computer and cameras in the bed.

After a quite night moored again in Trygghamna and a walk on the shore to a Glacier, which was sublime, and a much need last step on land before we headed out into the Greenland Sea.

Unfortunately there has been very little wind, which means we’ve been travelling on mainly on the motor, the sails have been raised and briefly in the night we managed 8 knots. The swell so far has been very little and nowhere near as rough as I had anticipated, (although perhaps it’s early days to mention this – as we now have only been sailing 17 hours). We saw a whole bunch of Dolphins swimming passed in the early evening.

The watches have been set -everyone is expected to do two, two-hour watches every 24 hours. I’ve been given mid-night to 2am. and mid day to 2pm. with Gert the Captain, Amy, Vikram and Ko. Our fist watch last night was just so much fun standing outside in the middle of a blizzard the snow whirling around the sails and settling on our clothes -really very beautiful but certainly necessary to be well dressed. At around 1 am. Simon and Emily, two of the scientists had to be woken up to drop a CTD (they’ve been doing this every few hours). This is a sensor protected by a circular metal cage and 200 meters of cable, which is connected to a computer. As it sinks down through the dark sea it records the salinity, density and temperature sending live dater to the ship. The only problem with this is that you have to turn the ship into the wind and stop so that the device can slowly sink. Pulling this back to the surface is not easy but does warm you up, even if you hands get soaking wet and freezing cold. This all takes about ½ an hour, we then raised some sails the snow had stopped and we were travelling with wind power again. The wind was short lived though and soon the engine needed to be started.

Trying to sleep is interesting it sounds as though you’re in the middle of a huge dishwasher. The sound of water continually swashing around which is from the drinking water stored in tanks below our cabin and the crockery sliding around in the galley. Think I’m going to need a number of catnaps during the day to catch up.

Wind has now returned and there’s a fair bit of blue sky and sunshine and we are sailing again. Aminatu is playing guitar and singing, everything seems peaceful.

Few hours later the swell is up and it’s snowing again, but at least the wind is stronger and we are making good speed, now back up to 8 knots, means we’ll get there quicker although there are still questions if we’ll be able to get in to Scoresby Sund (the largest fiord in the world) as it’s mouth is covered by pack ice. Many people are sleeping or at least trying to and feeling somewhat seasick, luckily I’m still feeling good and enjoying every minute!

Tags: Dan Harvey