Goodnight, Greenland

By Ben // Saturday 6 Oct // 22:21:04 // 3 Comments

No choice but to mail it in today, and offer a simple chronological sequence for a last day in Greenland that was so overwhelmingly awesome on so many counts, that it couldn’t have been scripted this way in any sort of fictional narrative, for sake of believability. Here are (thin samplings of) the highlights.

2:30 – Northern Lights produce a 5-minute sequence that includes rapid flickering, up-tempo wavering, a base of green, and a touch of red.  At least two of our crew find god.

9:00 – Sunrise over mountains, magical light.

9:30 – While Dan is casting a block of glacial ice, the Zodiac is headed for shore with a film crew, and Marcus is about to be thrown in the water wearing a survival suit, three marine mammals are spotted swimming in the general direction of the boat.  After some deliberation, and much disbelief, it is confirmed that these marine mammals are not, in fact, seals, but rather a mother polar bear and her two cubs.  Video with embarrassing commentary is captured.  Incredible luck (unlikely polar bear spotting on final day) is repeatedly noted.

10:30 – As threat of predatory polar bears has passed, Marcus is thrown in icy water wearing a survival suit.  Hilarity ensues.

10:30 – Polar bear progress up nearby mountains is tracked; position relative to Beth and Ko onshore is monitored.

13:00 – Lunch

16:00 – This correspondent takes a nap for the ages.

18:00 – First watch in four days as we make our way from Greenland. Sunshine and flat seas are a welcome reintroduction.  As we later enter coastal fog I say goodbye to Greenland for second time.

18:45 – Coastal fog clears.  Say hello to Greenland again.

21:00 – Sun sets behind mountainous coast of Greenland, light reflects in iceberg filled waters through which the Noorderlicht navigates, for a good while in the wrong direction, back towards Greenland.  Ice seems inescapable.  The absolute beauty of the sunset and it’s reflection off the ice field and the light surrounding could not be more diatmetrically opposed to the reality of what this backtracking (already, merely 4 hours after “leaving” Greenland) means for our voyage across the legendarily harsh Denmark Straight (b/w Greenland and Iceland), where we’d rather not be dodging icebergs at night, and where-according to a recent weather report) very, very strong winds await.

22:00 – Polar bear prints are spotted on nearby iceberg.  Had we not seen real live polar bears earlier today, this would’ve been wildly fulfilling. As we had, it was merely “very neat.”

24:30 [next day, technically]:  Northern Lights provide encore performance. Hooting and hollering emanate from the top deck.  Phospherescents (sp?) stir in the boat’s wake.  Many cameras fail to capture them justly.

Representative quote of the day:
Carole (at sunset): What can you possibly ever do to match this?
Ben: It’d probably have to be illegal.

Tags: Ben Jervey


  1. Angela and Dick Jervey Monday 8 Oct, 2007 // 19:52:57

    Hannah informed us that you have reached Iceland. What an incredible, life changing journey you have been on. Hope to talk to you sometime Thursday. You were right about Quebec–we love it here. Miss and love you! Love, mum

  2. patti Wednesday 10 Oct, 2007 // 1:03:13

    I’ll second your parents comments. I don’t think I want this trip to end. I am so enjoying the adventure. Continue to be safe!! Patti

  3. Shona Couturier Thursday 18 Oct, 2007 // 1:32:00

    I was part of the student voyage just before yours and i have followed most of your blogs throughout the whole journey and it was really neat to see that i wasnt the only one that felt the way i did about the arctic. The last bit of this blog the quote of the day, really hit home, it was exactly how i felt as i left Svalbard. Being there was such a high the whole time. Being surrounded by such beauty and enority was breath taking and overwhelming. I found it difficult to disconnect myself from it and come home. It took me sometime to adjust to ”normal” life and it felt me feeling rather empty and lonely. The life that i returned to, i had know all my life but somehow felt wrong and dull. I hope that your “Arctic-Detox” isnt too difficult. I hope that this experience has touched you as much it has me, because it truely was an experience of a lifetime.

    Thank you for your wonderful blogs,

    Shona Couturier
    (Canadian Student, Cape Farewell Youth Expedition 07)

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