September 25, 2014

A Summer Day in Greenland

The following is a journal entry written during our time spent in the Arctic conducting research for Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Greenland.

July 26, 2010
Ilulissat, Greenland
Hotel Arctic

web IMG 7914 copy 300x200 A Summer Day in GreenlandLate night backing up photos of dog sled adventure, Eqi Camp and home of Arctic Explorer, Knud Rasmussen. Woke at 7:00, charged camera batteries for today’s tour, and had a quick breakfast at the Hotel Arctic. Bundled up and Walked into town. Gray skies with streaks of blue. Met with World of Greenland guide to confirm tour. Looked for souvenirs for my daughters and wife, then realized I had forgotten my wallet. Strolling back through town, I stopped to watch a youth league soccer match. The teams were made up of 10-12 year old boys with brightly colored jerseys. Parents cheering wildly for their children from the sideline. Field of white dirt and rock. Not a blade of grass. Small metal bleachers perched on top of a hill. Took a seat on top row. Temp was between 40-45 degrees fahrenheit. Cold and windy, and every single kid on the field was in short sleeves. When the game ended, I took the bus back to hotel to pack up equipment for the glacier excursion.

web IMG 7828 copy 300x200 A Summer Day in GreenlandEarly afternoon, gray skies. Sikorsky helicopter ride to Ilulissat Glacier, the most active glacier on earth. Our guide from the “World of Greenland” (WOG) was David. Out the window, a snaking river of ice, as far as the eye can see. Shades of deep blue, pure white with darker streaks where dirt has settled. When you frame it in a camera, it looks like an abstract painting. At the landing site, we met Mads, another WOG employee who was stationed out there alone for a week. I was told that most employees do a rotation between camps and tours. One week alone at Ilulissat glacier was one of the posts available. Mads said he was enjoying the solitude, though he does have concerns about being visited by a polar bear. web IMG 8992 copy 300x200 A Summer Day in GreenlandEmployees at the glacier post stay in a basic tent. They have a small stove, warm sleeping bag, first aid kit, radio — not much else. They are there to greet guests and offer a short lecture on the glacier and inland ice. There are typically four helicopters per day, each visiting for 30-minutes. There were cameras in large boxes set up to photograph the movement of the glacier. Mads said you can view the cameras footage online. We run around taking hundreds of photos and captured some of beautiful video, as well.

web IMG 9013 copy 200x300 A Summer Day in GreenlandThe helicopter ride back over the glacier and inland ice was absolutely spectacular. The pilot takes us low, and circles over deep crevasses. The helicopter shutters.

Touch down at Ilulissat airport late afternoon. Happy to be back on the ground, with no more scheduled helicopter tours. That old chopper is shaky, and makes me nervous. Back to the hotel for dinner. Prep for tomorrow’s trip to Iceland.

Walk grounds of hotel under the midnight sun, which is low on the horizon. web IMG 8946 copy 300x200 A Summer Day in GreenlandBehind me, just over the ridge, the moon is full. Disco Bay acts like a mirror, reflecting the image of a thousand icebergs. The homes that surround the bay are painted in a variety of bright colors. I think about the idea of bringing my family back one. Greenland is spectacular, serene, fascinating, a place see and experience.