Saturday, July 19, 2014
Tasermiut Fiord, Nanortalik, Greenland
Students woke to a shore landing at the beautiful Tasermiut Fiord, located in Nanortalik, Greenland on the east coast. This area placed on National Geographic's top 10 list of most spectacular places on the Earth with its steep mountain walls, rivers running in the lush valleys between mountains into the fjord and spectacular glaciers created by the the Greenland ice cap.
The day will be full of exploration by zodiac, hikes and our knowledgeable polar experts on board. Students will also have the opportunity to capture the beauty of there surroundings through landscape water color painting. For the science aficionados, there will be opportunities to engage in hands on research and learn from SOI staff from the Canadian Museum of Science, geologists, marine biologists and oceanographers.
The afternoon includes a possible shore landing to explore hot springs and an interesting discussion on the history of Greenland and what the future holds.
The evening will conclude with a special presentation by Dr. Don Walsh, American explorer and oceanographer who was aboard the bathyscaphe Trieste when it made a record maximum descent into the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the world ocean.
Update from Expedition Leader Geoff Green
Hello from Nanortalik, Greenland. We are just departing after a fantastic day here!!! We arrived early to the top of the spectacular Tasermiut Fiord and landed at the foot of a glacier, The students were able to hike up and actually touch the ice. It was humbling to say the least to be in the powerful and immense land. We then travelled by zodiac down the Fiord about 6 miles and landed in Paradise Valley were we explored a Viking ruin beside a waterfall.Back to the ship for a BBQ lunch on the back deck in the most incredible setting imaginable. The BBQ became a dance party!
A few hours later we arrived the the village of Nanortalik where we had a wonderful visit including a tour of the Old Town site and Museum and a meeting with local youth at their Youth Club. It was a blast and an inspiring cultural exchange. Songs, performances, dancing and sharing in 3 languages ended in new friendships formed. Another incredible SOI day.
In the expedition spirit,
Zodiacs transport students to Paradise Valley in Tasermiut fjord - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
David Fletcher shares his experiences as a leader in Antarctica - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
James Raffan and Joseph Qian work on a knot pattern - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Students explore the glacier on Tasermiut Fjord - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Eric Matteson, glacier expert - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Students relax amidst the stunning scenery of a glacier - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
The beauty of a glacier - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Students hike through the scenic town of Nanortalik - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Some young Greenlanders share their photos withDylan in a traditional tent - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Nanortalik teens enjoy hanging out with Emmanual - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Greenland poppies - Photo (c) Lee Narraway
Dwarfed by the ice, student zodiacs arrive at the toe of the Sermasit Glacier at the end of the Tasermuit Fjord in southern Greenland - Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Monaco student Elodie Miles listens to glaciologist Eric Mattson’s introduction to the hanging Sermasit Glacier. Now that it has melted out of the water it is considered a hanging glacier, a sign of receding ice. When Students on Ice last visited the area in 2005, the glacier was still in contact with the water. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Student explore the lower reaches of the Sermasit Glacier in southern Greenland. The rock spires poking through the glacier are called nunataks. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Drop by drop the Sermasit Glacier is melting and receding. Seen from under the ice, the only the blue wavelengths penetrate the ice resulting in a blue colour in the ice. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Waiting to meet an arriving zodiac, a brief game of zodiac frisbee breaks out. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Now melted out of the water, hanging glaciers like this one in Tasermuit Fjord, Greenland, are a sign of receding ice and a warming environment. Note the ice-curved rock at water’s edge and the glacial moraines on either side. Photo (c)
Students on the ridge overlooking Paradise Valley on the southern edge of Tasermuit Fjord. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Students celebrate during on deck bbq after visiting the Sermasit Glacier in southern Greenland. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Northern students Tatega Akpaleapik (l), Lieta Kalluk and Judy Kunnuk watch a video of one of Tatega’s rap performances. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Mary Larcom shares a laugh with writer and journalist Whit Fraser. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Yordel Jackson works through a song with author James Raffan. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Dylan Miles inspects a traditional field stove in the Nanortalik Museum in Nanortalik. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Students tour through the historic section of Nanortalik. Populated since 1778, Nanortalik means “bear hunt island” in Norse and was originally founded at a whaling station. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Students on Ice students and local teens shared musical performances at the Nanortalik Youth Centre. Here Inuit student Edmond Bruce demonstrates inuit games with a local. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
A double-arched iceberg that has rolled and dug up ocean sediments seen here in brown. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
A sunset on the southern coast of Greenland. Photo (c) Martin Lipman
Student Journals - July 19, 2014
This morning we got into Greenland, and at 3 o'clock in the morning (or at night) I got a textmessage from my mom saying "Welcome to Greenland" (in danish). I first noticed it in the morning, so we were already outside the signal range. I think we went past Nanortalik (a southern town) in the night and went in to a fjord, so the message had just waited for the signal to reach my phone so I wonder when my mom actually sent that message?
I can't remember when I last wrote on the blog, so I'm unsure if I will mention things again or there is something I will forget the write.
July 16th we were in Torngat Mountains base camp from morning till afternoon, and we had barbecue-lunch on the beach with everybody from the base camp. The only bad thing about base camp was that there were a trillion mosquitoes thirsting for blood - the amazing thing was that I only got around four mosquito bites.
We saw the camp in groups and went for a little walk to a waterfall were we could get water straight from it. I was so happy I had brought two bottles, cause even though the Sea Adventurer is an amazing ship it has terrible-tasting water - I'm sure it's clean and drinkable, but it tastes of chlor.
Then We had the option to climb a mountain, walking on a ridge and hear about some research and about the nature or stay in basecamp and hear the elders story about old times. I took a trip to the ridge, even though I regretted it later because they had been fishing by the beach when we came back and caught 13 fish. The basecamp is just above the beach.
We went back to the ship for resting and dinner, and held a goodbye party with the people from basecamp in the lounge (It was planned to be on shore, but it was raining).
And then we went to sea that night and have spent the last two days at sea, seing whales, birds and nothing but water in all four directions. We haven't had the big whale encounters with jumping whales and such, but we saw some backs and a few tails.
We had workshops and and talks while at sea, so I've made a polarbear-magnet, learned some knot-tying and talked about animals, nature, oil industry and so on.
I think this will be a great day with mobile signal at the end of the day.
Today we finally reached the destination we've been aiming for: Greenland. To start off our journey in Greenland, we first went into a fjord and then docked at a town called Nanortalik. As always whenever we're at sea, the place where we landed embroidered beauty itself. It just shocks me how beautiful these mountain formations, glaciers and waterfalls can be. I wish that everyone could see what true beauty looks like and experience all it has to offer.
Next was the tiny town of Nanortalik. This town had about 1,300 people living in it. It was fun to explore the town and talk to the locals that knew English but there was one thing that got me (other than the expensive prices). What got to me was the way the youth were able to welcome us. Despite most of the youth only beginning to learn English and us needing a translator, it didn't stop us from having a great time. The youth were excited to share this open-mic night with us and the way that they performed their cultural talents, proved just that.
Lastly, the most amazing thing of the night was seeing the sunset at what could be considered a part of the edge of the world. I found it amazing to see people so excited about this event, despite how tired and cold we all were.
Overall it was a day I won't forget (especially since we had a BBQ on ship, in the middle of sea.
P.S. Shout out to my family, I hope you're reading this!
San Francisco, California
Quite some time has passed since I first started writing this post, and I was already several days behind. After the day of the polar bears (Eclipse sound and Ryan's Bay), we went to Kormaktorvak fjord and ate breakfast enshrouded in the fog. We rode to shore across mirror smooth waters, hiked up a ridge, and ended the morning by jumping into the freezing water. A spectacular sunset colored the end of our day, and we sailed onward through "bergy bits" towards a pink and orange moon.
Wednesday, we disembarked at the Torngats Base Camp. We were promptly assailed by swarms of mosquitoes which, despite our efforts with repellants and bug jackets, became a very memorable part of the day. After filling our bottles at a waterfall, we toured the camp, ate char and bannock for lunch, and hiked. I chose the steeper hike, despite my general lack of skill at walking up mountains. The day finished with a farewell to the amazing Gary, Maria, and Eli.
Thursday and Friday were spent at sea. We traveled from Labrador to Greenland. Seasickness thrust itself upon many. We listened to a variety of fascinating lectures and attended workshops. I missed the outdoors, but we learned a lot. I particularly enjoyed listening to Don Walsh and Tarek Sherif who were generous enough to share their life stories.
Today, we arrived in Tasermuit Fjord. Braving the uncharted waters was well worth the effort. The majestic peaks framed the sky with their spires and the end of the fjord was marked by a beautiful glacier. We landed near a fall of meltwater and made our way up to touch the ice. The whole scene inspired some indescribable feeling. It was so ridiculously gorgeous and wild - it could never be captured by any camera. I lay on my back watching the sky and wished for better eyes.
A zodiac cruise away from the glacier led us to Paradise Valley. Huge mountains of rock surrounded the area, a waterfall and river ran through the valley, and an old Norse site completed the place. Persistent black flies were the only non-paradisical aspect. It is afternoon now, and I have just come from an on-deck barbecue turned dance party. I wonder what the rest of Greenland shall bring?
Oh - and the first (in chronological order) birthday shoutout (from the day I started writing this, not today): From Labrador to Ecuador- Happy 30th Birthday to Sarah Gray from her loving dad and Students on Ice.
And the other: To my absolutely marvelous father whom I love so much, I wish I could be with you now- Happy Birthday!
Surrey, British Columbia
Our first landing in Greenland was on a glacier! Inside this uncharted Fjord is a couple of beaches and a place called Paradise Valley. In Paradise Valley there is a huge mountain that people base jump off of. It is uncommon for people to come here but some people do. The Paradise Valley seemed more like a paradise for bugs than us but the beautiful waterfalls and a Viking ruin site makes it drawing for humans. I have encountered more black flies today than in my life time but nothing can spoil this view!
The glacier itself is absolutely amazing and right at the very end of the Fjord. Everywhere I went I was looking up. From far away you can try to size it up, but only when you're standing beside it can you really comprehend its vastness. The glacier crystals were bigger than my torso. In 2005 Students on Ice had come here and the Glacier was all the way down to the tide. Now in 2014 it had receed pretty far in land and only water flows from it to touch the tide.
It's sad to see Climate change in action in some of the most beautiful places in the world. The mountain walls help to indicate how fast this melting has occured. If you know how fast lichen colonizes you can get an idea of the age of the area. Moss and lichen are generally the first to begin to grow and as you move farther and farther away from the glacier you see very small trees. The trees don't grow tall so that they can weather the winter without as much of a struggle. Some of the birch I have seen are only a few inches high. There are clear cut lines where above it there is green and below there is rock telling us there hasn't been enough seasons that have passed to fertilize the area enough to support growth. Its strange how nature leaves footprints.
I took a moment to sit and listen to the breaking of the ice and the rushing flow of it. I also drank from the pools and waterfalls. Eric, an expert in Glaciers, explained that the ones we are seeing are apart of the Greenland Ice Cap dating back to the Ice Age! It was alot of fun getting right into the water with our boots and retrieving mini ice bergs. I wouldnt have minded being a viking and having this landscape as a yard every day. The Fjord is extremely steep. Our boat, which was slightly off centre, had about 200 feet of depth below it.
When we returned to our ship the Sea Adventurer the crew had an on deck BBQ going. I have never seen such a gourmet bbq in my life. Fully catered and with huge platters of fruit, desserts, freshly baked bread and vegetables. On the BBQ they did sausages, fish, burgers, hotdogs, ribs, skewers and much more! This was definitely a highlight because as Elodie put it "It's not everyday you eat a BBQ on a classy boat in Greenland beside a glacier". We ended up having a mini dance party and some people really had some funky moves!
We got to Nanortalik and the whole town came to welcome us. We went to the living museum of the ancient part of town. There was a blubber press house, fishery, and much more. I then chose to go with the hiking group. We crossed water and marshlands to get to this norse site that hasn't been excavated yet. It was really obvious where the rooms and walls would've been. There was also an errected rock that was said to be where they tied up a polar bear cub once after they killed its mother.
From that side of the river you could see the symmetery of the housing and all the bright colours they had painted their homes. It also looked out to a field of icebergs! I didnt get too much of a chance to look around town but mainly it was quiet. Elodie got me a postcard from the store though while I was away. We caught the ending of the youth fun night they had planned for us. They sang in both languages and played Greenlandic songs. There was a dicso, band, and lazer lights. It was a lot of fun when everyone got up to dance and even our youth were joining in! The best had to be when two girls came out with full war like paint and started a jungle-like dance. There were dogs everywhere, kids kicking soccer balls home and bikes. This made me think about kicking rocks while walking to the corner store in Metchosin for 5 cent candies. Something I look forward to doing when I get home again.
Its a very special day for so many reasons and I miss those back home. 5 today is also special :) one reason is there is only 5 days left. Geoff made an announcement as we left that Students on Ice would be making a donation to the youth group so that they could continue the music cultural nights and canoe making. This really is a classroom and I am learning soooo much!
North York, Ontario
Students on Ice has officially set foot on Greenlandic soils! Room 102 awoke as the Sea Adventurer sailed into the Tasermiut Fjord. Finally, after two days at sea and a boatload of presentations, we could now experience the minerals, glaciation, and society experientially.
Our first zodiac landing was at the tip of Tasermiut and this gave us the unique chance to observe a glacier from the Greenland Ice Cap. Nothing in a traditional classroom can teach you how refreshing a gulp of glacier water tastes (especially after drinking chlorinated ship water).
This was followed by an immediate zodiac trip south to Paradise Valley where we were able to view a spectacular side of the fjord's mountains and encounter a past foundation of a Norse building. Although there were spectacular views, Paradise Valley was more paradise for mosquitoes (which devoured us, even through clothing). Who would have ever thought that bugs would be a problem in "the Arctic"?
We topped the morning off with a BBQ out on the ship's upper deck. Great food, great people, and a great dance after, but most importantly we now have the bragging rights to saying that we had a barbecue in Greenland.
Can't wait to visit our first Greenlandic community and witnessing Panninguaq, Innunguaq, and Mikkel's talk come to life.
Baker Lake, Nunavut
It has been an incredible and wonderful day here in Greenland. It was my first time to see glacier, it was incredibly amazing and beautiful.
It also has been a very memorable, special and learning experience to be here on this Students On Ice expedition trip. I have learned a lot throughout the days we've been travelling. The presentations, seeing the animals that I don't get to see back home, the workshops and many other things that I've learned from. I see a very different perspective that I've gained here and it is an amazing feeling which I like.
The most interesting part of this trip for me is that I got the opportunity to see the animals I never saw before which I was looking forward to seeing while I was a kid, and going on land because I love going to the land. And yeah, everything was interesting but this is all I've got to say for now.
I miss you mom, just a couple more days <3
Today, the ship docked at a southern Greenland town called Nanortalik. After touring the colourful town and seeing the people, I am proud to be a visitor. The buildings are small and painted in bright blues, reds, and greens. The children are happy and ride their bicycles all over town. The weather is calm and surprisingly cool (not as cold as many people think). This quiet town is filled with talented youth.
At the Youth Centre, I witnessed exceptional guitar, drum and bass players. The rock and folk music they played brought people to their feet. There was dancing and laughter all throughout the show. The dances and Inuit games were fun and a reflection of the dances and games youth participate in in Jamaica. I even tied in a Dancehall Jamaican song to introduce my culture to the youth in Nanortalik.
Before we docked at Nanortalik, we had a barbeque on the deck of the ship. As we were sailing to Nanortalik, we ate exceptional food and partied. There was a lot of dancing and music. The energy everyone has is captivating and I think I needed to let go and have fun.
Today, was a fun day. I hope this expedition gets even better as the time winds down.
A Letter to My Mother:
This trip has been such a release. All the problems and stress are gone. It has opened my eyes to the world up north. I have gone international now. Don't worry; I'm happy and healthy eating all this food on the ship. I'll get you a polar bear. See you soon!
It's almost irrefutable that we have the karma gods on our side. Not only did we sail across the Davis Strait in calm waters, but our first sighting of Greenland was absolutley spectacular! We arrived early in the morning at the mouth of Tasermiut Fjord and entered it despite the fact that it was uncharted. At the end of the fjord was an immense glacier -- the first one I've ever seen. It stretched across the mountain range and fed several streams. When Students on Ice last visited in 2005, the glacier had been at the water's edge. Today, the glacier we saw from afar was a good thirty metres inland (clearly climate change is happening fast). For that reason, we were of course going to get on to Zodiacs and go see it. On shore, Eric gave a short summary on glacial hydrology and on how the glacier shapes the underlying bedrock in different ways. Afterwards, we had time to explore, take photos, and find a spot to just sit down and take it all in.
Nearby was Paradise Valley, which we travelled to by Zodiacs. The landscape had mountains, a stream, a waterfall, huge lichen-covered boulders, archaic Viking ruins, and probably what were the largest trees in Greenland. Even with the hoards of mosquitoes, being in nature was incredibly relaxing and energizing.
In the afternoon, the captain led the ship past a bunch of sea ice and icebergs to reach Nanortalik, a small town on the south-western coast of Greenland. We visited the "open museum" in town, which had several buildings, each housing different collections. There were exhibits on minerals, canoes and kayaks, and even the whaling industry. Later on, we were invited by the local youth to see their performances at the Youth Centre, which included raps, a rock song, and traditional dance. Fun fact: the local style for male teenagers is to wear their high socks over the bottom part of their pants. At the end of the day, the town was charming and a great end to our first day in Greenland.
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Sorry I didn’t blog for the past two days but we just spent the past two days sailing across from Kuujjuaq to Greenland. First sea day I spent in bed the whole day cause I was extremely sea sick it was so horrible. I'd rather not speak about it. Yesterday was pretty awesome, the seas were calm so I was able to be up and out and enjoying the workshops and other things we did yesterday. I had an awesome time yesterday I decided to join and help out with demonstrating and explaining the purpose behind the Inuit Games during the Inuit games workshop and oh man it was tons of fun! I was undefeated against the girls in arm pull so I went up against the guys, I beat one, tied another one, and then the last two beat me. I also did some leg wrestling and that was pretty fun, I was undefeated against the girls again but right at the end I decided to leg wrestle with Navaranna and she beat me! We also did muskox push and that was pretty awesome. Me and Innunguaq did muskox push right in the reception area on the rug and when we went down to start there were only 3 people watching and by the time I beat him there were like 15 people watching so I got a bit shy because I totally just whooped a boy in muskox push. I had tons of fun doing arctic sports on the sea and it was like a dream come true being able to do it in such a unique environment. Im super stiff from the knee up though,but it was totally worth it.
Throughout the whole day we also had a series of workshops and educational presentations along with a life story of a team member and successful business man named Tarek Sherif. This morning we arrived in Greenland and rose at 6:30am. Breakfast was at 7 and after that we just relaxed a little on deck and then got ready to do a zodiac landing in Tasermiut fjord where there was a beautiful waterfall coming from the edge of the huge greenland ice sheet. It was so massive and absolutely breathtaking. The glacier... glowed blue. It was so awesome seeing a glacier for the first time. After we left there we went on a short little zodiac cruise to the Norse sight which was also by a little waterfall. There were tons of bugs but I sat facing the wind right by the waterfall to sort of just embrace everything and it was one of those picture perfect moments....gave me butterflies.
Then after visiting there for about an hour or so we cruised back to the ship for a BBQ lunch. Lets just say....FANTASTIC!! They had all my favourite meats and other good foods like chicken wings, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruits, corn on the cob, and a bunch of others including desserts and little snacks. The BBQ lunch eventually turned into a big dance party on the back deck of the ship and that was tons of fun, lots of dancing and laughs and making good memories!! I got some awesome pictures and videos from today and I cannot WAIT to show everyone back home. The little dance party just ended so I figured I'd come do some blogging since I missed out the past few days.
Anyways that's about it for today, we have more things planned for the evening but I'll blog more about that tomorrow if I get the chance. To everyone back home I miss you guys SO much - only like 8 more days until I'm home though!!! =) Also happy belated birthday to my cousin Jake for yesterday, hope you enjoyed your day bro, have fun at NAIG and I miss you tons! To my love, you have NO idea how crazy I am going without you... I love you and I miss you SO much and can't wait to see you!!! I hope your doing good with the smoke free thing and taking care of yourself good! Make sure you check on my baby Zeus and I hope you picked up our shoes from the post office! Anyways hope you all enjoyed reading about our past few days!!
North Vancouver, British Columbia
After a bit of a rough night, I was glad to be out on the glaciers after two consecutive days of "ship days."
Today was our first formal disembark in Greenland, and I was glad to be immediately welcomed by the slopes of glaciers. Due to the icy conditions, we weren't able to go on a full hike up the mountain, but being able to stop and look around at the wonders surrounding us was equally gratifying. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience is being able to have some personal reflection time between stops that we make. Although initially I missed being part of the bustling urban life of Vancouver, now I find this experience a rewarding piece of memory that will shape who I will become. The second part of our excursion was a visit to a Viking historical site called "Paradise Valley" for its enchanting beauty. Although we were greeted by a swarm of mosquitos upon arrival, the breathtaking scenery surrounding us made the experience worthwhile. After taking numerous macro photos of the valley flowers, we came back to our ship to be greeted by an outdoor barbecue.
After an inexplicably delicious lunch, we set sail for the town of Nanortalik in Greenland. Upon arrival, we split into small groups and toured the town. Although I didn't find the museums particularly interesting, I found the nature surrounding us so enticing and beautiful. I was also able to buy a postage card and stamps to send over to my family in Vancouver (although to my shock and dismay, the total cost of sending my card was $6 US). To end our visit, we went to the town's youth center, for a shared musical performance. The small concert was filled with traditional Inuit games, raps, and a rock performance.
Although the visit was only a few hours long, upon completion of our visit, I came back having felt connected to the town's youths.
St. John's Newfoundland & Labrador
I know it's been quite some time since I last blogged but we have been super busy! I have so many things to tell you about!
So today was the day we have finally made it to Greenland! So we got to explore a glacier, well around a glacier. Then I fell and now I have a huge bruise on my leg ... Oops. Also I managed to break my glasses... so if you don't mind calling the glasses place that would be great!
Also I became really close friends with Kimberly who is also from NL which is amazing! I really wish there was a way for you to write back or something so I knew how everyone back home was. Over these past few days we have been crazy busy with workshops and presentations and things, which made it really difficult to find time to write! But don't worry I have so many stories to tell you when I come home.
Tell everyone back home I love them and I miss them!
Les deux jours passés, nous avons traversé la mer Labrador. Nous sommes donc restés sur le bateau et avons fait des workshops et assisté à des présentations. Nous avons également vu plein de baleines !
Aujourd'hui, le capitaine a jété l'ancre dans un fjord Groenlandais. Nous nous sommes donc reveillés à 6h30 pour profiter pleinement de cette magnifique journée. Nous sommes allés en zodiac au pied d'un glacier pour y rester un peu plus d'une heure. Ensuite, nous avons repris les zodiacs pour accoster dans la "Paradise Valley", où nous avons pu decouvrir les premiers vestiges vikings de l'expedition.
Pour midi, nous avons fait un barbecue sur le pont du bâteau, l'ambiance était au rendez vous car tout le monde dansait.
Après cela, nous avons navigué un peu jusqu’à Nanrtalik, une ville Groenlandaise ou nous avons pu rencontrer les populations locales. Nous avons visité le musée, ainsi que l'ensemble de cette ville qui, a notre échelle, était petite, mais a l’échelle Groenlandaise, était grande. Nous sommes allés dans un "Youth Club", où les jeunes ont pu nous jouer quelques musiques dans leur langue. Nous avons quitté la ville vers 7h30, environ trois heures après notre arrivée. On se souviendra tous de cet accueil chaleureux que les Groenlandais nous a offert.
Message personnel de Loris : Coucou Papa et Maman, et toute ma famille qui lira ce message. J'ai voulu faire un truc personnel car depuis le début du voyage, c'est toujours avec Elodie que j’écris. Donc voila, il ne nous reste plus que trois jour sur ce bateau au moment où j’écris et j'ai l'impression d’être parti de Monaco hier soir ! Vous me manquez quand meme tous mais avec tout ce que l'on fait et ce qu'on découvre, je n'ai pas le temps de penser à la maison ! Bisous à tous et je vous appelle des qu'on arrive à Ottawa !
Message personnel d'Elodie : Hello tout le monde! Je voulais juste vous dire que vous me manquez tous, que j'ai hâte de vous revoir (même si je veux en même temps rester encore plus longtemps sur le bateau !). Cette aventure est vraiment géniale, on voit des choses extraordinaires, je suis tout le temps émerveillees. Tout se passe très bien, aucun conflit, toutes les personnes a bord sont adorables. Je vous fais de gros gros bisous et à dans 5 jours !
Quel bonheur d'être au Groenland!
Pour débuter la journée, nous avons été sur une montagne rocheuse sur laquelle on trouvait de la calotte glaciaire et aussi d'impressionnantes chutes, tout était magnifique. Ensuite, nous nous sommes dirigés vers Paradise Valley, qui est un endroit très spécial grâce à son mirco-climat. En effet, cela nous permet d'observer différentes végétations et on y trouve même le seul arbre du Groenland. C'est un conifère d'environ douze pieds, c'est impressionnant de voir une chose pareille dans un tel décor!
En fin d'après-midi, nous sommes allés visiter notre première communauté au Groenland. Nous avons été très bien accueillis dans cet endroit splendide avec ces jolies maisons colorés et ces grandes montagnes. On a également été invités à un spectacle qui se tenait à la maison des jeunes de la communauté. Nous avons assisté à diverses performances toutes très épatantes. Quelques étudiants de notre groupe on également offerts quelques prestations. C'était touchant de voir l'échange entre nos deux groupes. Nous avons créé des liens malgré le peu de temps que nous avons eu en leur compagnie. C'était triste de se dire aurevoir alors que le bateau s'éloignait de plus en plus du quai.
Je garde de très bons souvenirs de cette première journée au Groenland, autant pour les beautés que la nature avait à nous offrir que pour la générosité des gens de cette merveilleuse petite communauté.
After two days at sea we have arrived in Greenland and one could not have hoped for a better introduction to one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The previous days at sea were spent well; the SOI students and staff were usually well-occupied with numerous activities and likewise received several opportunities to learn different things from a variety of subject areas during the lectures given aboard the Sea Adventurer.
Today however, everyone gathered at the dining hall for a good breakfast, relatively early in the morning, before setting off in zodiacs to visit an impressive glacier at the end of Tasermiut Fiord, located near the south-western tip of Greenland. The excursion lasted for a couple of hours and included a walk up to the glacier itself, where I filled up my bottle with some of the best tasting water I have ever had the opportunity to sample. Furthermore, our zodiacs followed the edge of the fiord to a location called Paradise Valley in which there is a 2000m spire that does not cease to attract passionate mountaineers and climbers from all around the world. After our return aboard the ship, SOI had an incredible barbecue on the deck.
St. John's Newfoundland & Labrador
In the morning, we visited a glacier and this was a breathtaking experience for me. I had seen a small glacier last year in Alaska from a distance but nothing like we saw today. This glacier was massive from my point of view and we were able to come up close and even touch the ice from the glacier. I was even able to pick up some glacier ice from the fjord and eat it.
Next, we visited the small town of Nanortalik in sounthern Greenland. This is a town of approximately 1000 people and the life is very different from St. John's. The town is much quieter along with much smaller. The atmosphere is very calm and even relaxing. We took a small tour of the old section of the town visiting the old hospital and the old whaling houses. Visiting these old houses enabled me to engage in the lives of Greenlanders years ago and teach me about how they lived and their old traditions.
We also engaged with the local people in the community as we talked with many people along the side of the roads and in the youth community centre. In the centre, our group demonstrated our traditions such as throat singing and the local youth presented raps and songs in their traditional language.
These experiences in the day were absolutely wonderful and unique that also teaches us in modern society to humble ourselves to the lives of people living in these small and isolated communities.
SERGIO RAEZ VILLANUEVA
I write this blog after an amazing barbeque on the deck of the ship followed by an interesting dance. The view here is incredible and as I ate outside (it was really warm, surprisingly, and without any wind, which made everything so much better) I could see the clear, almost still waters as well as a wonderful scenery of green vegetation around mountains and precipices in the southern tip of Greenland.
These past few days, we have been in the ship (two whole days, to be exact) doing several workwhops about the culture, history and wildlife found in the Arctic. They ranged from Arctic birds, to mammals, to the geology and morphology of the lands as well as with the formation of glaciers.
We spotted whales too! Both pilot and fin whales, the second largest whale in the ocean, as I have been told; and what a sight! They are impressive and immense, and there were several of them that simply made me gasp in wonder as they passed by the ship. We even saw the red feces that they left behind (quite unexpected).
Before I forget, we also did the Bottle Drop activity, where we wrote a brief note, put it in a sealed bottle, and then we threw it in the ocean. Everyone was so excited for every throw that it almost looked like a sports event. I would be so glad if someone, anybody found elsewhere in the world would be lucky enough to see mine and write me back.
Now today we finally left the ship and travelled on the Zodiacs to get on land, I guess those two long days made me that much more excited to stretch my legs; and what an adventure!
First, we quickly set foot right beneath a glacier that extended all the way up towards the peak of the mountain. To think that these enormous mobile ice sheets are more than thousands years old makes me feel so priviledged to have been so close to one. In comparison to size, we were minute to it, so small that the Zodiacs that had gone first looked like ants as I saw them from the ship.
Afterwards, we right away went to a place called Paradise Valley, where Vikings, one of the first settlers of Greenland, once lived and mysteriously disappeared. However, before we got there, the Zodiac that I was on had some engine problems and we sailed super slow, which made it that much better to contemplate everything around us. When another Zodiac came to pick us up, it was intriguing to jump from one to the other in the middle of the fjord that we were at.
Lastly, as we sat there we played frisbee with the Zodiac cruising beside us, and in my opinion, that is something that not many people get to do, so I definitely enjoyed it!
At Paradise Valley, there was so much vegetation that the mosquitoes were back, which surprises me a lot since we are pretty far up North and yet the flora was quite diverse there.
Thus, I think that is about it! After the BBQ I went into the library and decided to write this text, and I know that I have already said it, but to further state my point: just how incredible these glaciers are, holding most of the fresh water in the world and yet contained in a beautiful area. I guess the saying, "so close, yet so far," comes into place, because the water is so close and yet it is rather unreachable. That is, to me, what makes it that much more unique.
We are heading further North as I write this; we are going to visit some communities and I cannot wait to step on land again!
Hoping for the best!
Sergio Raez Villanueva
Land of the Buttercups
Today we stopped in the land of buttercups. The town of Nanortalik is only 1400, yet probably one of the bigger towns in Greenland. The people here greet us with smiles and follow us like dogs. We are some strange foreigners to them. They take pictures with us, and wonder where we come from. The children run around in the gravel roads with their dogs chasing behind. If you don't watch out, they will jump on your backs.
The land of buttercups is a calm one, but fragrant with colors. The yellow grounds are only matched in color by the small houses which radiate shades of blue and red. The reflections of the rainbow- colored villages are mimicked by the encompassed body of water. Only the call of the raven disturbs the peace which lays still on its bed of yellow flowers.
We, foreigners, peak through the small wooden cabins which are sometimes hidden by the wild flowers. The community may be small, but the history is intact- proudly preserved through photographs and letters.
Just beyond, you stumble into the graveyard. There are a few tombstones remembering those who died, but slowly fading into the background, as the sea of yellow prospers. The immensity of life is slowly taking over the stumbling shadows of death. And with that lies the beauty of the land of buttercups.
Hello world! I apologize for my silence over the past few days; it is extremely hard to find free time aboard the Sea Adventurer. I essentially had the most amazing week of my life. This included shindigs such as (but not limited to) meditating on the peaks of the Torngat Mountains to swimming in Arctic waters. However, today was the most memorable in my heart.
Waking up bright and early, in a terrible mood like every morning, I unwillingly got out of bed. I decided to walk onto the upper decks to see where the ship had sailed during my slumber. As soon as I opened the doors to the world, my heart filled with glee. I was dead center in the Tasermiut Fjord, staring at a glacier. Fate would have it that within 2 hours, I was standing shirtless on the glacial ice.
Later in the day, we visited the small village of Nanortalik, Greenland. This was my favorite part of the trip. While everyone was in a youth center, I was exploring the village on my own. As I was taking photos of a cool looking house, Kaspar (the owner of the house) came out to greet me. I was speechless when he invited me into his home. He opened himself up to me and brought me into his world. I am proud of the video and photos I’ve captured of this beautiful man. He reminded me of my older brother Kaspar (ironically both share the same name) – brother reach your dreams.
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
I just want to start off by saying, I did not do enough justice with describing our sightings of fin whales. At that point, it was my one of my favourite points of the trip; I really got to observe the five whales at a closer distance and see how slick and slender they were, and really appreciate their beauty for an extended period of time.
But on the 19th it was another "favourite day" which seems to be the theme of late, each day seems to be special in its own way. So to begin the day, we had our first landing on a glacier and it was huge. While on deck in Tasermiut Fjord, we thought we were very close to the glacier landing spot before our zodiac cruise. In fact the people who were already on shore looked like little ants on an anthill and it took us a very long time to reach them. This might have been due to the perspective but mostly to the enormous nature of this glacier, which in fact is the edge of the huge Greenland ice sheet. The view was intimidating; there were huge vertical sheets of rock jutting out but the most compelling sight was right above us. There was a series of irregular mountainous patterns, especially at the top of what we could see, that looked like the pattern of a pastry piping bag. The sad thing is that in 2005 in their last visit to this glacier in the summer, the SOI group testified to the extent of the glacier as it used to reach the sea but now the terminus is quite a bit inland.
During this visit, one thing that I really got to do was to be on my own and besides going rock collecting on our first Greenland landing, I just had some time reflect and admire God's creation and be reminded of not only the wonderment of nature but even more so, the exponentially greater glory of God shown through His creation.
Then we were able to land at Paradise Valley, where Greenland lived up to its name. We got to see a lot of green water, green bushes and even a tree, and it was gorgeous. After visiting a Norse ruin site, I had the chance to just sit down on a rock and it was my favourite view to just take in the vast teal, sea horizon and the high far mountains.
To keep advancing the crazy day, we had a BBQ party on the back deck! The view of course was crazy and it feel surreal, like having your own yacht, and to end the lunch we completed it with a rather interesting dance party.
At last we went to Nanortalik, a small village in Greenland with beautiful, colourful homes, a museum of preserved architecture, but the human aspect was the greatest and personally most impactful. I think this visit was hands down my favourite moment, meeting the kids and the adults of the village, and just the simple interactions between us. When we visited their youth centre, it really started off with two groups of people sitting on different ends and as the program progressed and people from both groups performed, you really could see relationships warming between us. We shared similarities and there were some differences, but in the end we became friends despite the language and cultural barrier. There was something really beautiful about that and I won't forget that visit. They even waited on shore to say goodbye for perhaps 20-30 minutes but the sense of friendship and loss was definitely mutual.
Now some of you may be wondering what happened to me for the past two days and why I haven't made a blog post on those days. It was not only because we were at sea, but also because the breakdown of what happened in those days can be easily summed up in the few bullet points below.
- desire to throw up
- increasing hate of the ship
- realization that desire to throw up is gone
- throwing bottles off the ship
Now what happened today? Well we got up super early and finally arrived in Greenland. After not going through customs or even seeing a single boarder patrol agent, we headed down a river into a landing site where there was a huge glacier. We wandered around the site, and I managed to get some pretty good photos and some fresh water.
After a tour of the area, we returned to the ship for a nice outdoor barbecue lunch under the mountains. With the beautiful view, i enjoyed the lunch (though I didn't really eat too much). Once we finished eating, everyone started dancing, and soon enough our barbeque eating area became the dance floor, and everyone was dancing to the music. I didn't manage to get a lot of good footage from the dance because I was dancing, but everyone was having a ton of fun. Apparently, I am a really good dancer, or so I've been told. It might be something I'll be practicing a bit more in the future.
Once we finished our meal, we sailed down Nanortialik. We landed around 4:30PM and explored the small town. They had some old buildings that we wandered around in, and eventually made our way to the youth center. On the way there I stopped at the information center to buy a few gifts. I was quite happy they accepted CND, so i was able to save a few hundred krons to spend later in the trip in Nuuk. I bought a few books (that might have been a bit overpriced) that I thought people would like back home, as well as some postcards. I also made my way to the local convenience store to buy a local bag of chips and soft drink. It tasted really good. The soft drink had a much better flavor than the ones we find in Canada, and the chips had more of a potato flavor and less of the flavor flavor. At the youth center, we listed to some of the local youth preform for us a number of songs that were both in English and their native language.
Now we arrive at the current moment, just after an amazing dinner. I need to run to get some good photos, and figure out which photos I can give for a photo contest and an exhibit.