Guests on board and a surprise arrival!

Back Across the Pond - Summer 2017
John Andrews
Fri 11 Jul 2014 20:04
64:40.14N 53:31.25W
 

From Nuuk to Disko Bay

We are off again! James our son, and Kat, his wife joined us yesterday for a week’s cruising northwards to Disko Bay, flying in from the UK via Iceland. To our surprise and delight, so too did someone else, none other than that hoary old Antarctic sea dog, Pet Officer Snoopy.  Overhearing the daily missives being sent from Wimbledon weather advisor Cap’n Tim, he escaped Houdini like from the draw into which he had been unceremoniously placed, posted himself to Brighton, and secreted himself in James’s bag, in a bid to be where the action was – aboard an Arctic bound yacht. Actually, I think he’s a bit of a ‘pole bagger’, wanting to be the first dog to sail to both Antarctic and Arctic, but we are very pleased to have him, still in his Falkland wool polar sweater and  mitts and eager for ‘advencher’. He has been found a berth just above the nav table, so he can keep a close watch on chart plotter and instruments. He is in his element.    

We have spent a pretty frustrating week in Nuuk, mainly struggling to solve the problem of the dead heating system. People are busy, and persuading them to drop all their other work to help us in our hour of need has not been easy. We did eventually get the services of a good engineer, but it nevertheless took a further two days to get to the bottom of the problem, a blocked filter completely hidden by the later installation of our generator. We now have the bliss of a warm boat, and are feeling just a little too hot at night underneath our two duvets. Added to which James and Kat have brought the sunshine with them, and even at sea, the below decks temperature is a balmy 14 degrees. Water is a problem in Nuuk as there is none on the Kutterkai where all the yachts have tied up, and trying to get sense from the harbour office about filling up in the new ship harbour proved too difficult. The man at the fuel dock told us there was water available at the small boat marina in Nussuaq. We made our way round the island to the northern entrance of the marina, nosed our way in and managed to perch bow first on the shortest finger pontoon imaginable, tying off to other boats in an attempt to keep the boat straight. They had a long, very powerful hose, so we were able to complete the operation in double quick time and get out and are now fully fuelled and watered, ready for the next passage.

We managed a trip on Wednesday through the fjords behind Nuuk. The scenery is spectacular, like a larger completely untouched version of the Highlands of Scotland. At the top of the fjord there is a glacier, which was too far for us to get to in a day, but we did come across some small, beautifully sculpted bits of ice as they floated down towards the sea. We have come from Iceland which has some of the newest rocks in the world, to a place where there are some of the oldest rocks in the world, deposited a mind boggling 3.8 billion years ago and our trip took us to huge outcrop of rock which is allegedly this old.

We also took the opportunity where there were no inhabitants, to test out the gun that we have had to buy. John and Max each had a shot, an ear splitting explosion followed by an almost louder echo that ricocheted from cliff to cliff. We have no idea whether their shots were anywhere near the mark, and will have to have another go at sea to make quite sure that the gun is not just a curiosity, but could actually be used to defend us against a hungry polar bear.

James and Kat had a whistle stop tour of Nuuk in glorious sunshine. Even the old soviet style blocks of flats presented a more acceptable face. We actually stopped and ate an ice cream on the sea front, looking out over a dazzlingly sparkling sea. We rounded the evening off with a meal at the best restaurant in Nuuk, the Nipisa which overlooks the old harbour. We had a window table and were  dazzled by the evening sun which was still flooding into the restaurant at 10.00 at night. The food was world class, using locally sourced ingredients, mercifully not whale or seal, but the tenderest carpaccio of reindeer and meltingly tender musk ox cooked in three different ways. The vegetables were all grown on the site of an old Norse settlement in the fjord and the chef brought us photographs of the fabulously chaotic looking butwonderfully productive site, growing all manner of vegetables in the open in the short summer season. All the supermarket vegetables we’d seen had been flown in so it was a delight to get the full flavour punch of freshly grown veg.

We are now on a big hop North to Assiat in Disko Bay. We want to spend as much time as we can in this area, which boasts the northern hemisphere’s most prolific glacier, and is probably the glacier that produced the iceberg that sank the Titanic. We are due to cross the Arctic Circle some time tomorrow afternoon, and reach Assiat by  Sunday evening. We are progressing rather slowly at the moment, goosewinged with a gentle wind behind us. A welcome change! The visibility has been very poor all day, the fog never really lifting,  but we are well out at sea, avoiding icebergs and bergy bits. With four sailors on board, the watch system is less relentless, so all is well.