Arrival in Nuuk

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Sat 5 Jul 2014 20:53

We had a wonderful arrival in Nuuk, tying up alongside a local tour boat at 1.30 a.m. local time. The sky was cloudless and we had a fantastic sunset at 11.30, as we were making our way through the Southern approach which is dotted with islands. As we came to a narrow stretch, we saw movement in the water ahead of us. Then to our amazement, the water right next to the boat was disturbed and a whale surfaced and rolled its back no more than a boat’s length away from us. It continued to roll out of the water, nearly, but not quite, showing the fluke of its tail. Had we not been so desperate to get into Nuuk, we would have cut the engine and taken the time to watch for longer, as it seemed in no hurry to dive again.

We have been in Nuuk for 4 days now, and precious little exploring has been done. After a pretty tough passage, there have been lots of jobs to get on top of to get the boat back into a sea-worthy state. Top of the list of priorities had been the heating, which is still not resolved. We have the Webasto engineer coming on Monday ‘maybe’. Max has carried out gel coat repairs on the bow where the anchor was crashing into it. John has rearranged the system for holding the hydro generator in the water – this broke after the first 12 hours, and was impossible to repair while at sea. A particularly big wave tore the stitching in the spray hood, so this has had to be repaired. We were told that there was no one in Nuuk who did canvas work, but we were desperate, and through sheer persistence, managed to track someone down who has re-stitched the whole hood which is now back in place. With the shelter that zips onto it attached, it now means that we can keep the worst of the wind and weather out of the boat. Having arrived on a glorious sunny day, the weather has now deteriorated somewhat. The temperature is only 9 degrees, it’s raining, and snow is actually forecast for Monday. 

We did take some time away from jobs this afternoon, and walked into town, which is hard to describe really. The housing accommodation seems to be largely brutalist blocks of flats, and the shops selling fashion, household goods and Inuit handicrafts, stand side by side with car repair workshops and the like. The old town, with its wooden buildings has some charm, and houses the national museum which gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the Inuit community, which lived a hunter gatherer existence until only 60 or 70 years ago. We paid a visit to the main supermarket in town, and were pleasantly surprised to see how well stocked it was, but also, how reasonably priced. We had heard stories of how expensive everything in Greenland was, and as a consequence, I was trying to provision the boat as much as possible from the UK, which in fact was not really necessary.

Once again we are having a very sociable time. Also here are Festina Lente, who left Iceland at the same time as us; Aventura, Jimmy Cornell’s boat which arrived 10 days ago having sailed from Stromness; Katryn, sailed single handedly from Wales by Dai. Nordlys, sailed by Nigel Biggs has just left to explore the Fjords, and another American boat has also just left to go North. All but Festina Lente are planning to attempt the North West Passage, so we are building up a good network of other boats, sharing information and generally getting to know each other.   

Our plan for the rest of the week, once the heating issue has been resolved, is to spend a few days up in the fjords around Nuuk. We have been told that it is beautiful and not to be missed. We will then get back to Nuuk, in time to pick up our son James and his wife Kat, who will be cruising with us for a week up to Disko Bay.

Now that we have broadband again, I can post a few photographs of our trip and arrival. No photos of the stormy weather - I have yet to take a satisfactory picture of big waves – they always look rather trivial! Nor have I taken any photos of Nuuk – perhaps a sunny day will give it a more appealing aspect. We have managed to take a screen shot of our track from Iceland to Greenland. Good start, good middle and good end, but just look at the rest!



First sight of Greenland






Bergy Bit


The ‘Q’ flag going up


The Southern Approach to Nuuk