69:13.00N 51:06.00W ILULISSAT

mollihawk's shadow
eddie nicholson
Wed 23 Jul 2014 16:09
1470 miles travelled so far.

We set sail out of Sisimuit at 1700 Sunday evening and quickly got into the groove as the 20knot breeze and a big sea which was not in the port hit us from our aft quarter. Mike showed his highest culinary qualities as he produced a great dinner in appalling conditions in the galley.
We settled into a night sail with 2 reefs in the main and a small jenny set. By 0400 the wind has abated as per the grib files and we took an inland route weaving through a bunch of Islands very similar to the West Cork terrain and arriving at Aasiaat by early afternoon.

The highlight was the shower in the Seamans Mission which we had been saving since before we left Lewisporte !
Aasiaat is very similar to the previous towns we have been to, big fuel tanks at the entrance to supply the multicoloured wooden houses all built on a rock foundation with surface pipes for water and sewage running in every direction. Very Danish in style.
Harry and Eddie went for a swim/ dip to tick the box of having swam inside the Arctic Circle, it didn't last long and the inability to be able to talk said it all. Temperature recorded was 1.5 degrees!

We departed from Aasiaat for Ilulissat early Tuesday morning but not before saying our goodbyes to Arctic Tern ( Les and Ali ) who were anchored beside us and are heading on up to Upernivick next before they make their second attempt at the North West Passage.
They told us when they were in Nuuk there were 7 boats moored up and all were making an attempt at the NWP except Kiwi Roa who we met in Lewisporte, ourselves and Lady Young ( Adrian Wilks ) another Irish Cruising member and author of our Pilot of the area.

A 40 mile run which is small by our current standards was ahead of us before we got to where all the guide books told us was the jewel in the crown of Greenland and we weren't disappointed.
The icebergs which we has experienced to date were put in the shade as we motored towards an horizon full of bergs in every shape and size imaginable,with a clear blue sky and the sun blazing down the sight was amazing.
We stayed at a safe distance back as we approached the sea of icebergs which proved to be a good plan as a berg calved in front of us, as Mike was videoing.
All this ice is being released into the sea from the nearby glacier, the Sermermiut Icefiord. It produces 20 million tons of ice a day which is more water than New York uses in a year!
Next on the entertainment front was the appearance of a 60 foot Humpback whale slapping his flukes on the water and then smacking his tail on the surface.
We got really close and were entertained for about 20 minutes, with cameras and video going full belt!
At one stage he breached completely out of the water which was caught perfectly by Harry.
We pressed on as we had yet to negotiate the entrance of our next harbour Ilulissat.
Les of Arctic Tern had told us that due to its proximity to the glacier we would need to motor 8 miles North of the harbour before we would get a chance to make it through this sea of ice, then to hug the coast back down to what would be the smallest harbour visited to date.
Luck was on our side and Mike spotted a clear lead as we approached and we shot in.
First impressions were interesting as the harbour has an inner and outer area, the outer was 2/3 full of ice and at the entrance to the inner was a sunken trawler whose masts and radar were all that was visible.
After a bit of a game of chess we settled for a tie up to one of the trawlers. We moved twice more as the boats headed out for a nights fishing.
As this was Harry's last day we headed straight to the glacier which was a 1000 m walk out the road. This gave you the view from the other end of the glacier which was also an imaging sight.
Laying up Dinner for Harry was on the deck of a Hotel overlooking the sea of icebergs as the sun went as far down as it does around here.
A great end to an action packed day of sightseeing.