Friday, February 28, 2014

A Greenland Yarn: A Polar Bear and Hot Bath

Our first anchorage was behind Turner Island just south of Scoresby Sund, the entrances protected by bars only a few metres below our keel. Here we could stretch our legs, some climbing a nearby peak where they encountered an Arctic hare, while I joined another group hiking towards the next fjord. We were perturbed to notice many bear prints lingering on the volcanic black sand and find seal skulls, possibly their victim.

We rejoined Aurora to cross the fjord and had just stepped onshore from the dinghy when we saw a polar bear a short way along the beach. Quickly we returned to the yacht and spent the next ten minutes watching the bear tuck into a narwhale carcass we guessed had been left behind by some Inuit hunters. It didn't seem comfortable eating with company so it grabbed what looked like a fin and ambled away until out of sight.

Returning to land we spotted more narwhale remains as we hunted for the hot springs reportedly in the area. After searching for about an hour we were rewarded by finding not just one but three, and we split along gender lines, the women soaking themselves in one surrounded by bright green moss while I joined the other men in a pool created by a dam of rocks, served by a volcano like cone which sprouted boiling water.

It was really rather hot and as we dared each other to dunk our heads under water we didn't notice the Inuit hunting party making their way towards us. They spoke no English but their smiles were friendly and warm so we made signs inviting them to join us.

This led to a sharp exchange of words and one starting haranguing the others, indicating they should return to their boat. They seemed to give in and trudge away, while the victor turned to us with a smile.

It was only then that we realised she was a woman, who quickly stripped off and joined us in the pool!

To be continued...

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