Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Greenland Yarn: The Hike

We and Aurora made our way south, twice anchoring for the night, each time heading ashore for a leg-stretching hike. In D'Aunay Bugt we spent all day climbing over an endless shambles of rocks to reach the foot of a glacier. The uphill climb under clear blue skies was surprisingly warm: we all started off wearing too many layers and enjoyed drinking from streams fed by fresh snow melt.

The third leg took us into Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord. Here we navigated through a maze of bergs up a narrow channel between rocks into a sheltered anchorage, Sulaili Bugt, named after Robin Knox-Johnston's yacht.

Robin and Chris had started their approach by heading up one of the glaciers on the far side of Watkins Fjord, just north of Sulaili Bugt, and we decided to hike over to see it. After the sweltering scrambling at D'Aunay Bugt I'd learnt my lesson and dressed down to t-shirt and shorts, which helped make light work of the hours clambering up and down countless ravines.

The view did indeed make the walk worthwhile and I was loath to leave. "I'm going to head over to that lookout" I said to the ship’s mate, indicating a tempting outcrop. "I'll catch you up".

It was pretty stunning: the channel was chocked in ice, fed by no less than three glaciers. But the scene suddenly vanished as the whole landscape was engulfed by a wave of thick encroaching sea fog.

Visibility dropped from tens of kilometres to tens of meters in just a few seconds, and I realised I had no way of knowing where I was or how to get back to the boat!

To be continued...

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