Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Greenland Yarn: The Iceberg

My voyage to Greenland started in Isafjordur in the north west of Iceland where I joined the Clipper 60 Aurora, which had once been Antiope, Robin Knox-Johnston's expedition yacht. With skipper Siggi and ten others we planned to sail across the Denmark Straight and spend two weeks exploring, kayaking and hiking.

We cast off during one of the long northern summer dusks, pointing Aurora's nose nearly due north as we skirted cliffs, navigated through tidal rips and magnetic anomalies, admired the Lord of the Rings peak of the Hornbjarg and watched playful dolphins dance around the bow.

The chill increased along with our latitude and as we approached Greenland we plunged into banks of mist, from which emerged floating slivers of ice followed by white cathedrals towering above us.

On the second night, Siggi was below while the others were asleep, leaving me alone on deck, keeping watch. We were making way under a light north easterly through mostly calm seas lit from the surrounding clouds. It was peaceful, but unsettling.

I heard it before I saw it. There was the slap of waves against its side and the faint fizzing cracking of ice in a G&T. Suddenly, to starboard, out of the murk appeared a shadowy wall like a chalk cliff.

It was an enormous iceberg, drifting down from the far north.

To be continued...

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