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Argelvor's blog

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This blog is about Elin and Alan's adventure in Greenland 2013-2014 aboard their sailing boat Argelvor.

Summer in Scoresbysund

July 2014 Posted on 30 Jul, 2014 21:17

The 7th of July Argelvor were finally free from the ice ! It was really incredible to see how fast the ice were melting, and how the season suddenly changes to summer. Even though we are very fond of winter and early spring in the arctic, the summers up here is also very beautiful and we were very eager to put up the anchor and once again discover the biggest fjord in the world. It was time to set sail again after 10 months stuck in the sea-ice at Amdrup Havn.
Together with our good friend Emil from Ittoqqortoormiit, we started our sailing trip in the fjord the 17th of July.
I think we were the first sailing boat to sail in the fjord this year, but we have to say that it is not so easy to put up the sails when it is almost packed with icebergs and big ice floes some places in the fjord… So we have to use the engine… Plus, it has been so nice weather these weeks in July that there has almost been no wind at all.
Our first goal of the trip was to go straight N in the fjord up to a place called Sydkap. We reached our destination after 24 h, and found a very nice mooring place in a small bay with huge icebergs as our closest neighbors. We went on a small hiking trip in the mountains at Sydkap, and we got a spectacular view over the fjord. It is at these moments you realize why people also travel to Greenland in the summer; green landscape with flowers all around you, small birds flying around and hares jumping around from time to time, and out in the fjord you have enormous icebergs as far as you can see and thousands of seabirds flying everywhere. It really is a spectacular view. After Sydkap, the trip went further W to Bjørne Øer. A really nice place, but for us it was mosquito hell…! It was almost unbearable. A small swim in the bay helped a little bit, but was only a very short joy of some minutes with no mosquito bites. We left Bjørne Øer after a few hours, and sailed further W in Øfjord then down Snesund and all the way to Hjørnedalen (Ankervik) – a popular summer place for the locals up here and the area is known for having a lot of Narhvales in July/August. Here we could see musk ox and fish a lot of arctic char. Great to finally have some fresh fish for dinner!
Arctic snacks – dried arctic char

Our goal was to sail all around Milne Land, and visit Hekla Havn were we spent some weeks last summer. But the ice was still blocking the fjord on the S side of Milne Land (around Danmark Ø), so we had to go back the way we came… We sailed N up Rødefjord and in to Harefjord where we met the Icelandic schooner Opal ( that we met last summer in Ittoq. It was great to meet again, to catch up and to share experiences about sailing in the fjord. We got invited for dinner on board – and for us it was fantastic to be served dinner with fresh salad! It has been awhile since we have tasted salad…;) Thank you very much to Heimir and Opal for their great hospitality!
Harefjord turned out to be one of our favorite mooring in the fjord, with very beautiful landscape: ice bergs, glacier and nice hiking area. We met both musk ox and hares. And with sun, no wind and warm temperature (and almost no mosquitoes) – a perfect place to relax and to enjoy summer holiday in Greenland 🙂
After two days in Harefjord, we went back in Øfjord towards Bjørne Øer. Sailed between Bjørne Øer and Milne Land and went S to Charcot Havn to anchor for the night. Then the trip went further S over the sound to Kap Stevenson (Vikingebugt). On this side of Scoresbysund you’ll find the highest mountains, and the landscape is very different than further in the fjord. Here, it was like turning back the time 1 month; with snow on the tundra and in the mountains, the bay packed with icebergs and there were still some area with sea-ice. We managed to find a nice mooring place, and spend the evening relaxing and listening to icebergs bumping into our boat.
It has been a great few weeks that has given us a lot of fantastic adventures and left us with many good memories. No we are headed back to Ittoq from Kap Stevenson to prepare for new sailing adventures along the coast N of Ittoq (Liverpool Land).

Waiting to get free from the ice…

June 2014 Posted on 01 Jul, 2014 20:40

In the village, dogs are back to their “summer camp”, and the hunters have switched their sledges for boats. The ice in front of Ittoqqortoormiit is gone. That also means that whale hunting time has started. Narhval is the most hunted whale in the surrounding area, and inhabitants here are found of the ‘matak’: raw narhval skin with the blubber that goes with… that we got to taste the 21th of June – the Greenlandic National Day. Actually, it is much better in taste than it sounds. Sadly, with the melting of the sea-ice, we had to deliver back the two other members of the overwintering crew : Kiniaq and Konto, our two fantastic dogs that have been our companions for six months. We felt more lonely than ever for few days, but it was not possible for them to stay on the sea-ice anymore which is now mostly covered with water.
Last dog team on the ice

Narhval hunting outside the village

Around Argelvor, there is still sea-ice, but it is melting fast, and the sea-ice is really not that thick as it used to be. There are also a lot of holes in the sea-ice (where seals pop-up from time to time), which makes it pretty difficult to move around… We now walk outside with our rubber boots and we are even skiing with rubber boots (!). We can see the open water 200 meters away from the boat, and we can get our fresh water in the nearby river again. It should not be long until we will be able to sail again!
Checking of the sails – ready to sail!

BILDE 4 Melting
Skiing in rubber boots!

Melting sea-ice…

Waiting for the ice to let us go, we mainly use our time to prepare the boat for sailing again and to sort/clean/dry all the equipment and food on board (and that’s a lot of stuff to sort and to pack!).
Packing of winter equipment

A couple of weeks ago we finished our scientific program on the sea-ice. Next job will be a bit further north, on the Atlantic shore, in August. Here we will manage the logistics for an ornithological program and do some transects of plankton sampling in Storisen. We are looking forward to go sailing soon 🙂

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