Forbidden Coast

Report

During the last week of July we were monitoring the sea ice charts for the east coast of Greenland more closely than normal. Our departure date was set for July 27th and still the whole coast was blocked with ice.  We cheap nfl jerseys were aiming for the Kangerdlugssuaq area (around 68°N) and it´s no wonder that they call this „The Forbidden Coast“. The stretch of coast between the Ammassalik area and Scoresby Sound is considered to be one of Greenland’s most challenging and foreboding. Here are the highest mountains in the Arctic with some of the longest and most ice-filled fjords. This is the Polar bear and Narwhals dominion. A place that only a few hardy adventurers in the annals of Arctic exploration have ever deigned to challenge.

But this is exactly what makes these trips so interesting and exciting and why we keep coming back year after year. This is true manage, exploration and we are assured that each trip will be a little bit different. New destinations will be explored and new territory charted. We always leave port in Ísafjörður on scheduled date even if we then do not always follow the original plan! So in the evening of July 27th we set sail and headed out of the fjords. A huge pod of White-beaked Dolphins gave us a fantastic farewell show and jumped and leaped around the boat as we cruised north past the headlands of the West Fjords.

On satellite photos and ice charts from Greenland we had found an opening in the sea ice cover around Turner island (almost 70°N). We had never been to this particular location before but in true pioneering spirit we looked forward to explore. The weather was nice – actually too nice because we rarely had enough wind to sail all the way. So after a day of sailing/motoring we started to see the mountains of east Greenland sticking up out of the ice cap. And in perfect calm and sunny weather we entered Turner sound and found a quiet anchorage behind Turner island.

Aurora Greenland 2013 Kangerdlugssuaq

After nice hikes in the mountains around Turner sound where a curious Snow Hare followed us around we decided to move to the next fjord and go look for hot springs that we had heard about. Part of the group paddled kayaks over while Aurora sailed over to Rømer fjord. We crossed the fjord to where we thought that the hot springs could be. When we were just stepping on land we spotted the unmistakable yellowish white silhouette of a Polar Bear coming over a hill towards us!  Granting him all due respect on his own beach we retreated back to Aurora and took Summer her to within a few meters of where the bear was feasting on what looked like a whale carcass. But after a while he decided to move Difference? to a more peaceful place to finish his desert and jogged leisurely up into the hills with a good chunk of whale flipper in his mouth. What a fantastic experience to watch this beautiful animal.  So off we went again to explore on land and eventually we found the hot springs. Hot springs are common in Iceland but very rare in Greenland. This particular one is one of the nicest and most of the group took a well earned bath!  We also found that what the bear had been eating were remains of Narwhal that some local hunters had left on the beach. We followed the bear´s example and took a sizable piece of meat which the skipper cooked in various recipes onboard later.

Aurora Greenland 2013 drying whale

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Now it was time to head further down the coast and with one-night stops Knighton fjord andd´Aunay bay we continued down to the great Kangerdlugssuaq fjord.  Here we found our way into one of our favourite anchorages in Suhaili bay – thus named when our good friend, and former owner of Aurora, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston anchored there on his boat Suhaili in 1991.  We spent a few nights here, exploring the area on foot and on kayaks.

Aurora Greenland 2013 Skærgaard

Aurora Greenland 2013 hot pots 2

Aurora Greenland 2013 hot pots

 

After a wonderful stay in Kangerdlugssuaq it was time to continue south. This area is thus described in the British Admiralty Arctic Pilot: ‘The stretch of coast between Kap SM Jørgensen and KapDeichmann, 90 miles NE, is considered one of the most difficult in Greenland; the mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers discharge quantities of ice, while numerous off-lying islets and rocks make navigation hazardous’.  This time we sailed out around it and directly to Tasiilaq. The last stretch into the Ammassalik Arabemiraten fjord was in the middle of a beautiful night. Sirius, the dog star was shining brightly in the west when the good ship Aurora ran the last miles into Tasiilaq. The sun was getting ready to rise behind the mountains of the Ammassalik region but the beautiful morning light did not manage to eliminate a small display of northern lights to the south. Aurora — the rosy fingered goddess of dawn certainly put up a good show for us.

 

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