Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Disko Bay - Day 1

Last year the Jersey Canoe Club ran its 11th Sea Kayak Symposium, which generated some funds for the development of paddle sport.  It was decided to purchase a number of sea kayaks and place them on the west coast of Greenland, which is truly one of the great places to go paddling.
The kayaks were used for the first time by a Breton group at the beginning of July, read Peter's blog of some of his experiences in Greenland, and then we flew out to start our 18 day journey.  Its very easy to tun out of superlatives when describing the kayaking in Greenland, but hopefully the photographs give a sense of what its like.
Ilulissat Ice fjord, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere lies at the head of this fjord.  Anybody visit Ilulissat, the tourist capital of Greenland should walk to the edge of town to view one of the wonders of the natural world.
Looking north across Disko Bay.  Our route was heading through all that ice, this was my sixth trip in Greenland but I had never seen this much ice before.  Luckily some of the ice dispersed overnight so the initial part of the journey was slightly easier than we anticipated.  A French group of paddlers leaving a few days after us, took 2 days to get away from Ilulissat because of the ice.
 Alex threading his way through some of the smaller pieces of ice.  The hanging draw is one of the most useful strokes to master in this type of environment.
Generally when kayaking the ice the water is pretty smooth.  If the wind does pick up and the ice starts to move then a much more challenging situation develops and it is essential to avoid getting trapped by the ice.
 Nicky passing the small village of Rodebay.  In 15 days time we will be back to eat at one of my favourite restaurants to be found anywhere, the H8.  Today though we just wanted to press on north to reach the slabs at Anoritoq, where we knew there was a good campsite.
 There were some bigger bergs around and as general rule you need to keep away from them or if you were forced to pass close by be ready to paddle flat out.
Toby is not as close at it looks, the use of a telephoto lens can completely change the perspective.
 Ice bergs and blue skies eat the memory, of the camera, faster than almost anything else.  As we came towards the end of our first day on the water little did we realize that we wouldn't have a day this warm for the rest of the trip.
 Arriving close to our first nights camp.  The glacial scoured slabs make a great place to camp.  Easy to exit from the kayaks and lift them up above the high water mark and hopefully less bugs because of the reduced amount of standing water.  Also perfect for sitting on and sipping an after paddle Pernod.
 Toby was the youngest member of the group and the person who swam the most, I am not sure the two facts are related.  The sea temperature is barely above freezing.  A memorable end to the first day.

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