Saturday, September 05, 2015

Disko Bay - Day 3

It was another grey, cold start to the day with low cloud obscuring views of the higher summits.  Our aim was to continue heading north to reach the abandoned settlement of Agpat, although there were some doubts in my mind in the prevailing conditions.
Threading our way north, through the bergs, we reached a point when somebody needed the inevitable toilet stop.  Why is it in cold weather that we need to stop sooner to relieve ourselves? Nicky and myself landed on a small beach whilst the others looked for shelter from the cold wind, which was penetrating through both the dry suits and layers of fleece.
They only paddled about 50 metres further on and discovered a sheltered beach complete with small cave.  Hot soup was clearly the order the day, to ward off the cold, this was the only time that we needed gloves, whilst on a break.  Some exploration in the area revealed that we were not the first people to realize the advantage of this site, as we discovered the remains of settlement on the headland above.
By the time we reached the inlets around Agpat, the cloud had risen above the hill tops with occasional shafts of sunlight providing some much needed warmth.  A couple of fin whales, were swimming in the distance, providing a very clear link to why Europeans first settled in this area, nearly 250 years ago.
 Toby heading north in conditions which were less than photogenic.  Low cloud obscuring the summits. 
It felt as cold as it looks in this picture.  Tracey intent on making some progress north.
 The small beach where we found some shelter from the penetrating wind.  The former settlement was on the small headland just above the beach.
The remains of this small settlement were a surprising discovery, which was the result of climbing a bit higher the scout the way ahead.
 The position of old settlements is normally indicated by different coloured vegetation.  There were the remains of several small buildings on this low rocky point.
It is the scale which is deceptive, these rocky slabs reached to just over 2,500 feet above sea level.
 We knew that there was no water at the campsite so Alex sacrificed his personal comfort to fill the groups water bottles.
 Camp for the night was just to the north of the abandoned settlement of Agpat.
Agpat, founded in 1781 was originally known as Ritenbenk.  A Danish whaling settlement, at one time it was larger than Ilulissat.  It was abandoned in 1960.  For a while the children from Ilulissat came here on summer schools but even that practice has been stopped.  I first visited here in 2008 and it is clear that there has been some deterioration in the buildings.  I would have thought that some consideration must be given to preserving this historic whaling settlement.
There was a family on holiday here from Ilulissat, who gave us the guided tour of the buildings as well as showing us the fish they were drying for future consumption.
 On the hillside above the village this erratic was evidence of previous glaciation.

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