Thursday, September 17, 2015

Disko Bay - Day 9

This was to be a day of significant ice ending with a bug free camp and a swim.  We decided to head towards the glaciers at the head of Torssukatak, even though the weather was decidedly unfavourable.  As we headed east though the clouds started to rise, revealing to the tops of the mountains and allowing the sun to break through.
Within less than 2 hours we were paddling in perfect sunshine but an increasing amount of ice.  The way forward wasn't always obvious and we were concerned about the consequences of an increase in wind speed.  The ice was already starting to move with an alarming frequency and we didn't relish getting trapped.
At lunch time we decided that we were close enough to the ice front so were looking for a route south, across the fjord.  We climbed a small hill for a better view but it wasn't good news, there appeared to be no way through the ice, which was backed up when we tried to cross to the south.  Ice floes and smaller pieces of ice blocked our path and even with the advantage of height, from standing on a berg, no route was visible.
We retraced our route and headed slightly west before trying the crossing again.  This time entering the ice had a more positive feel and within about 30 minutes we were through to more open water and heading towards our camp for the night, on the south shore of Anoritoq.  This was a really special place, the sun remained warm, encouraging us to have a quick swim and we were able to sit for hours watching the Arctic sky without the inconvenience of insects.
An almost perfect end to an almost perfect day.
It wasn't a particularly inspiring day as we headed away from the camp, low cloud obscured the tops and the headland blocked the view towards the ice cap.
The clouds gradually lifted whilst the ice cap came into view.  The glacier coming down to sea level is clearly visible to the right of Nicky.
The light, ice and water combined to create some pretty memorable views.
 Another day in paradise.
 Alex in the ice, it was at times like this that you were please that we had pretty robust equipment.  We all used Werner paddles and had Rainbow Laser kayaks.  Both items of equipment were more than up to the task.
 The ice continued to increase in density until our way forward was blocked and there was nothing left to do but to retrace our paddle strokes and look for another route.
At one point I climbed out on a berg to look for a route through the ice but all progress was impossible, but it was fun looking.
 It doesn't matter how many times you have been out kayaking in Jersey nothing prepares you for situations like this.
 We had identified this bay as a suitable campsite but rather than paddle into the rear of the bay we camped on the southern headland.  There was just enough breeze to produce an insect free evening.
 There were some very large ice bergs around so that evening we made sure that we lifted the kayaks far enough above the high water mark to be free of problems created by rolling bergs.

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