2015 Jul 30 & 31 – Days 6 & 7 – At Sea and Qaqortoq, Greenland

We were quite pleased in Red Bay to pass an iceberg on the tender ride.  While eating dinner last night we passed three more large icebergs; and a pod of small whales was frolicking (probably minke whales) about 200 yards off the starboard side of the ship.  There is a family of three teenage daughters at the window table beside us and the mom and those girls were so thrilled to see the whale fins and tails and blows.  It was a nice ending to the day.

My phone clock acted up again and I was up, showered, dressed and tying my last shoe lace when John woke and told me it was 6:42.  My phone said it was 8:42.  John turned his off and on again and it came back 8:42.  Crazy. Anyway this time I put my jammies back on and crawled into bed.  I wasn’t doing that early morning thing again! Today is a sea day so we had nowhere to be anyway. Quite a few of our shore excursions leave the ship at 8 or earlier so I will have enough early rises to get ready and eat before we go out.

I woke again at 10 after 8 to another day of thick fog.  I do hope it clears off before the scenic cruising in the Greenland fjords day after tomorrow.  Tomorrow we are at Qaqortoq (Kakortok) and there are no excursions available. It is a tender port and we are there from 10-6.  It has a population of about 3000 and is the second largest community in Southern Greenland (4th largest on the island).  There are a couple of old churches and the oldest fountain in Greenland within walking distance of the pier – also a geocache or two.

We pretty much did nothing all day – puzzles and read.  John was brave and walked 8 quick laps (2 miles) on deck in the cold and wind.  I don’t do cold.

IMG_6435  IMG_6437Tonight is our second formal night so dress-up time again.   Our cabin steward made my favorite towel animal – the puppy dog.

IMG_6439IMG_6441When I woke up in the morning I opened the drapes to see the Greenland coast lit up with glorious sunshine.

IMG_6445IMG_6446We were scheduled to go ashore by 10 but the ship was cleared by customs at 9 so the first tenders headed out.  We went in about 10:30 and avoided the first rush.  Greenland was discovered by the Vikings in the 10th century and has been occupied for 4300 years.  It was colonized by the Danish April 7, 1775 and remained a colony of Denmark until 1953. It is geographically part of North America but is politically a part of Europe. In 1981 Greenland began full self-government with a constitutional monarchy, the King of Denmark being head of state.  The town of Qaqortoq is built up the rocky hills around a nice bay. We walked through town around to the lake and down the other side back to the pier.

IMG_6448 IMG_6460 IMG_6463 IMG_6453IMG_6467 IMG_6474IMG_6472  These carvings in stone were part of a 1994-95 project by different local artists.  There are over 30 of them located around the town.IMG_6482 IMG_6484 IMG_6490 IMG_6491 IMG_6499 IMG_6500 IMG_6501 IMG_6505

There were lupins and buttercups blooming on every hillside. Absolutely lovely.IMG_6507 IMG_6513 IMG_6514 IMG_6516 IMG_6526 IMG_6528John tried to locate a couple of caches that showed up on the GPS but the co-ordinates kept bouncing around.  Finally after we had seen most of the sites in town he found a cache 400 meters away in the other direction so we went looking for it.  The granite hills surrounding Qaqortoq are very steep and you can avoid the switch-backs on the roads by climbing long flights of stairs.  We hiked straight up an almost vertical hillside thinking it was the place in the directions that indicated you are to leave the road.  We discovered at the top that the path we were supposed to climb was just down the road from where we clambered onto the road again.  I could see a rock cairn on top of the hill and thought that would be where the cache was located.  Turns out it was not too far away and it didn’t take too long for John to find it hidden behind a rock.

IMG_6542 IMG_6547 IMG_6566 IMG_6567 IMG_6568 IMG_6579 IMG_6585 IMG_6588From the cache site you could climb further away from the town and up higher and see the bay on the other side of the hill.  This we did.  The view was spectactular!

IMG_6598 IMG_6600 IMG_6606After taking some pics we made our way along the rocky hilltop and over to another cairn that overlooked the bay where the ship was docked.  John picked up a pointed rock as he walked along and placed it on the top of the cairn to finish it off.

IMG_6607IMG_6611  IMG_6615 IMG_6619We continued on in a sort-of-toward-town direction to a third cairn and then made our way back to the road and the long flights of stairs down to the town center.

IMG_6620 IMG_6621 IMG_6623 IMG_6624 Lots of long flights of stairs to get from one section of houses to another cutting off the road switchbacks.

We boarded a tender and were back on board about 3pm.  Plenty of time to check our photos, choose the ones for the blog, and dress for dinner.

We really enjoyed our day here. Gorgeous scenery, nice sunshine, cool but not cold, and we were only assaulted by the tiny black flies at the start of our walk. Being brilliant, I planned to bring our Australian fly covers with us. Being stupid, I left them at home.  Oh well, we survived the onslaught.

In the evening the fog lifted and we sailed through a large iceberg floe.  Some of them are humongous and there were lots of smaller ones – an amazing variety of shapes and sculptures.  One gigantic one looked like it had been put through a sawmill the sides were so perpendicular and the top was so flat.  And others were bumpy or had very tidy-looking globes on them.  Really cool stuff.

IMG_6632 IMG_6634 IMG_6635 IMG_6643 IMG_6644 IMG_6662 IMG_6663 IMG_6670 IMG_6677IMG_6683IMG_6675   IMG_6681 IMG_6679Awhile later I went up to the stern and watched the sunset.  The sky looked like it was on fire.  And the moon in the other direction was almost full and throwing a glistening stream on the water.  A magical end to a wonderful day.

IMG_6685IMG_6684  IMG_6693 IMG_6697 IMG_6713 IMG_6719 IMG_6723 IMG_6730 IMG_6733 IMG_6735 IMG_6736 IMG_6742 IMG_6744Tomorrow we are scheduled to do some scenic cruising in Prince Christian Sound. The fog was rolling in again while we ate dinner and parts of the Sound are still blocked by icebergs so we will see what tomorrow brings.  Today was a great day!

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