24 hours in Prince Christian Sound
We spent one and a half days and two nights aboard a rocking ship. Our cabin is on A deck – the lowest passenger deck. There is a crew deck and a cargo deck below us so our window is about 30’ above the water. We had waves hit the window and completely cover the glass so things were definitely rolling. The captain had said on his noon report that the swells and the wind would lessen and the night of Aug 21 should be calm and we could expect a nice day for our scenic cruising on the 22nd.
It is amazing how weather can change. By the time the sun set that night all was calm and the colours in the sky were lovely.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning to partly cloudy skies and the rocky slopes of Prince Christian Sound going by the window. We went out to the bow deck where it was brisk to say the least. Our trip into Prins Christian Sund is the route the captain had planned to sail out on our trip east. The passage has opened up enough now that we are able to go through. We enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee/cocoa, took a bunch of photos and went for breakfast.
Aug 22 7:30 – 8 am
We spent some time on the upper deck (14) until almost lunchtime then came into our cabin to warm up and upload the photos. Once we had warmed up we had some nice hot Dutch Pea Soup and went back up to deck1 14. This was our pattern for the day – inside, outside, deck 4, deck 14 – take photos of icebergs, glaciers, rock mountains. One of the glaciers even calved off some icebergs for us.
9 – 10 am
11:30 – 1:00
The water was so still by one o’clock the reflections were gorgeous. About 2:30 in the afternoon we again arrived at the isolated fishing/sealing village – the only habitation in the Prince Christian Sound – where we turned around last time. The fjord water was still as glass so the captain decided to lower a tender and have some crew members bring a chunk of an iceberg onboard. He gave a single blast of his horn to alert the villagers we were stopped and over the next ½ hour 5 outboard motor boats came out to the ship. The fellows in one of the boats helped the fellows in the ship’s tender haul in their iceberg, then there of the boats came close alongside the ship and the captain had several cases of fresh fruit sent out. They got oranges, pineapples, cantaloupe and honeydew and watermelon. I am pretty sure fresh fruit would be a very welcome treat in a place that remote.
2:30 – 4:30
The village is home to 80-130 Inuit who fish and hunt seals for the meat and the pelts, which they sell in Qaqortoq at the fur warehouse. There is a church, a one-room school (ages 6-16; 22 kids), and a general store. The houses are all pre-fabricated and brought over by boat. During winter the fjord is frozen and there is no access to the village. It is only the few short summer months that they can get in and out. There is a helipad in the event of a medical emergency when the fjord is blocked.
We sailed at dead slow speed all day, dodging the occasional large ice berg, doing 180 degree turns so people could get a good look a glaciers, navigating very tight hairpin turns in the fjord. The captain probably had a ball today; this was why he went to sea, to steer a ship. Most of the time these ships are in open water and unless they have to make adjustments for waves or storms it is almost an auto-pilot type thing. Today was sailing a ship. Not as intense as going through the ice floe on our way east, but still a good navigation day for the captain and crew.