We had a slightly later start today after the exertions of yesterday and our main target for the day was to reach the small village of Saqqaq and replenish our food supplies. The weather was calm and settled initially but the cloud formations hinted at a change later in the day. In fact it wasn’t long before the wind started to rise and the temperature to drop.
We reached Saqqaq in time for some serious shopping before the store shut for a couple of hours. It is amazing how quickly one develops a craving for cakes, crisps and Fanta! What was probably the most memorable image of our stay in the village was watching a young boy, probably about 8 years of age, climb out of a boat and walk up the quayside carrying the leg of a freshly shot reindeer. Not the normal activity for an 8 year old in the UK.
We were warned about the potential for bad weather, a young Greenlander back in the village of his birth for his father’s wedding spoke to us in perfect English about his fathers concerns. we thanked them for their advice but we only had a few miles to go to our planned campsite, with numerous alternatives on the way.
Heading away from Saqqaq we were inside a line of large icebergs, which were steadily breaking up, so required a healthy degree of respect. By the time we did land the temperature had dropped considerably, requiring hats, gloves, down jackets etc just to maintain a reasonable degree of comfort.
This was a campsite that I had used before, 3 and 4 years ago and it was interesting to see that the glaciers appeared to be visibly shrinking. Its one thing to read about the impact of global warming but a completely different thing to actually be able to see it.
We had paddled just over 17 nautical miles today but for the first time we were in waters which had kayaked in before. It was like becoming re-acquainted with an old friend.
It was a beautiful start to the day, calm and reasonably warm although the clouds hinted at something more unsettled arriving.
We reached Saqqaq just in time to restock our food before the store closed for a couple of hours. Saqqaq has a population of just under 200 and is unusual in this area in that the population isn’t actually declining, which it is doing in so many small villages.
Just before we launched at Saqqaq a young Greenlander came over to say that his father felt that the weather was going to get worse and that we should be careful. Luckily we only had a few miles to paddle to reach a campsite which we had used before as it was obvious that things were changing.
Whenever I have paddled in this area there has always been a significant number of quite large bergs reasonably close to the coast.
Not all bergs are sparkling white. It was as cold as it looks in this picture.
This picture was taken in July 2008 on a previous visit to the area, whilst the one below was taken this summer from roughly the same spot. I have enlarged both and it is surprising to see how much more rock is exposed at the lower left hand edge of the glacier compared to 4 years ago.
Down jackets and woollen hats were the order of the day. Certainly our coldest evening but at least it kept the insects under control.
Nicky heading into the tent, due to the cold.
It was a rather noisy camp with the bergs breaking up throughout the night.