Islands and ice – Disko Bay

The day after we were forced to change our route in northern Disko Bay we headed west along the north coast of Arve-Prinsens Ejland.  Passing between the ice to the north and the cliffs to the south, there was no real prospect of an easy landing, I always think that this a challenging stretch of water.
As we passed through the narrow gap to the west of Arve Prinsens Ejland we caught a glimpse of our first Arctic Fox.  This is one of two land mammals that you might see whilst paddling in this area.  The other is the Arctic Hare, which we encountered a couple of days later.
Once inside the gap it is advisable to stop, there is a nice sheltered beach and its probably been at least 3 hours since you have been able to have a toilet stop.
After lunch a quick scramble up the slopes behind the beach gives you a good view across to the small settlement of Qeqertaq and it is possible to assess the ice conditions for the crossing of the fjord.  More importantly there is a really good mobile phone signal, which is great for checking in with home after 7 days out but also enables you to get a reasonable weather forecast.  We have used Weather Underground, on recent trips and have found it to be pretty accurate.
Oqaatsoq, is the smaller island to the west of Arve Prinsens Ejland, and there is delightful campsite in a small bay on the south east corner of the island.  There are some dramatic bird cliffs on the opposite side of the bay to the camp and we have seen whales on a regular basis.  What better place to pass some time.
We camped for two nights, with some of us paddling the 13 nm around the island, with empty kayaks.  A real pleasure.  What we saw to the north though didn’t inspire confidence for the future, substantial numbers of large bergs appeared to be blocking the route to Saqqaq, where we planned to replenish our food supplies.  The future looked uncertain but there was nothing we could do as we retreated to the tents with a possible storm approaching across Disko Bay.

Greenland kayaking
Kayaking along the the northern shore of Arve-Prinsens Ejland.  The cliffs on the opposite shore rise to over 700 metres.
Sheltered bay
The narrow gap to the west of Arve Prinsens Ejland leads into this sheltered bay. 2 minutes walk from this beach it was possible to get a mobile phone signal and so our first weather forecast for 6 days.
Steep cliffs
Kayaking along the base of such steep, rocky slabs is always inspiring. The scale is always difficult to grasp.
Disko Bay
Located just above the beach is a perfect campsite. Easy, sheltered landing, great views, flat land and running water
Birds
Thousands of pairs of Kittiwakes cling precariously to the cliffs in the bay.
Disko Bay
Sometimes you are really fortunate, when staring out to sea, a whale will enter the bay. The first indication is normally the sound of their breathing.
Storm clouds
Storm clouds gathering over Disko Island. Fortunately it didn’t develop into anything serious.