Northern Disko Bay – kayaking

After a couple of days on any trip you start to settle into a daily routine.  The start of our day had the simple mantra “7-8-9”.  Up at 07.00, breakfast at 08.00 and on the water by 09.00.  By the time we had arrived in northern Disko Bay, the routine was well established and most mornings we were away early.
Entering the waters of entering these waters is always an unknown, as regards ice.  It is possible to obtain sea ice charts from the Danish Meteorological Institute but by the time you have kayaked to northern Disko Bay from Ilulissat they are likely to be out of date.  If you encounter open water no problem but if there is ice it is matter of feeling your way forward and this may involve getting of the kayaks at times, climbing to higher viewpoint to scout for leads in the ice.
In the northern part of Disko Bay there are a number of glaciers which discharge into the fjords so it is impossible to predict how much ice there will be.  What is important is to ensure that you maintain a safe distance between yourself and the ice front.  The closest we approached was 3 nautical miles and we didn’t hang about!
On our journey through the area there were some significant areas of open water but in one place our intended route was blocked so we took a more southerly route.  This actually worked out really well as we ended up camping in a delightful spot at the rear of sheltered bay.  Our only concern was that in the distance we could see a number of really large bergs, which might have an impact on our need to reach Saqqaq, where we planned to replenish our supplies.
There are 2 small settlements in the northern part of Disko Bay, Saqqaq and Qeqertaq, both of which provide the opportunity to buy food, what was uncertain was which one it would be.  As with any sea kayaking in Disko Bay there is a need to remain flexible due to the variations in the weather and ice.

Cliffs and waterfalls
We stopped here to collect our water for the next 24 hours.
snow
An early start to the day meant that in the evenings there was plenty of time to explore the surrounding area.
Sun at midnight
This was the last day that the midnight sun was going to be visible at this latitude so it was inevitable that we stayed up to take photographs.
Ice front
Although spectacular where glaciers enter the sea are not safe places to be so we kept our distance.
Ice front
The glacier close to Eqi. The shattered and heavily crevassed front clearly shows why you need to keep your distance. The closest we approached was about 5 miles.
Small pieces of ice
At first the ice is really easy to paddle through. The small pieces crashing harmlessly along the side of the kayaks.
Sea kayak and ice
Gradually the density of the ice increased and at times the way forward wasn’t always clear.
Picnic spot
We stopped for lunch on these rocks in an attempt to keep away from the insects. We were also able to walk up a small hill which showed that our proposed route in the afternoon was blocked by ice.
Kayaking and ice bergs
After lunch a slight change in direction took us back into open water and much easier paddling.
Tents and water
This sheltered campsite was a delightful place to stop.