Grey skies and blue seas

The hoped for settled weather failed to materialise and we woke to a day virtually without colour. Low grey skies, settled on a the grey screen covered hillsides and were reflected in the grey sea. Somehow packing in those conditions seems to take longer but we still managed to be on the water just before 09.00.

Low cloud
As we set off from Agpat there was very little colour in the landscape.

Heading out from the shelter of the islands we picked up a slight northerly wind, which certainly assisted our journey south. The ice bergs were largely offshore so we were able to relax. At one point we did have a couple of whales submerge about 100 metres directly ahead of us only to resurface behind, you hope that they are aware of your presence but I am never too sure.

Kayak
Louis looking as if he might have left his kayak behind. The slight chop was produced by a following wind so we made excellent progress south.
Rachel and berg
As we paddled south there were a few small icebergs but they didn”t really pose a challenge to navigation.

Landings along this section of coast are few and far between so we didn’t have lunch until we had finished at the end of the day. The relatively early finish meant that we were able to make full use of the substantial stream to wash both ourselves and equipment before having time to walk up the large valley behind the campsite.

Beach
This probably the best landing on the west coast of Arve Prinsens Ejland. Gently shelving beach, a swift flowing stream and a good campsite.
Glacial features
Walking up the valley behind the camp site allowed us to see a whole range of glacial features.

There is something exciting about wandering across terminal moraines, identifying a roche moutonnee and pointing out hanging valleys. Having a basic understanding of glacial processes can only add to the enjoyment of your time in such a spectacular environment. The wind was still blowing relatively briskly which meant that all of these activities were an insect free experience. Something which had been all too rare so far on the trip.
We woke to find that the grey skies of the day before had been replaced by a virtually cloudless sky, unfortunately the wind had increased somewhat and the waters on the outside of the bay were flecked with white horses.  We obviously weren’t going anywhere straight away, so we had an enforced, relaxing morning waiting for the wind drop, which it did just after lunch.
Soon we were heading south before rounding the southern tip of the island.  The plan was to paddle under the huge cliffs of the east coast the following day.  A couple of miles along the east coast we found some ideal slabs, suitable for landing on with flat land for camping on behind.  Perfect.  The only thing that could make it better was a couple of whales, whilst we ate our evening meal.  As it was we only had one humpback whale but what a spectacle we experienced for over an hour.  It is evenings and days like this that make you realise why sea kayaking in Greenland is such a special experience.

Evening meal
The rocky slabs are a great place for lunches and evening meals. Easy to land on and generally with less insects.
Whale
A whale surfacing in the bay, it provided a real distraction to the evening meal.
Breaching whale
The whale was feeding so it kept breaching mouth first. A really spectacular sight.

Arve Prinsens Ejland – West Coast

Arve Prinsens Ejland is a large island, which dominates the views of north east Disko Bay and offers some fascinating kayaking. Although we only had a short day planned there was plenty of variety, with a number of stops planned.
Our first target was a small Bay where I know that there is some excellent evidence of a former settlement. We had first camped here in 2008 and it was here that I really thought about the similarities of modern recreational kayaker and generations of former Greenlanders. We travel through the environment at the same speed as the Greenlanders did hundreds of years ago and our needs are almost identical. An easy place to land a kayak, a flat area for tents and a stream for water. As soon as I realised that we had identical needs and knew what to look for almost everywhere we camped we could identify signs of former human use.
As we approached the small bay it was clear that there were quite a few local fishermen in residence and it looked like most were still in bed, so we avoided landing there. We carried on pottering along the coast with the next target an area where Brunnich’s Guillemots nested. En route we passed a couple of very confident White Rumped Sandpipers. Quite an amazing bird, which is one of the greatest long distant migrants in the world, some individuals traveling from northern Canada to Patagonia. On their way north to breed they are thought to undertake non-stop flights up to 2,600 miles in length.
Brunnich’s Guillemots are a species which you are likely to encounter in the U.K., as they spend their lives in areas where the sea temperature remains below 8 degrees Celsius. So it’s always a pleasure to seem them on their breeding grounds. We weren’t disappointed today with quite a few individuals flying around in addition to variety of other species.

Brunnich's Guillemots
We were heading towards these cliffs to see Brunnich’s Guillemots although there were thousands of birds of different species

Our destination for today was just to the north of the abandoned settlement of Agpat, which is on a small island just off the west coast of Arve Prinsens Ejland. It is somewhere, which is always worth exploring. After landing Louis, headed back out to test his new fishing kit. As he headed back to shore it seemed that he was making hard work of what should have been a short paddle, it was only as he entered shallow water that we realised he was towing 4 Greenlandic cod, each of which would provide enough food for 7 people. 3 were delicately released whilst the unlucky 4th fish was on an open fire with 10 minutes of leaving the water. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.

Cod
Cod on the open fire within minutes having been caught. Delicious.

The evening was spent exploring the old settlement. This was my 6th visit and it is sad to see how the buildings are deteriorating over the years. Amazingly it was also the first time that we haven’t seen other people there. Some of us carried on exploring the village whilst several decided to walk to the highest point on the island, which was marked by a substantial cairn.
A great day but we went to bed in the knowledge that the following day we were heading south along quite an exposed section of Arve Prinsens Ejland. All we needed was weather like we have had for the 6 days and life would be great.

Agpat
Looking at the main buildings of the village from offshore.
School house
Some evidence of the use of the building. The cheque is dated February 1985 and some of the graffiti is dated 2004.
Cairn
Angus and Kate at the high point on the island. I always wonder about the history of such a large and significant landmark. Looking at the lichen’s growing on the rocks we assumed it was pretty old.