Having visited Greenland on a number of occasions and paddled close to 1,500 nautical miles along the west coast, there are a few bits of pertinent information, which I have picked up along the way and might prove useful to anybody contemplating a visit to these northern waters.
Buy all of your food when you arrive. It is a waste of time and money shipping food. Even the smallest villages have a shop where you are able to buy anything from cream cheese to a sewing machine. Ilulissat has a number of well stocked supermarkets, which can meet all your needs prior to heading out kayaking.
Shop in Saqqaq, northern Disko Bay.
Take a spare in case you mis-place your first one. Have it ready to put on as soon as you get off the water. You may not need it but like a good Boy Scout be prepared. Remember to remove it when cooking in case the stove flares up, the molten material could make a real mess of somebodies face.
Some people use a complete bug suit, not just a head net.
Although it can be a bit of a pain to carry they are a great piece of group equipment. Perfect for those rare days when the weather isn’t good enough to sit outside and ideal for providing some relief when the insects are particularly troublesome. You can end up spending a significant amount of money on a tipi but I bought a cheaper version in 2009 and it is still going strong. It can have a significant impact on your luggage allowance so I have left mine in Ilulissat, ready for my next visit.
Perfect for helping with fuel economy, bring the rice to the boil and then take it off the flame for between 8 and 10 minutes. The rice will be cooked to perfection. They are Ideal for most meals. It takes a bit of searching to find one with small enough handles that it goes into a kayak hatch, we eventually found a suitable one in a back street in Istanbul.
Nets off when cooking
Look for the those slabs which have been scoured by the ice, close to the waters edge. They are perfect at lunch time for relaxing on and hopefully there will be no standing water nearby, which will reduce the insect menace.
Learning to relax on granite slabs is an essential skill for paddling in the Arctic.
The absolute essential item of dry land equipment. Don’t leave home without one.
Relaxing after a good days paddle along the Vaigat
Don’t always paddle to the rear of the bay, when kayaking in Greenland. Think about collecting plenty of water during the course of the day and camp on a low headland. The location may be more exposed to wind, which will keep the insects down and the views are likely to be far more spectacular. This was something which Greenlanders have known about for hundreds of years because quite a few of the low headlands we stopped at had indications of previous habitation.
A memorable campsite just the north of the abandoned village of Agpat. There was no standing water nearby and we had a relatively insect free evening.