Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Saturday, 24 August 2013

14 Days in Greenland 5

The weather forecast for the next few days was not looking too good. In order to maintain a reasonable safety margin it was decided to cut short the trip which meant the glaciers could not be visited on this trip, which makes for a great excuse for a return trip.

We left the campsite at Tuno and continued our journey NE towards towards the old US Airbase at Ikateq. Not to be confused with the village of the same name where we had camped at on our first night out of Tasiilaq.

The Tuno valley is a geography teachers heaven with glaciers, hanging valleys and all manners of rock features.

photo courtesy Zoe Newsam

It was easy paddling with great views.

We stopped for lunch at the airbase dump to enable some of the team to go trophy hunting.
The rest of us compared yoga notes over soup and coffee.

We proceeded to the airbase beach which was the first mud that we had encountered on the trip. The campsite was on the flat ground between the beach and the runway, so once camp was established it was time to go exploring.

The airbase was called Bluie Two or BE - 2 more information here Bluie_East_Two it was operational between 1942 and 1947. Apparently the Danes gave the US 24 hours to leave and this appears to be the case when exploring what remains.

It is a step back in history with earth moving equipment, dump trucks, rollers and other equipment scattered all around the place.

There are also thousands and thousands of oil drums left all over the site. In fact more drums than anyone is ever likely to see in one place. The pictures do not do this justice. After the US left the local communities squabbled over who should be entitled to the fuel left behind. They could not reach a settlement and the fuel just poured into the ground and the sea. There is still a faint smell all these years later.

We walked up the runway to the base and it was easy to imagine the drone of B 17 's  coming in over the sea to land.

The base was involved in weather reporting and providing a beacon for navigation. Gino Watkins visited this place and the lake to the NW is mentioned in one his biographies. It is strange that his work in exploring the place with a view to providing assistance to air travel was finally used by the US during the war.

The base was also involved in many rescues more details here Greenland_rescue.


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hi James, I have really enjoyed these Greenland posts, I keep hoping there might be some more...

Douglas :o)

James Murray said...

Thank you Douglas. It is an honour to have you stop bye. No.6 is done and there are more to follow, not up to your standard though.