Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

14 Days in Greenland 8

Today was Tuesday and our flights out of Greenland were not until Friday morning. It was a little disappointing that our trip was being cut short by a couple of days but that is one of the things that has to be expected  with a trip such as this. Our last expedition campsite was only a few kilometres to the east of Tasiilaq so this was going to be a short paddle back to base.

First we had to launch. The wind had picked again and this produced a few waves which led to a tricky launch off the rocks. Quite a bit of Martins gel coat was unfortunately left behind. We launched one by one assisted by the team members that were awaiting their turn to launch. Martin heroically took the last place and was faced with a wet entry.


Once we were all afloat we regrouped and headed out into the North Atlantic. Most of the ice had dissipated since the previous boat trip so there was no protection from the Atlantic swell. However, we had a tail wind and could make excellent progress surfing along with the waves.


                              There were still a few blocks of ice to keep us interested.



                                                    Some larger than others.

It was not long before we saw the Vikings Nose in front of us which marks the entrance to the inlet leading to Tasiilaq harbour.
There were a few moist eyes as we paddled slowly against the flow. This had been an amazing trip, we were all tuned into living the expedition life and associated routine and I for one was wishing it had lasted a bit longer.


We had two options for the next two nights we could either go straight to Nam Beach and camp for three nights next to the town dump and heliport or we could continue to the head of the Fjord and pass the time in a more rural location. We unanimously chose the second option. 
Each settlement has its own dump where all the refuse and waste is just pushed over a cliff. This was a great place to scavenge for wood so we paid a quick visit to the Tasiilaq dump and loaded the kayaks with enough wood for two nights beach fires.

The campsite was in a good location with a reasonable beach landing but was not without the usual mosquitos and flies.



We spent the next two days reading, fishing, walking and generally chilling.


Tasiilaq was within walking distance of the campsite and I was keen to visit the museum which had a kayak and various bits of kayaking and hunting equipment to view.


A few of us decided to walk into town via the the Valley of The Flowers which is a popular hiking route to the west of the town. There were a few places to try out some bouldering moves.


Approaching the town we passed the cemetery. This was very colourful and many of the graves were decorated with artificial flowers. 'The Greenlanders keep their relatives close' was a phrase that I had read and that seemed to be the case, death appears to be a way of life out here. The photographs on the graves brought home the fact that these were real people lying there. It had been a strange experience out on the trip to camp amongst burial cairns, with bones clearly visible under the rocks, but without the eerie sensation that you get with some of our grave yards back home.



We passed houses with the usual dog crew tethered outside.





During the winter apart from walking the other forms of transport are the helicopter snow mobile and dog sled.


This is a typical East Greenland sled which is longer than a typical West Greenland one. A longer sled makes it easier to cross open leads in the ice.


After a quick shop to buy some goodies and a look around the museum I headed back along the coastal path to the campsite. Just outside town were lots of dogs waiting for the weather to turn colder.




On the Thursday we struck camp washed all our kit in a fresh water stream and headed back to Nam Beach.




I had intended to complete the trip by executing a roll to finish. A dead Orca was floating in the harbour and was being gradually chopped up to feed the dogs so I decided against my 'Greenland Roll'.






The helicopter was still bringing in tourists.


Tasiilaq is home to just over 2000 people and is the largest town on the East coast of Greenland. It is a busy place with schools, supermarkets, police station, prison etc.
We paid a visit to the local service house to recharge our batteries. I had my first shower for two weeks and in a flash the expedition beard was gone.



This is a ball court under construction which was of interest to me because I will be doing the same thing when I get home.

We had a bumpy boat trip to the airport on the Friday morning which was in complete contrast to the one at the start of our visit. 
After a long wait at the airport my first trip to this amazing place was over. 
My words do not do the country  justice but this tourist slogan helps:

GREENLAND - THE COOLEST PLACE ON EARTH!




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