A wonderful Greenlandic woman named Heidi recently described Greenland as a dose of vitamins. You go to Greenland, and every day your body fills with vitamins. When you leave Greenland, your body starts to use those vitamins, and eventually, they’re all gone, and you have to return. When she told us this, I couldn’t help but smile, because it’s true, and it was time for our Greenland vitamin fix. For both Mark and I this was our fourth trip to Greenland, and the second together. This time the destination was South Greenland, and six clients joined us for Greenland or Bust’s South Greenland Expedition, which included 13 days on the water and 300 kilometers paddled.
The “team” before heading out on day one.
Wind had driven ice into the harbor, which turned our launch site into an obstacle course.
In fact we had lots of ice to maneuver through on the first day.
A short crossing to Qassiarsuk gave us the opportunity to get to know the kayaks.
Then we headed out into the ice.
No two icebergs are alike.
Oded takes in the spectacular scenery.
Every iceberg takes on a personality of its own.
And still more.
This seal bravely hangs out on a piece of ice.
Greenland’s landscape can feel very vast, and what looks to be a short crossing often isn’t.
At times the ice moved in a solid flow, but we were always able to pass.
Drinking water was easy to find, and filters weren’t needed.
We had three portages throughout the trip. This ramp helped out a lot.
The top of the land bridge.
The journey down was the best part.
The second land bridge wasn’t quite as much fun… up a rocky beach, a short paddle across a murky pond and down a rocky beach.
Our final portage took us, our kayaks and our gear across four kilometers in the back of a flatbed truck.
Many of the best landing beaches had Norse or Inuit ruins. Here the group stands in the remains of an Inuit earth house.
This pile of rocks is an Inuit grave. Over time many of these graves have opened up, revealing bones from long ago.
This day our “camp” was a little tricky to get to.
But getting to the top was well worth the hike. This “space pod,” as we named it, was unlocked and ready to provide shelter.
Norse ruins line the hillsides. The “space pod” was likely placed for researchers to study the ruins that are not easily assessable.
Many of the ruins were in very good condition.
We visited active settlements as well. Here Gennifer buys pastries from an Inuit woman in Narsaq.
Our lunch spots and campsites were always scenic.
Sunsets were always spectacular.
Piles of rocks are a common site in Greenland.
Watching icebergs from shore can be fun, especially when they put on a show by rolling or shedding smaller bergs.
Gennifer shares some whale, which she’d purchased in a town and cooked up as an evening treat.
I don’t think there’s a prettier place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.
Mark cooks up some tasty falafels.
Camp often had a very relaxed feel.
We spent a night camping at some hot springs.
Every team member had the opportunity to plan part of the route. Here Jack tells the group the plan.
We stayed in Qaqortoq for two nights and a full day to experience some of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.
Kampe and Dubside greeted us upon arrival, and it was great to catch up with them.
Heidi teaches Greenlandic during breakfast at the hostel.
A sealskin akuilisaq is ready for the competition.
This avataq is complete with feet.
A father teaches his son how to roll.
Kampe coaches Heather (a visitor from New York) on the ropes.
This boy competes in Greenland Rope Gymnastics.
The rolling competition is always a great spectator event.
This boy is ready to roll, and he’s wearing a sealskin tuilik for the occasion.
This boy prepares to do a norsaq roll.
This man is ready to do the avataq roll.
These proud fathers embrace after their sons compete in the team rolling event.
Canadians James and James embrace after competing in the team rolling event.
There are many types of races in the Championship.
And just about everyone got a medal or two.
Sealskin kayaks are displayed in the museum.
After the expedition we had a traditional Greenlandic dinner in Narsarsuaq.
Mattak, or whale blubber, is a delicacy.
Greenlandic Coffee is a special treat… and a very good one.
Mark and I are well stocked up on our “Greenland Vitamins.” We’ll be back though… would you like to join us?