Sunday, June 21, 2009

Greenland's National Day

Overcast but brilliant! Uummannaq has been celebrating their National Day and the introduction of Self Rule including, not least, the UN recognition of Greenlanders as an independent people. This is a major first step on the way to independence.

I was invited to join in the qajaq demonstration and I brought along my modern monstrosity - no offence intended Folbot! ; ) I did okay in the 100m informal race, but I left the rolling to the experts!

I really have to get back into rolling. It has been way too long since I started learning to roll in the swimming pool at Strathclyde Uni. I switched to canoes shortly after that. However, rolling aside, I did get my hand in at fishing today ... literally!

The kids called me over to help them catch capelin that were swimming in huge shoals in the harbour. I took a modest four to begin with but came back for more when Jane joined me with the camera!

It has been a good day - paddling with the pros and catching fish with the kids. A nice way to see in the first day of an exciting future for Greenland!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First day on the water ... finally!

After several days of repairs to the hull of my Folbot Cooper, I was finally ready to get on the water. I have been late this year and I could feel it as the anticipation of paddling began to creep into my bones. Of course, I can feel it now too - in my muscles!

Marie and I took our Coopers out into some fun waves to play around a little. I chose to take the Cooper instead of the Kodiak as I will be using that later this summer on a shakedown cruise to get used to it before the expedition this time next year. Without mentioning too many Folbots ... Jane and I will begin our summer paddling trip in a few days time using the double Greenland II. Can't wait!

Back to today though ... after an hour or so of fun I experienced the highlight of my paddling "career" in Uummannaq. After having taken the boats up by the side of the road, Marie and chatted a bit about the waves, work and what not. While we stood there the chairman of the local Qajaq club drove past. He stopped and said we could put our kayaks on the rack if we wanted to! Amazed, I double checked and then thanked him enthusiastically in Greenlandic.

Feeling honoured we moved one boat at a time only to have a few puppies start chewing on my cockpit coaming while we went back for Marie's boat. A few more holes won't hurt my already patched boat and little can take the edge off my feeling of pride at our new found parking place!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The first days of June

1st June: there is still a lot of ice in the fjord. Small floes and lumpy bits that can easily be pushed aside by fishing cutters but not so much fun for a folding kayak - I have the holes to prove it!

2nd June: the day of the general election in Greenland. For once the nature of Greenland was outshone by the remarkable goings on in the Home Rule Government of Greenland. With the advent of Self Rule to be initiated on the 21st June, Greenland's National Day, it was fitting that the current ruling party, Siumut, that have held power for 30 years, was toppled by a landslide victory for the Inuit Ataqatigiit party. The future of Greenland is about to become very exciting indeed.

4th June: more movement on the water and the bergs are most definitely free to roam, sail, or whatever it is that icebergs do.

5th June: the Cooper is dragged out of storage and put in "dry dock" for maintenance and the patching of holes. You don't need to put holes in folding kayaks but I had way too much fun paddling up onto ice floes last June. Repairing kayaks could and perhaps should be a winter job, but at minus 20 Celsius it was never very appealing, and I don't think the dogs would have been too happy either!

6th June: paddling season can clearly begin! I have heard that some of the locals have already been out in the skin on frame kayaks. I had better get those holes fixed so I can join them.