Sunday, July 25, 2010

TSS2010 Teaser Video


Here's a teaser video for the period I am without a computer.  Be sure to check out the Greenlandic band Nanook!

video

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back Home!!


Paddled thru the fog to journey's end yesterday

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome Home!

Paddled through the fog yesterday and arrived at journey's end. It has been a brilliant experience which I will begin to share on the blog as soon as I can.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The journey's end!

Sitting by the sea just outside Qaarsut, I can see journey's end. I will strart the last paddle around midnight. Then comes the hard part - writing about it!

Fog


Trapped by fog, surrounded by midges, melting bergs to do the dishes!

Heading for Qaarsut

I’m getting ready to leave Ikorfat, heading for Qaarsut. Lots of whale bones here but no whales yet.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rain!

In tent, wind and rain outside. All ok, just not going anywhere. Melting chunks of iceberg for water and coffee. Reading scifi and fossil hunting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Niaqornat


In niaqornat - will paddle when wind stops.

Boat to Niaqornat

I have a quote on my blog: "throw out plan A and plan B, just relax!" Leaving Uummannaq today I ran into big waves! (Trying to edit a video for you to see.) I got into to town but no further. Flexibility is the name of the game and in that spirit I will sail on a boat to Niaqornat tomorrow morning - thanks Arne, & slee...p in Birthe's guest room tonight - thanks Birthe! I guess now I am just left with the "relax" part!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last leg!

Leaving for Qaarsut later today. Weather good with light wind. Have enjoyed lots of good food and now ready for last leg.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In Sermitsiaq's online news service

I found out from Saamu that the expedition has been noticed by the editors at Sermitsiaq online news service.  You can see the Greenlandic and Danish versions here:

Greenlandic

Danish

Here's the English translation:

 Fra ekspeditionens ankomst til Ukkusissat. Foto: Chris Paton

One-man kayak expedition in Uummannaq A British born English teacher from Uummannaq is these days on a one-man kayak expedition to five of the city's seven districts.

By the editors from 10 07 2010 - 13:16
The expedition called The Seven Settlements Solo Kayak Expedition and the man behind the name Chris Paton and is 37 years.
 
The goal was to paddle 450 km in kayaks around Uummannaq Fjord and Uummannaq visit all seven villages. The expedition, however, run into problems, and now Chris Paton decided to confine myself to visit five villages.
 
- Satellite equipment is useless and so is part of the seal on my wet suit was destroyed. Compared with the much fog that makes it dangerous to sail around among the icebergs, I have decided not to cross the fjord to the more northern settlements, writes Chris Baton on his blog.

The route is now limited to 320 kilometers, which means 24 days at sea. Kayak expedition focuses on Greenlandic culture and nature.


- Likewise, I see and meet the people I have come to love and respect. The descendants of the first kayak sailors who still cherishes the noble art of kayaking, writes Chris Paton.

Chris Paton is BA in Outdoor Education from University of Strathclyde and a Danish teacher graduated from Jelling Seminarium.  He has since 2006 taught English at Edward Kruse School in Uummannaq.

The story so far ...


During this brief period of R&R in Uummannaq I have found the time to upload a few photos from the expedition so far.  I fully intend to write a more detailed account once I have finished and relocated to Qaanaaq.  However, although the mobile has been good for sending some photos from the trip I wanted to give you a better idea of the arctic landscape through which I am paddling.



While there have been many icebergs there are fewer, in my opinion, than I have seen during my previous paddles.  They are however rather big.  It is difficult to put their size into context but I imagine many of them to be the size of supermarkets (European) with a few moderately sized shopping malls (USA) in between.  You just can't see it in photos - you need to paddle past them.  The icebergs in these pictures have come from the glacier deep in Uummannaq fjord, close to the settlement of Ikerasak.


There is a reasonably diverse range of flora and fauna, though most vegetation is limited to small plants or trees and bushes stunted in growth.  The flower below is known as "Grønlandsposten" but without my guide book I can't tell you much more than it is quite common and I think it is the national flower of Greenland - I'll check!


These guys, below, are all over and they seem to announce their presence whenever they come into an area where I am camped.  I have made a point of peeing around my tent to mark my territory!  I'm not sure it was absolutely necessary but Farley Mowat did it when researching wolves in Arctic Canada ... and if it works for him, well, I have to do it, eh?


I will be sure to add more photos as soon as possible.  The next phase of the expedition begins on Monday as I paddle on to Qaarsut and Niaqornat.  Having checked in with the local Police yesterday I am once again pleased to have made the decision to change my geographical goals, especially as three young men died tragically in a boating accident after hitting some ice - we think - about a week before I started.  Sadly, their bodies have yet to be found.


The other goals of the expedition - solo, independent travel by Folbot folding kayak are going very well.  I am getting well-used to the kayak and have yet to find fault with it.  The "hole" in the kayak mentioned earlier turned out to be very minor and the amount of water in the boat had more to do with hasty, wet entries than leakage.  I have found that when on a beach free of midges I pack and trim the boat well, and quickly.  That results in a good paddle.  Packing from a difficult position, plagued by biting insects usually results in a poorly trimmed boat and potential frustration in wind and waves.  With a well-trimmed boat, with the weight well distributed, I have no need for the rudder - the Folbot Kodiak glides through the water.  I have therefore little need for the rudder.  Unfortunately, I think I am a little long in the leg to use the rudder without experiencing some discomfort after a long paddle.  The night of Thursday through to Friday morning, 12 hours or so of paddling, however, was pleasant, although I experienced seaman's legs when trying to walk around town the following day!


I have also gotten used to paddling with Gram Kajak's wooden Greenland paddle and find it very enjoyable to paddle with.  The combination therefore of well-made modern equivalents of traditional skin-on-frame qajaqs and handcrafted paddles is proving to be very harmonious.  Huge thanks to Folbot and Lars Gram!

I'll post more when I can.

Friday, July 9, 2010

12 hours paddle!

After 12 hour paddle I’m finally in my tent making pasta for breakfast. Totally knackered after effects of iceberg calving and being chased by hungry dogs on island!

Going for it!

All well. Heading for Uumannaq – conditions are too perfect not to go for it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Heading for Uummannaq before paddling on to Qaarsuut

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ukkusissat


Decision time in ukkusissat. going for 5 settlements not 7. playing it safe. taking no chances.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Decision time

Having been stalled by fog I have had time to think. Considering the satellite is useless (if just charge it only has a lifespan of one minute maybe), I have torn the wrist seal on my dry suit and the fog. (Last time paddling in the fog was like playing Russian roulette, I could hear icebergs calved but I had no idea when they where, how far away and the direction of the wave!) I am going to change my plan. I will retrace my route to Saattut then head for Niagornat via Uumannaq. I will avoid the two big crossings and visit 5 not 7 settlements. I have never been to Niaqornat. This is a safer plan and easier on the bum. I can’t use rudder without cramp – weird but relevant on crossings. If I continued my plan doing the big crossing I’m was looking at 8 to 10 hours strait using the rudder, not a nice thought. I paddle without rudder now. The Folbot Kodiak and I are now ‘one’ and I have yet to let go of Gramkajak’s gl paddle – no more blisters! New plan = 320 km. and 24 days on the water, a good test of the Kodiak’s expedition ability. Icebergs are still high on my ‘to avoid’ list though they don’t seem to have got the memo! Chris

Monday, July 5, 2010

Paddled through fog

All well here. Still midges! Saw 3 littel arctic fox cubs. Paddled through fog - unavoidable, bit like midges. Hotel in France sounds nice right now.... (my mom is in France :-))

Getting water outside ukkusissat

Paddled through fog last night

Friday, July 2, 2010

Continuing the trip!

Chris called me (Lars) from Saattut, telling about the problem with the kayak. It had a small hole in the bottom maybe from a sharp stone or from sailing through ice. Which meant it was taking in to much water and Chris had to go on land to empty the kayak. But the problem is fixed now and he is continuing his trip. On his way to Saattut he told me about an iceberg the size of a village, that suddenly broke into 3 small village size icebergs and had send a big wave towards the kayak. He turned the kayak around it in time and was able to take it head on.

Shower


Found a shower in saattut, it was needed!

Saattut


Am now in saattut despite gear problems

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hole in the Kayak

Chris called me (Lars) on his satellite phone last night, and left a message: I’m fine, but the kayak has a hole in it, and the wind is picking up, so I have to go on land. I’m fine but it will take a few days before I’m on the water again. I’ll contact you if the situation gets any worse.