Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anonymous wrote ...

Your claim: The expedition will focus on Greenlandic culture and nature

I find this to be an extremely boring and self-serving expedition. Can't believe you got sponsored for this, can't believe that you have been living in Greenland, yet you provide practically no cultural background on the towns, and certainly nothing on the 'nature' you encounter. Surely you could do some research before embarking, so that you might have a grasp of the most fundamental natural history of the area. I didn't learn a thing from your blog. You don't even know a Dwarf Fireweed, the ubiquitous pink flower? 

Dear Anonymous

I appreciate your comment.  I have, in fact, considered the same points you have raised in the course of writing the blog.  I have published your comment but have also chosen to address it in this post.
I had high hopes for the expedition.  I intended to delve into the culture of Greenland and explore the nature but in many respects I failed to do so, greatly in the eyes of some including yourself.  Throughout the course of writing entries for this blog I have noticed a difficulty in defining the expedition.  At various times I use the words “journey” or “trip” instead.  The word “expedition” always seemed rather too grand for what I was undertaking and yet, given the egotistical nature of the outdoor explorer, I was keen to call it what I hoped it was and thus the expedition was born.

Benedict Alan once said that if you want to look around the corner then you are an explorer.  He said it better than I have written it, but by that definition I was exploring, both the area and my own self.  I would never compare myself to Benedict Alan but I have been inspired by his sense of exploration.  Once again my ego took over and the “expedition” became a personal journey, a test to see if I could cope out there on my own and come back safely.  I did that, and this weblog is the diary of that personal journey.  It is not an expedition report, nor is it particularly factual.  The diary is written from a personal point of view and, lacking a deeper scientific background or interest, flowers are pretty, sand is soft to sleep on and the wildlife is engaging, whatever its scientific or common name.

Regarding the exploration of the culture, just as I am no scientist, nor am I an anthropologist.  As the expedition developed I also realised that I was more or less a tourist with relatively little access to life in the settlements, no more so than what a real tourist might have.  However, living and working in Uummannaq placed me in another position, that of resident.  Whereas an anthropologist might be more willing to write about the people and its culture from an objective standpoint, I felt I was less in a position to do so as I knew many of the people I met, or had at least taught their children or relatives.  I did not want to change that relationship and become an observer when I had otherwise been accepted into the community.  For the same reason there are very few pictures of people.  By rights, and I am glad you brought attention to this point, I should change the expedition goals.  I did, however, enjoy trying to speak Greenlandic whenever the opportunity presented itself.

In terms of sponsorship and why I was sponsored then I think it is important to look at what was being achieved.  My sponsors did not provide me any terms of sponsorship beyond wishing to see their product being used and tested in Greenland.  In fact, I think my kayak sponsors were more than happy with the previous summers’ video of their product being paddled by the side of a humpback whale.  I met no whales during the summer of 2010 and I am therefore pleased, from a sponsorship point of view, that I was able to catch the whale on video the year before.  The experience itself was beyond description.  My relationship with my sponsors has been positive and has resulted in putting their products in a challenging environment and proving that they are up to the task.

In rounding off, I hope you appreciate that I have published your comment and addressed it here.  You are right on some points and perhaps missing the point on others.  If you were misled by the description of the expedition, and I believe you were, then I accept that I have not provided the information you had anticipated.  If, however, you are interested in seeing lots of photos from the Uummannaq area and reading about what I personally experienced and the personal decisions I made, then please read on.

This is a diary of my expedition.  It has evolved into a far more personal journey than one of cultural or natural exploration.  I have not hidden that fact in previous posts.  It is what it has become.



  1. Hi Chris,

    I found your expedition, or call it trip or voyage, very inspiring. Your photos were nothing short of spectacular, the fact that you [even] speak Greenlandic (!) and that you taught in Greenland, seemed to give you a special insight to the people and places you visited. I am glad you received the sponsorships, and if I were a kayak manufacturer, I would have sponsored your expedition as well.

    Hats off to your accomplishments and thank you for sharing your trip which I followed with great interest.

    Not sure what is wrong with "Anonymous", but there is for sure nothing wrong with you, or your trip!!

    Best, Marcus Demuth

  2. Thanks Marcus!

    I have about eight more days to finish blogging about and then I'll be rounding off "the voyage" - hadn't thought about that one! ;O)

    Congratulations on your accomplishments: 2,468 Miles in 80 Days around Britain is one hell of a feat.

    Best of luck on your next venture!


  3. Well said Mr Demuth,
    There is always one and they are usually anonymus (in life as well as name).

    your blog is excellent chris, looking forward to seeing what happens next.

    All the best

    Richard H.

  4. Thanks Richard.

    Next stop on the blog is the settlement of Niaqornat where I was stranded for a few days because of the weather. In that settlement I finally got to spend more time with the locals.


  5. I've enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your photos. I don't think I'll ever make it to Greenland, so I have experienced it through your eyes and have learned a lot. Thank you for taking the time and the risk to share.


  6. Thanks Ron.

    I need to get around to writing the last few days up and then I'll add some more info to the different pages.

    Hopefully there will be some new stuff in the course of the coming week.