Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 17 - windbound!

Hanging around in Uummannaq I spent some quality time with different people that I knew from work, not least Makkak and Sammu.  Invited for pre-holidays kaffemik (a Greenlandic party to celebrate birthdays, confirmations, weddings and other things) I quickly accepted knowing that the brilliant cakes and coffee would prepare me for the next leg of the expedition.  Between coffees, Saamu told me that I was in Sermitsiaq, one of two national newspapers in Greenland.  A journalist had seemingly found the expedition Facebook page and published an article on Sermitsiaq's web page.  Curious, I checked it out on the internet.  It was interesting that they focused on my change of plans - a tiny bit of drama perhaps - but little did I realise how much this one article was going to change the shape of the expedition from that point on.

The following day, the 12th of July, I found myself in familiar surroundings, Hr. Mortensen's café, psyching myself up with a hot meal before paddling off towards Qaarsut, the next settlement on my journey.  I took the time to write in my journal while the Philipino and Thai staff served the basic meal of the day.  Hr. Mortensens is a popular place to eat for fisherman etc..  I'd eaten here many times before and after finishing yet another coffee, decided I couldn't delay any longer.

Having repacked and streamlined the boat I set off for what I thought would be a straightforward crossing.  Sure, it was a bit breezy but only when I poked my nose out beyond the point of Spraglebugten did I get hit with the full force of the wind and start to encounter interesting waves.  For 35 minutes I battled against the wind heading for the shelter of Uummannaq harbour.  It was a bouncy and wet paddle to say the least.  The Folbot Kodiak handled it well, as usual, and I pulled into the harbour to be met by Arne of Hotel Uummannaq, a little surprised to see me return so soon - the waves and wind were almost non-existent inside the harbour.

Arne mentioned that his boat was being chartered to Niaqornat early the following morning and that I could hitch a lift.  It would mean leapfrogging Qaarsut and going straight to my ultimate destination: the settlement of Niaqornat.  It sounded like a good plan, and would be as if I had arrived from Illorsuit - as per my original intention.

Things were turning out well and as the wind picked up I was hearing reports of friends who had also dropped Illorsuit from their itinerary due to bad weather - and they were in boats.  I could risk being stuck in Niaqornat for a few days, but it was a risk worth taking - of all the settlements in Uummannaq fjord, Niaqornat was the only one I had never visited.

Having packed everything I quickly needed a place to sleep and was very grateful to sleep in a real bed in Birthe's guest room.  Birthe, a colleague of Jane's at the hospital, had been following the expedition with interest and it was great to chat over even more coffee and shower one last time!

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