2 weeks ago
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Day 18 - sailing in the light of Sermitsiaq. Part II
I had seen a lot of Capelin during the previous weeks on the water and it was interesting to see them drying in Niaqornat. Quite often I came across a small island where Capelin were laid out to dry in the sun. You can only do that when there are no dogs around to eat them though!
The sledges were not needed much this winter as the sea ice never really came. I left my own sledge behind in Uummannaq as it could not come with us to Qaanaaq. There is something special about sledges waiting patiently for the ice to come each year, and something even more special in hearing the creak of the runners across the ice. These sledges were quite still despite the wind blowing through the netting.
I did not need to sleep on the school house floor as I pitched my tent on the black sands of Niaqornat's beaches instead. I did meet a colleague of mine in the settlement and enjoyed catching up on Nuka's news from the summer.
Hanging on this rack you can see Lumpsucker, the lighter fish drying on the left and what I think is shark meat drying on the right. The dried lumpsucker is pretty damn good ... tastes like chicken!
I didn't take many photos of people during the expedition as I really didn't want to intrude on people's lives. These two kids were some of the few exceptions. It was the mohawk that got me!
On the other hand, I took loads of photos of dogs and these two pups play-fighting caught my attention.
I didn't see any other kayaks on the water but my own. I think there were others around but no Greenlandic kayakers that I was aware of. Having now moved to Qaanaaq I can see how much the use of kayaks has become limited to recreation and competition in the Uummannaq area. It has been ten years or so for some hunters since they last caught a narwhal from a kayak in Uummannaq. In Qaanaaq, however, kayaks are lashed to boats and ready to be used whenever whales are sighted. They have to hunt from kayaks up here and it makes for a totally different role that the kayak plays in the more traditional hunting communities.
Musk oxen are pretty eh? And this one was pretty dead too!
Having parked the kayak I then moved all my gear over to one of the more amazing campsites I found during the expedition. Climbing up a thin, slippery, wooden staircase I walked up and over a little knoll before finding a black beach, all for myself.
As the rain continued and the wind blasted the waves and bergs into the shore I set up the tent and set about finding some ice for my coffee, food and water supply.
The waves had washed many bergy bits up onto the sand and it was a simple matter of collecting them to thaw out later.
Wet as it was I couldn't resist wandering up and down the beach, exploring. It was an overcast day and yet full of exciting sights and revelations, not least the area I was sleeping in. For once my tent was clean and I crawled in to sleep ... for quite some time.