I mentioned it earlier: lot of floating ice this year. Much more than what I was expecting. Even too much for my taste!
Well fed and rested, we are ready for some new experiences. My guests wish to experience a close encounter with one of those monumental drifting icebergs. Which one to choose? There are so many of them.
In the beginning of the afternoon, and happy to renew with my last year experience, we sail outside. No need to go very far. Soon, several giants surround us.
They are everywhere, in every size, shape and imaginable configuration, all with their impressive and personal beauty. One is standing out of the lot with its two beautiful arches. I decide to stop Breskell close by and to play around. As always, growlers surround it. We launch the dinghy and kick its 8 hp Yamaha. Antoine and Mary, two of my guest, jump in. I plan to get close. Very close. It’s not without risks, but at the same time this exploration is an unique lifetime experience. A thought briefly crossed my mind. Why not slip inside, between the two arches, as a kind of “short-cut” to the other side? Well, even strong-minded people from Brittany learn from their past mistakes. Short-cuts? I try now to avoid. Anyway, it rains so much between those two beautiful arches that all our photographic equipment would probably get totally soaked. Another good reason to wisely stay outside. Guess what? No more than two minutes later, a huge chunk of melting ice felt from the inside of those arches and crashed between them with a thundering noise and a big sprout of water. Now, I brag to my crew: “see what I told you: never take any unnecessary short-cut, you fool…”
If the small local tsunami created by this ice chunk doesn’t bother us at all, going inside is definitively not an option. This huge iceberg is melting fast and right in front of our eyes. From minute to minute, we see its shape changing. Taking all kind of pictures, we decide to safely get around. From the other side, we have even a better reflection of the sun shining on its icy surface.
That simple move gives us a totally new show of colors with the blue and green in dominance giving some gorgeous effects over the ice. The water around all this melting ice is very cold. After some more pictures, we decide to return on board. Eric and Gaetan are now playing with the growlers… Gaetan, like a happy kid, imagine being on one of those dowries launched from an ancient whaler hunting those frigid waters one century ago. Some floating ice plays here the role of a humpback whale swimming leisurely around. With his paddle as harpoon, he takes a careful aim and shoot. Whale meat for all! After one particular accurate shot, an agonizing aggressive whale, taking the form of a huge growler, comes right for us, hitting hard the hull before sliding along… Breskell resists well to those brief ice brushing. I am very pleased.
With our whales’s hunters back on board, it’s time to find a “twilights” anchorage. ” Fortune bay” lays 5 miles to our West. Entering the bay, after slaloming for an hour in the middle of those icebergs, is challenging… Slowly and carefully, we make it up to the end of this 2 miles long fjord. We drop the anchor in 15 meters of water in a good holding ground. Well protected, safely anchored, we are again in paradise. All we need is fish for supper. The whale hunting proving to much of a challenge, our two hunters rig their fishing pole. Wanting my part of this action, I pull out my casting net. This net has a round shape with small pieces of lead around its outside edge. With a center rope, you pull it close when the net reaches the bottom. Any fish underneath get caught. That’s for the theory. It looks easy. In fact, you need a lot of training to throw it far away and to produce this perfect circle falling like a bird of prey on the targeted fish. I got this particular training during my years at sea.
I do not take long to catch a big cod. Then Gaetan caught two smaller one. We definitely know what diner will look like. A fine meal of fresh fish in good company. We spend the night in this beautiful and remote anchorage. Very quiet for all, except for me. A few growlers made slowly their way up the fjord and scratched lightly the hull. I don’t like Breskell been scratched, even lightly. The next morning, we all relax: time for some more coffee enjoying the spectacular surrounding of those Greenland natural harbors. It was midday when we started the engine to exit toward the open sea. With ice around, things are never that simple. Ice quickly draw itself a map of its own with new islands, new channels, new moving reefs.
During the “night”, the offshore wind pushes up a lot of growlers in the entrance of our refuge making difficult our exit. More slaloming before we point finally our bow to Qeqertasuaq. We stayed there for a couple of days. We took our time, visiting and socializing with other sailboats, with local people and visiting the town. We even planned to take a dog sled ride with some real Greenland Huskies. My favorite dogs. Me, the hardcore sailor, as the mushers at the handle of one sled and driving those dogs… A dream picture! Before this ride, we had to hike 4 hours into the mountain to join the team. At that time, the fog was so thick up there that nobody can assure us if this ride could be done. Unfortunately, we had to cancel it.