#20 Greenland – Part 2

We had arrived back in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, after an epic exploration of Greenland’s west coast, to drop off our charter guests and pick up Einar and Knuut, the owner’s friends from Norway, for another shorter charter.

We only had a couple of hours in between the two groups, so we ran around like headless chickens, changing sheets and stowing food, cleaning and showering. Finally, the owner returned from the airport alone, having not found his friends on their flight, and so we had a moment to relax, and ponder what might have happened to our mysterious guests.

Several hours later, they turned up – having drunk a couple of bottles of liquor on the plane, they had mistaken a small connecting airport for Nuuk. They wandered around for a while before being informed by a taxi driver that there was no city for several hundred miles, but by then they had of course missed their flight. How they eventually got to Nuuk was a mystery that they were never able to fully explain, for there were not meant to be any more flights that day.

They did somehow arrive, however, with several enormous bags of luggage, out of which tumbled dozens of bottles of spirits and packs of cigarettes. The owner poured the cocktails, and we proceeded with our plan – to keep them drunk for as long as possible. This worked for some time, although we had considerably underestimated their stamina, and would have feared for our booze-locker’s health if it hadn’t been for their own generous contribution. Several times over the next few days we awoke in time to prepare breakfast, only to find the guests already in the saloon with a couple of empty bottles of schnapps. Apart from the odd inappropriate comment to the girls, though, they behaved themselves very well, and did their best to get everybody else as drunk as themselves.

We motored into the Nuuk Fjord, and found ice in the water and stunning mountains on either side. On the way, the owner insisted on driving the boat into a passing iceberg, for the sake of more cocktails. I let him take the wheel for that particular operation, though it went pretty well, considering.

i know, lets just drive into it

In Kapisigdlit, a tiny village at the end of the fjord, we left Sincerity anchored and hiked over a small hill to reach the glacier on the other side, glistening and desolated. Einar and Knuut couldn’t face the walk and stayed in bed, so we had to take the boat on the thirty-mile trip around to the other branch of the fjord so we could approach the glacier from the water. As we motored around, the icebergs and ‘bergy bits’ got thicker and thicker, until we were slaloming around them with a lookout permanently on the bow. We put the inert guests in a makeshift bed on the aft deck, and tucked them in with drinks and crisps to enjoy the view. The sun got low in the sky, the clouds stacked up, and the whole landscape became breathtakingly dramatic, light diffusing through the icebergs and illuminating the snow on the mountain-tops. We dropped the anchor in a small bay that seemed to be out of the main ice stream, and investigated a lonely and empty hut on the shore. There were still a few little bergs in the bay, so I set up an hourly watch through the night.

The sky never completely darkened, so we continued on our way early in the morning, going deeper into the ice-field towards the glacier. Eventually the growlers became so dense that we couldn’t go much further, and so we took a few rides in the dinghy around the haphazardly frozen landscape before turning around to go back the way we came, conscious of the changing wind direction which could easily blow the ice back up into the fjord and trap us there.

Some evenings myself and some of the crew joined the guests for dinner, which was always amusing and educational – The three Norwegians informed us relentlessly of all the wonderful things which Norway has done for the world, and we joined them in civilized discussions about politics, culture, and – mostly – boobs. Kat and Mary tried not to anger as they were told all about ‘international tits day’ (and why they should take their tops off), and the rest of us just shook our heads in despair. Our glasses were filled vengefully and repeatedly, until we could take no more and had to escape to the deck, making excuses about having a boat to look after.

Our next little adventure took us to the deserted village of Kangerluarsoruseq (or Faeringehavn, if you find Danish a little easier than Greenlandic). This atmospheric place was abandoned in 2009 by all its inhabitant, who left behind them a dozen or so houses, a hospital, a school, and some workshops, all scattered with personal belongings. There has been a little vandalism, and a couple of the building are used occasionally by hunters, but the feel of the place is preserved by the pictures on the walls and the books on the shelves, and a feeling of mystery and sorrow hangs over the scene like a fog. The light was magical, once again, and we wandered around quietly, soaking it in. All of us, that is, apart from the lovely Mary, who had drunk one cocktail too many, and spent the evening rattling on about making music videos and finding dead seals.

After nearly a week of eating the classiest food that Kat could wring out of our despotic oven, Einar and Knuut amused us all by admitting that they didn’t really like all that fancy stuff and that all they really wanted to eat was pizzas and burgers. That night the crew ate Pork Tenderloin, and the guests ate pre-frozen Margheritas, and everyone was happy.

four lunatics on a beach
celebrating success in the hot engine room, hence head torch, ear protectors,and no shirt

After another trip up and down one more fjord, to find a non-existent glacier, we headed back towards Nuuk, negotiating interesting currents and eddies in the mouth of the fjords, and admiring the ever-inspiring view around us. The guitar came out for a while, was shortly joined by the schnapps, and I put together another silly little song to commemorate our boozy adventure.

Finally, we moored once again in Nuuk, and bade farewell to the wonderful Kat, who had to return to Germany to perform some kind of brain-surgery experiment. And then off to the pub we marched. The Norwegians disappointed us all by going back to the boat after just three or four beers and one very romantic dance, but the rest of us stayed out later and were surprised when the bars came alive at one in the morning (it was pay day, we found out later). Jonas met the Greenlandic female football team, Gino danced with an 8’ pair of legs, Jake and I played Frisbee, and we all raved like the fools we are.

anchorage out of the ice stream
Jonas pulling a fish face
returning to Nuuk

A pint of beer goes quite well with caviar,
But unborn fish eggs only fill me up so far,
What we really need,
Is burgers and cheese.

So if you want to fill me up with little nibbles,
Then that’s okay but you’ll have to help me solve the riddle,
Of what on earth,
Are hor d’oeuvres,

So take away that orange juice, I need a glass of Schnapps in the morning,
And throw away that coffee, all I need’s a little vodka if I’m yawning,
And take away that four-course meal, a pizza and a beer is all that’s called for,
The icebergs cooled our cocktails and in the morning, we all felt …awful.

Did you know, Norwegians, they invented everything,
Wrote all our songs, they even crowned our Queen,
They don’t feel the cold,
And their jokes never get old,

We tried to find some whales but only caught three tasty cod,
Crashed into an iceberg just to see what it’s made of,
But we’re still afloat,
On our boozy boozy boat,

International tits day came and went without much fuss,
We emptied lots of bottles, between all of us,
And now we’re back in Nuuk town,
To chase the girls around,

So take away that orange juice, I need a glass of Schnapps in the morning,
And throw away that coffee, all I need’s a little vodka if I’m yawning,
And take away that four-course meal, a pizza and a beer is all that’s called for,
The icebergs cooled our cocktails and in the morning, we all felt …awful.

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