1995 Upernavik Greenland kayak travel and notes - Gail Ferris
months of thought, decisions, planning and packing
In spite of everything, my fears of being alone paddling in the incredible fjords and my discomfort with my arthritic hip, somehow I knew that I would find a way to once again have a wonderful time. And this time was going to even be a better time, I just knew, because through my years and experiences traveling and listening to John Heath's advice I have been learning each time I travel how to have a better and better time.
One very important thing I learned from my Aunt Dorothy, my father and just from having been in the North is to always be flexible, be ready to go at the drop of a hat, be ready to change my plans think of new different or just plain other things to do and above all don't be a stick in the mud.
John Heath said that Greenlanders' love to visit and is he right and what fun it is they always love to laugh and so do all the people of the Arctic. When you are alone you are completely flexible so take advantage of it, don't just sit in your tent and vegetate you are wasting your time and not learning or enjoying the pleasure of sharing yourself and exchanging ideas.
turns out that the ladies at the US Air counter in
I never weighed any of the bags because I knew that this would be very depressing. It is hard to tell a lie but it is much easier to be ignorant and feel comfortable when I was to walk up to the counter with my collection of four very heavy bags stuffed to the gills.
year in addition to my usual array of accessory equipment meaning my pocket
microscope, my video camera, the standard
I had a total of 12 rolls of 36 exposure Ektachrome film ASA 200, four of them are print film specifically required for photogrametry.
photogrametry I had to bring a second
there was the condenser for the microscope so that I could now take some
light microscope photos instead of out of focus dark field photos. I had finally solved that and the focus
problem the engineer, Jim, at the company at their
I had purchased a lap top computer and two extra batteries, which weighed more than I care to think something like an extra nine pounds. I did not want to be sitting around not able to work on writing while I would have many hours available.
The days are very long when one is living in a tent observing things. I think it is nice to put down the thoughts immediately rather than wait for later and hope that I remember what I experienced and thought at the time.
I also brought two very light-weight motion detector alarms, which required six AA batteries. To maintain a supply of charged batteries with the least weight I knew that I would need to use rechargeable batteries. I purchased "Millennium" rechargeable Ni-Cd batteries because they are designed to recharge faster in an hour as they advertise and last longer than regular Ni-Cd batteries.
I needed to take my solar recharger specific for 1.25 millie amp AA batteries so I had to check my recharger out, which I had
purchased over ten years ago and had not taken the best care of. Charlie Archovich checked my little recharger box out and said it was working okey.
My solar panel, which I had purchased in 1989 was starting to show signs of ageing. Charlie Archovich found that my panel was not putting out enough voltage. I also found out that my panel was putting out 12 volts - not 6 as I had assumed all these years. I had unfortunately burned up a bunch of my video batteries over the years. The panel puts out reduced voltage when it is in its clear vinyl case.
I had to purchase a new panel, which was narrower and slightly longer. I made a nice new case, which was a good thing to do, because the old case was about to delaminate at the glued seams.
nature guides, I brought my abbreviated versions of vascular plant, lichen,
bird, seaweed and geology information. My original xeroxes
that I made when I worked at
had to replace my clear vinyl chart case with a new polyethylene one from Cam
Broze at Mariner Kayaks in
The airport was comfortable and new with the usual stores in the process of being established. Of interest was the theme of push-carts, which gave the passages a flexible and personable quality to an otherwise sterile environment.
I sought immediate relief for my past five days of diarrhea by asking and being told that the perfume store had a good traveler's medications supply. I did not want to continue with this very disconcerting condition. Night seemed to really bring out the problem - all those raw peas I had eaten was not the best idea.
The price at First Air was more blood not free as previously offered by Nadine baggage. I hope that maybe they might refund my fees.
At the baggage ticket checking counter I met a fellow whom I had met in Søndrestrøm when I was stuck there in 1993. He and five others are recording falcons for the twentieth year in the Søndrestrøm and Ilulissat areas in a radius of 150 miles. I never did get their addresses but I know that if they publish in the field I will run across them sooner or late. They happen this year to be funded by the Defense Department - The US Army of all institutions.
During the helicopter flight I used the low altitude flight vantage perspective to photograph to take more iceberg pictures to illustrate some concepts about currents, which showed on the surface around one ice berg in distinct swirls and behind another as trailing eddies. The bottom on the way back showed white sand I believe, not ice.
I was on the ground I proceeded to study to map in the airport and then I
happened to spot a Danish fellow who was from Nuuk but knew Aasiaat very well
because he had lived for a few years there.
He said that he was now in Nuuk but that he had been to Aasiaat on
business. I immediately had the
feeling that this place is the first place I have been to in
I filled the bottle up but made the cardinal error of leaving on the taped on foam protective cover, which became saturated with gasoline and I finally took it off and threw it away. The other fabric bag dried out but I learned. The last thing you want to do is to be wandering around smelling like gasoline.
visited the museum where I met Elisa Evaldsen, the
director of the
phone 4-19-55 possible FAX is Aasiaat Comune 4-22-87 she told me that H.C. Petersen has moved to Kimmemat B1368 Blok 5, Lejl 2, Qaqortoq 3920, which is south of Nuuk and was called Julianehaab on the southwest coast almost at the bottom phone 3-80-22 possible FAX is 3-88-33.
the museum Elisa told me that there was an especially unique paddle on
display. I realized that I had the
time and that I really should not only to obtain the dimensions of the paddle
for my own curiosity but to provide her with this for her records, I measured
a paddle from the western most group of islands from this area called
The length of the paddle was 225 cm long 10 1/2 cm bone ends 8 1/2 cm wide at the tip bone edges were 8/10 cm wide length of blade was 94 cm starting to grade at 91 cm width of loom on edge at the middle was 4 cm very large square loom the paddle was very round until the last 20 cm tapering down to 1/2 cm width at the tip. The square loom was square to the flat paddle blades not offset by halfway making it a diamond or rhombohedron in relation to the flat of the blades.
neglected to find out the name of the paddle owner. I left the drawing tacked to her board
behind her desk, but I did not make a Xerox copy for myself. Elisa very kindly let me try to telephone
without charge Pauline Knudsen at the
measure the paddle. The paddle was of some type of clear but surprisingly heavy wood looking slightly like the narrow grain of Douglas fir.
visited the school after having made arrangements at the marina where boats
are repaired. I wanted to see what
ever programs they might have available for kayak building. A local Greenlander teaches the
course. He is in his late seventies. I think that I met the son of the director Ledende skoleinspeptor at Aasiaat
A group of tourists landed at the airport just after I had finished consulting with the phone book. I had seated myself near the ticket counter planning to pay my fare from yesterday when I had flown to Aasiaat and they had made a mistake on the fare but could not come up with the correct price when I arrived back from Aasiaat at the end of the day. The price Peter Lybeth quoted me was just hilarious instead of what I had been told in the morning as 830 Dkr it was listed on the ticket as 1360 Dkr. I had my first real encounter with the typical Inuit and Greenlander humor all we did was laugh. Peter asked me for my ticket so I handed it to him, I don't know because on the next day I never got back to the airport in time to pay my ticket, instead while I was waiting for a lull in passenger traffic so that I could pay my fare, I started talking with a man who was with a group of tourists.
I asked him if he was going back to town could I have a ride back with him. He said well probably I certainly could if there was room, and so I hoped a free ride with a tour group down to the Knud Rasmussen museum the guide and the people on the people from Germany, were only too delighted to be able to let me come with them. The generous man who initially allowed me to ride back with the group had to ride squinched up in the luggage part of the van - I was most surprised at his generosity but one thing about travel here in Greenland people are usually having such a good time that they love to be very generous. It just goes with the spirit of the land.
visited for my second time on this trip, Morgens Andersen at Knud Rasmussen's
house now known as
happened to have assumed but instead from the last cross board from holes bored 1 1/2 in from the edges of runners. The runners were reinforced with 1 1/4 inch wide assorted length steel straps probably "U" shaped from the top edge down as far as needed and the bottoms clad in steel probably for strength and abrasion resistance when going over rough ground. Even the upright stanchions and the cross boards were very light construction the wood appeared to be a combination of oak on the back cross board and the rest of the cross boards looked like pine probably the last one was something tougher like spruce or fir. I do notice that European hard woods used now seem to have a very tight grain.
amazed me is to think that this sled has made it from
I looked at the mystical art the figures of things coming out of things one triangular piece was especially complex.
It interested me to learn that Peter Freuchen was the meteorologist on the 5th Thule Expedition. He is described at the museum of the greatest explorer, somehow I find it hard to compare him to Nansen and Rasmussen they are all great, each in their own special way.
the museum I rushed up to
The ferry from Ilulissat runs every Tuesday I forgot to check to see if there was any room next Tuesday in case the helicopter service to Upernavik is going to be impossible. I did decide to try to be an optimist and stick with my air plans. I did realize that it might have been possible for me to fly from Ilulissat to Uummannaq and jump the ferry at Uummannaq. The Disko leaves Il Tuesday at arrives at Uummannaq on Wednesday at departs for Upernavik arriving on Wednesday at .
I visited the KNI for some strong thread costing 8.75 and some food 14.5 Dkr. The favorite cheese spread made of smeltoest I was happy to be able to buy, once again.
On the way out of the store a lady realizing that I must be an American called over a friend of hers to get us together. We started up a lively conversation and my new friend, Bent, immediately invited me over for coffee.
Bent Rosbach, Jorgen Guldagersvej SF, 3952 Ilulissat phone 44121 I visited with and enjoyed his house keeper we laughed and drank coffee. He would like to send me for Christmas a wooden whale that he can make at Sandvik I know that this is a wonderful opportunity I have been wanting to know someone personally who is making these delightful things for presents. I will be happy to buy several of these things from him to give my support to that organization, which helps people who have emotional problems.
Bent figured out a way to handle my return to the airport he called up the Arctic Hotel and told them that he had a tourist guest who needed to go to the Arctic Hotel. With this little story he got me a free ride saving 45 Dkr back to the airport. I had used the hotel taxi several times already for free so I gave the terribly kind Greenlander driver 50 Dkr because I thought it was only right to do so. I know how tiresome it is to be taken advantage of by free loaders.
Food and supplies at the store are very expensive
spent several hours in the Ilulissat airport / lufthaven
working on my Tosheba laptop computer. The fellow who is in charge of cleaning the
airport asked me how he could rent three houses to American tourists that he
is about to build as a money making project.
He is originally a very enterprising fellow from
I went out to my tent and ate a very late dinner going to sleep finally at , which for me is
going to bed rather late. I knew that
I had to get up at to
get onto the helicopter at I
knew that I was going to be having a very short sleep that evening. By now I had become so completely relaxed
because I had thoroughly adjusted to the wonderful relaxing world of
I woke up at only because the alarm clock woke me up. Without that alarm clock I would have never been on time for the flight. I had to be very careful not to waste any time during my usual morning rituals and the slow project of breaking camp. It was raining softly all night, which made the tent weigh more when I packed it. I had to be very careful to pack things in convenient to retrieve order for my next destination because with so much equipment it can be an ordeal trying to select the needed items the next time I will be needing them.
Breaking camp went easily and I was walking into the airport at just moments after the curly brown haired fellow who always has the brightest smile had opened up. I did have to cough up the 842 Dkr. for my Aasiaat flight two days earlier that was okey at least I could see that the Greenland Air fellows do know me very well.
Moments later it really paid off because he offered to give me the weather information saying that he was expecting to hear in the next 5 - 10 minutes from Upernavik.
Since I was really just a sleepy wreck I swaggered across the floor and slumped into the most comfortable waiting chair docking my feet on top of my carry on bag to catch a couple more moments of sleep. No sooner than I had put my feet up and closed my eyes than the fellow came over and told me that I could check in now. Oh well so much for some more sleep.
Out I went to the baggage room and as quickly as possible I retrieved my baggage. I got my luggage out and was prepared for the dreaded stagger across the airport floor to the ticket counter when the fellow out of the greatest kindness on his own offered immediately to help carry the luggage over to his check in counter. I hauled over one of the three soft bags and the stick bag. I put my tickets and proof of payment for baggage charges up on top of the ticket counter so the fellow could work on checking the tickets. I put the stick bag on the baggage platform but because I wasn't sure what I might add into the soft bag I hadn't put the soft bag up on the platform.
Just after I returned to the rest of my luggage to combine my camping equipment into the rest of the soft bags the fellow came over asking if he could take the rest of the bags over to the platform for me. I had to hurry to be ready immediately. I decided that it might be a good idea if I carried my lap top computer in my carry on bag. In a moment after quick transfer I carried my last bag over and I was ready. The fellow handed me my tickets with my baggage tickets and my boarding pass just moments before the rest of the passengers who made a full helicopter arrived.
I was lucky and very glad that the fellow had been so quick to get me checked in and I could see that he as well as the rest of the fellows at the ticket counter recalled my anguish the last time I was flying to Upernavik in 1993.
While I was waiting for boarding I engaged a Danish lady who was just slightly older than myself and her son in a very lively conversation about Upernavik and the weather. Her son is doing a study of climatology in Uummannaq because of the world wide concern about the negative effects the depletion of the ozone layer is having.
Then we boarded and got to sit beside each other. The flight up to Uummannaq was only an hour but I think it has to have been one of the most interesting helicopter rides I have ever taken. We had the usual pilot who is very resourceful at getting that helicopter through to Upernavik. In a helicopter it is required that the pilot must maintain visual contact with the ground at all times, which in a low ceiling and fog situation required that we had to fly below the low ceiling at all times.
worked out to be some ride, initially around
In the next moment we began climbing the passes we were staying just below the ceiling coming so close to the walls of the passes that it seemed as though we were nearly touching our landing gear and about to brush the walls with our blades. Only a pilot who had precise judgment and had made this passage many times would be doing this. It seemed as though we could almost reach out from our seats to pick some flowers.
We continued on and on through the maze of passes past meadows over rocks past brightly colored contrasting sedimentary layers at time seeming to go closer on one side or tilting just so that we might catch a better view. Finally we broke out into Uummannaq fjord passing an old graveyard heading once again over the open water for Uummannaq. Just for a moment we experienced strong wind, which I could feel force the helicopter back and made it have to work harder. It was interesting that the rpm's didn't go up the engine just worked harder.
At last we arrived at Uummannaq where we had to leave the helicopter while they refueled. The wind was blowing from the east at about 25 knots bring the ice out of the fjord. There I found that they now had a very nice, new airport building.
Then we reloaded and off we went to Upernavik. Although I had never sat in the very back seat before I took the last seat because the front seats with a good view were taken up by freight and luggage. One of the pieces of luggage was my stick bag and it projected part way across the double seat and isle. They almost but thankfully did not leave it at Uummannaq. Luckily the young Greenlander baggage attendant spotted it in the back of the luggage pickup truck just before final loading. Whew! I thought to myself
I could have been without that bag until the next flight from Uummannaq in another week. I was glad that at the last minute I happened to have decided to put my computer into my carry on bag.
I when I headed for a seat in the back I noticed that the back seat was the narrowest being only two seats with an aisle. By sitting in the aisle seat I could most easily access my cameras from my carry on bag. From this central seat I could pivot from side to side to take photos and videos through the windows. These rear seat windows gave me the best photo and video opportunities because they were in better condition with fewer scratches and had better condensation seals.
Now we were off again and in just moments we were flying around the little island out in the fjord that Uummannaq is on. The clouds over the peaks to the south covered the upper halves and the new snow shown in its eerie whiteness through the bottom less dense edges of the cloud. The thin white layer of snow was punctuated with the charcoal gray gently sloping layers of the sedimentary rocks. At about 400 feet the snow line from last night's delicate snow began on the mountains there were gentle sloping rises and hanging valleys all etched in contrasting black and white with delicate summer snow.
Below the dense cloud were broken scud being blown by the fresh wind, which on the ground had been at 25 knots. We flew below these clouds heading northwest out around the peninsula close to the rocks with the sea rolling towards us from the south. Along the peninsulas there were very few places to land even a boat as small as a kayak. But once in a while there was a break or a dip in the sediments creating a shallow sloping valley, which came down to the shore. These were places to land a boat and make camp and there only a few of these valleys that might be large enough to accommodate a tiny settlement. From the helicopter I could not see evidence of storm damage as wave erosion but I suspected that these outer peninsular areas must receive very strong winds at times when storms come up and across Davis Straits. In the cold months the topographic effect on the wind and air currents must cause the ice must be constantly shifting and reforming in this area making travel over the ice more dangerous and difficult. So I could understand why I would not see any recent evidence of inhabitation.
As we were rounding one of the longest peninsulas we experienced the passage from a following wind to a neutral wind into an especially powerful head wind. It was a combination of air being funneled towards us along a straight for a number of miles, steep sided sedimentary escarpment. As the wind came towards us it gained speed as the wind broke its friction from the land and gained more speed as it became combined to form the back eddy just at the end of the peninsula.
We could feel the motor having to work harder and noticed that we not only lost ground speed for the next few hundred yards but for an instant on the outer edge of the eddy where the wind was at its greatest velocity we felt ourselves being stopped and blown slightly backward until our laboring engines finally pulled us forward again and we broke through this buffeting wind area.
And on we went hugging the coast flying low over the water but the fog density was increasing the land breaking away to the east became more difficult to discern and we were passing over some low islands here and there.
The land to our right side became at times very vague as we visually were hopping from iceberg to iceberg, just skimming over the low outside islands.
Now as we flew along we were hugging the water and I wondered about the effects ground effect may have on improving the flight efficiency of a helicopter. Although fixed wing specially designed aircraft do fly with greatest efficiency from flying at very low altitudes such as 10 to 20 feet above the surface of the ground I wondered if this principle might also benefit the speed over the ground and water of a helicopter. The dependence of the helicopter upon the exertion of downward pressure by the rotating blades may negate much of this gain that the specially designed fixed wind craft derive from ground effect.
Jachob Mathiassen and his wife from Uummannaq visited Ole Thorliefsen's house on Saturday afternoon. He has built and is paddling his kayak where he lives. He has especially well developed muscles in his forearms I think deriving from pulling while seated without his back braced through his legs.
has a friend who lives in Aappilattoq in a yellow house and a kiosk next to
the church A/G Kiosk v/ Adam Grim, B1069, Appilattoq,
AAP 3962 Upernavik phone
is lots of ice on the east and northernmost side of
went to Innarsuit to visit
. She worked in the good light with her legs straight out in front of her sitting on top of the kitchen countertop to be in the best position for the sunlight coming through the windows. She was able to stretch the piece of leather out flat by having sewn onto both ends of it so that the piece of leather with the cloth strap formed a cylinder, which she fit around her knees to stretch the strip of leather out flat for working on. With a fine steel needle and either white thread for white leather or clear nylon fishing line thread she single stitched as you would to start a button through from the bottom piece of leather then through the last millimeter of a 2 millimeter wide by various lengths piece of colored leather. Then she would pass the needle back through both pieces of leather and she would cut off the decorative excess decorative leather piece with a sharp razor leaving a 2 millimeter square piece of different colored leather attached to the red leather piece. These 2 mm squares of different colored leather would form colorful patterns that looked similar to bead work.
people who speak English live in Innarsuit are Martin Kleeman
and Anders Kristensen, B925 phone 51106
The KNI has fax # 5-12-46. I
talked with the Danish men who are constructing a fish processing plant for
Polar Seafood Company , which may be connected with
Polar Enterprise POB 200, 3911 Sisimiut phone 14585
and fax 14919 and one fellow's whose name was Søren
Andersen, told me that they were going to set off some dynamite to move 100
cm of rock into the harbor from the cliffs above so that they could have a
level area for the foundation of the factory.
He also told me that the houses are anchored in half a meter of stone
bolted down and the bottom exposed framing is made of pressure treated lumber
now not cement cylinders with framing bolted to them. It is quicker construction using all wood
and lag bolting into the rock. The
biggest problem in this area of
At Innarsuit a kayak builder was visiting at Rosa Thorliefsen's mother and he described the type of kayak that he had designed, which measures two fingers wide from the hips or at the waist for the cockpit he measures the length of the cockpit to be the closed fist behind the back front to back. The height from the middle of the leg upward is 4 fingers this is the massik opening height from the middle of the leg or the femur upward. I think his name was Appa or Abraham. I saw a kayak built like this, which is capable of carrying on the deck two to three seals. The owner is Jens Eliasen who started building houses and made and repaired the walkways in Innarsuit all for no money, he just did them so that others would come and live there. He came to Innarsuit when there was only four houses there.
I measured but not completely but to have some reference points to assist in the photogrametry Rosa's father's kayak, which was built before 1935 and is probably the oldest kayak in Innarsuit
happened to find Jonhardt in Upernavik just a day after he had returned from
his holiday visit to his home in
told me that doctor Nyrup is from Nuussuaq and had
recently returned there from Nuuk on government duty. I hope to learn about kayaks and the
builders in the area from Dr. Nyrup.
The language barrier can be quite difficult when it comes to the subject of numbers not written down. I was told that the windstorm coming here was packing 16 knots. Well this storm isn't, the wind is now at packing 30 knots of warm air. At there are a few stronger blasts.
The clouds are most interesting assortments of orographic varieties highly distorted by the winds. I took a series of photographs and videos to record the horizon and the date so that I would have this important record. The clouds in the upper air are blown out bunched together mammary, cumulus I believe that these clouds are in the alto layer. There are occasional holes to the southeast where the sun is, which show clear blue sky above suggesting that the cirrus layer is quite open. The stratocumulus clouds are only present on the top of Sanderson's Hope and these clouds are backed up toward the south as these clouds are trying to blow over the 4,000 foot high peak of this mountain.
view of waves setting into
Upernavik looking out at
While I was waiting out the storm the wind blew the water through the wall of the house on the very edge of the harbor and the whole house shook. Luckily a couple nice fellows grabbed my kayak and set it back from the edge of the water otherwise it would have filled up and washed away to never never land.
view from Upernavik of
windstorm clouds over Sanderson Hope from
I know what this would look like in Torssut Passage - I have been there in these conditions. This morning I am perfectly happy to be inside of a house, rather than in side a wildly flapping tent enduring this intense wind.
The barometric pressure has been running at 1021mb for two previous days and today it started out at 10:00 at 1022 with the wind blowing as intermittent gusts at 25 - 30 knots from the south then at 11:00 it rose to 1023 with the wind at 30 + knots as gusts with occasional slightly higher gusts. While I was at the museum near the sky cleared to the south letting the sun shine directly through the wind temporarily slacking and then with the sun still shining.
The cloud cover became more intense showing what I had photographed in the morning of layered high altitude and orographic shapes some altocummulis scud was blowing in one area just after Sanderson's Hope.
in the stratus layer were condensing at a midway point over the
The small example of scud that I saw had blown over Sanderson's and was being propelled just above the back eddy of Sanderson's Hope by the air currents at that altitude but the scud would become diffused by the conditions, which absorbed this condensate.
air temperature was warm and dry however later at about snow and rain arrived
medium to light amount. The warmth of
the air may have been a product of the wind friction over water similar in
character to the katabatic fogs off
The wind increased to a solid 30 + knots and had consistent 40 knot gusts, which were difficult to walk against and the barometer climbed to 1024mb. The barometric pressure has maintained at 1024mb from 12:00 to now at 21:00 the wind had slacked off probably at the tide change but now is steady and has accelerated slightly to 30 knots again the sky is overcast.
At there is brightening to the north.
At the sky is grey again with more stratocumulus scud and the alto layers are highly wind defined but there are holes in this ceiling giving way to cumulocirrus broken clouds and blue sky occasionally. Some of the altostratus layer is dark grey to the east the wind is gusting to 30 + knots I estimate. There is quite strong wind once again. I had thought that this storm might have blown out by now but the wind is strong the clouds are dark and the barometer is at 1025 mb.
kayak dimensions** -
I have made measurements of the deck but I did not make at this time the measurement using the floor as the reference base line to measure the rise in the deck at the bow and stern. All my measurements at this time are directly from the kayak and do not have cross reference measurements using the horizontal reference of the floor.
I have taken photographs with the grid camera although they may be quite dark because I had low light conditions.
July 1st Louise Kleeman and I discussed kayak
building with her grandfather, bottom of gunwale to chine - cm, Neils Møller who is now 79.
He has hunted seals, walrus and small whales when he was younger and
he would now like to give in order to benefit the
kayak on display in the old church of the
Neils said that seal skin lasts a very long
time. Bearded seal is the rarest of
all the seals in
Neils said that one must know all the parts of the kayak to paddle one. Neils explained to me that the kayak is sized to the paddler and that the length is the paddler's choice but I believe that the length is probably some multiple of the paddler's height. The distance of the foot rest is measured with the legs stretched straight out and the feet bent slightly back -, which is what I set my foot rests at too. The position of the masik is just behind the knees with the legs slightly bent and the feet now flat against the foot rest. The depth is measured from the bottom of the floor of guiava as two fists one on top of the other.
The width of the kayak is determined by the width of the hips with hands placed flat against the hips on both sides.
kayak especially when doing rolls is controlled with the knees and therefore
the widest part of the kayak is at the knees.
In calm conditions the kayak is paddled with the legs flat and in
rough conditions the kayak is paddled with the legs bent enough so that the
knees are braced against the masik (pronounced in
Upernavik the "
Weather conditions: the barometric pressure at was at 1017 mb with heavy wind but now at the pressure is rising to 1018 mb the storm has intensified to driving rain and strong wind. This is a more powerful nastier storm with longer lasting wind and rain events. The winds have been up to 40 knots today this storm has a low ceiling so cloud definition is not available as had been in the previous storm, which had a consistent 1024 mb pressure and lots of cloud definition in the alto layer and almost no stratus layer.
Finally things worked out so that I could launch my Klepper on Monday July 3rd 1995 the usual struggle with jamming stuff in the boat took a few hours and I took three food bags and three fuel bottle because I expect to be out for only a couple of weeks. My addition of the Toshiba Satellite T2100 notebook computer added more volume and a few more pounds. I was glad that I was able to store at Ole Thorliefsen's house the extra clothes, boat storage bags and other items I would have had a royal battle trying to get all that stuff into my Klepper.
My idea of using a long dry bag for my sleeping bag worked perfectly. What a relief to have a bag, which will reach completely into the bow and be retrieveable from the cockpit. I decided that transparent vinyl stuff bags although they are very convenient because you can see their contents are not suitable for the cold conditions here and they do not slide at all as well as nylon dry bags. My new solar panel so far seems to be working fine but I will soon find out if it is recharging my computer batteries.
The new booties with relatively thin wool socks, Sorbothane boot sole liners and nylon liners were cold. I think that I will have to be more creative in dealing with the cold and pressure on the ball of the foot problem. I think some aluminized liners are the answer. I think I might cut some squares of space blanket out and just wrap as another layer around my feet the booties since I lengthened the straps over the arches have plenty of extra room in them.
and now at the barometer is at 1016
** equipment - Finally things worked out so that I could launch my Klepper on Monday July 3rd 1995 the usual struggle with jamming stuff in the boat took a few hours and I took three food bags and three fuel bottle because I expect to be out for only a couple of weeks. My addition of the Toshiba Satellite T2100 notebook computer added more volume and a few more pounds. I was glad that I was able to store at Ole Thorliefsen's house the extra clothes, boat storage bags and other items I would have had a royal battle trying to get all that stuff into my Klepper.
** weather, equipment, health - I had once again the experience of getting a cold and this time it occurred just as I was about to launch on Thursday so I had to lay low.
The weather socked in with lots of wind the morning after I had assembled my kayak. I left it on the rocks where I thought it would be okey. Two kind fellows decided that the waves would probably damage it so they bought it up to higher ground. Some how as another storm hit I had left it leaning on its side against a rock one of the sticks in the stern broke on the grain in half. I wedged a piece of fabric behind it so that the pieces would not puncture the hull.
** meteorology - The weather seems to be quite unstable suggesting spring transition to summer at this time. There seems to be little storms that last a day or so with winds 30 to 40 knots sometimes rain other times just wind. The last one had a grand wind and driving rain. One thought twice about walking anywhere in town. The waves never became that large because the wind was blowing as gusts not as a consistent blow.
** Paddling, equipment - As I launched with the help of Ole Thorleifsen's friends they got to watch me doing the most awkward launch I have done yet. Luckily the boat was loaded so heavily that when I washed up on the rocks half a dozen times having a good battle on my hands just to even get away from the rocks I stayed upright and did not take any waves in but it was close. I was glad that I had my drysuit on so that if the worst happened I would still be okey. My rudder cable fell off the starboard side and my left cable jammed in the "D" loop on the stern of the boat. Paddling anywhere at all was extremely difficult I lifted my rudder, which allowed me to make some forward progress. There were some nice waves I enjoyed but I was glad when I pulled into a tiny safe harbor and straightened the rudder out.
All of this launch was recorded on video. I was too busy and too distressed to try turning around and waving at the camera. What footage that is going to be and everyone in town will probably have the opportunity to watch me kayaking at my worst.
decided to really take it easy paddling this first day because I am most
interested in looking at the areas I have been before in very close
detail. I regretted having missed
earlier opportunities to photograph and take videos of what now I realize are
especially interesting areas. I was
lucky to have a low ceiling with both diffused and occasionally a break
through of the sun, which gave me some good light to work with. On
013 the hanging gardens just outside Upernavik
Previous visits conditions were too grey or back lit. I stopped in the clam area but didn't bother to try for any because the tide was mid tide.
had a convenient following wind from the north as I left Upernavik as I
headed east down Iserssuaq the wind followed me
until I arrived at the crossing between Upernavik and Akutdiarssuk
where I encountered a broadside wind.
I headed toward the navigational aid on a point of Lang Island at this
point the broadside wind stopped suggesting that the wind hitting the rock
was splitting and forming a neutral eddy zone before this cross wind combined
with the previous following wind. In a
quarter of a mile the now combined winds united and blew eastward as a following
wind. At the end of
** paddling - Three quarters of the way across there was an interesting development of a tidal exchange creating a rip of minor activity. The large waves from the outside created by stronger wind and longer fetch were coming at me from the opposite side as the small waves coming at me from the north. This suggested to me that we were probably in for some stronger wind. It also told me that longer fetch gives larger waves and that the dynamic momentum of these large waves was showing here where there was a tide against the wind situation.
** equipment - When I was loading I was glad to find that my idea of using a long dry bag for my sleeping bag worked perfectly. What a relief to have a bag, which will reach completely into the bow and be retrievable from the cockpit. I decided that transparent vinyl stuff bags although they are very convenient because you can see their contents are not suitable for the cold conditions here and they do not slide at all as well as nylon dry bags. My new solar panel so far seems to be working fine but I will soon find out if it is recharging my computer batteries.
** equipment - The new booties with relatively thin wool socks, "Sorbothane" boot sole liners and nylon liners were cold. I think that I will have to be more creative in dealing with the cold and pressure on the ball of the foot problem. I think some aluminized liners are the answer because they amplify heat by reflecting the heat back to the source. I think I might cut some squares of space blanket out and just wrap as another layer around my feet the booties since I lengthened the straps over the arches have plenty of extra room in this pair of booties.
decided not to camp on Lange Island because of the possibility of dogs so I
continued on to where I had stayed in 1992 and had met Peter Jules and his
family cooking fish and mussels. The
place showed no evidence of having been visited by them since that time. The mussel shells were still on the ground
just as they had been discarded in July 1992.
This told me that although these people seemed to go to this place,
which looks as though it has been at times a very popular place now my
campsite at 72°47.01'N, 53°51.35'W that things had changed for them. I happened to have arrived in late June
just at the moment when Peter and his family were flying to Rod or
Later talking with Ole Thorliefsen who has been teaching school and now has received his full certification, Ole feels strongly that school should be taught by Greenlanders' and well adjusted non-Greenlanders.
** meterology - And now on July 3rd 1995 having settled in at my campsite overlooking Torssut at 19:00 the barometer is at 1016 mb at 21:00 the barometer is at 1013 mb and the next morning on July 4th the barometer at 07:00 is at 1010 mb low ceiling of at about 100 meters or 300 feet - 1/3 the way up from the water to the top of the 470 meter mountain across from my campsite at 72°47.01'N, 53°51.35'W at 09:00 at 1007 mb heavier fog some very light snow consistent west wind at 5 knots. I can see across Torssut a half mile wide but somewhere beyond that distance visibility diminishes. At barometric pressure is at 1008 mb.
Pyrola flowers among Salix arctica or herbacia leaves014
** geology, soil - The flowers in this area are diverse and the soil is rich in places. This south facing protected slope is like an amphitheater or col the sun shines into this area warming it greatly. The lichens are large and old the deposits of iron in the rock here and there are deep metallic brown almost pure metal there are inclusions in white feldspar matrix of half inch irregular shaped cylindrical almost pure powdery iron, which are red and black around the contact edges with the feldspar. There is large areas of white feldspar and interwoven areas of light brown pink feldspar. In small combinations are bright red pink feldspar mixed with white feldspar and black gneiss I think. A lot of crumbling stones and solid granites. Surfaces of glaciated granite escarpments made shiny from having been smoothed by pressure from glaciation granite surfaces breaking apart in some places to reveal the inner mineralogy. Highly formed granites with exfoliation creating dramatic sculptural escarpments. Information I have from the geological map of Greenland sheet #4 published in 1985 by the Geological Institute describes this area as being of Granite Leucocratic with garnet weakly foliated of the Karrat Group, Nukavsik Formation Metagreywacke gneissic metamorphosed at amphibolite and granite faces. The area starting at the middle of the island going north is different than the rest of the geology of this general area it is quartzite.
015 Birch leaves on branches very low to the ground among vacinnium and salix
** insects - I have been collecting flowers and the bumble bees are now out collecting pollen. I saw two smaller type with just two yellow bands on their abdomen and a yellow thorax. I just saw the large Bombus hyperboreus the one with the orange as well as the yellow on its abdomen. I also saw three bee flies, which were black with white yellow stripes across their abdomen ending with a diamond a stripe on the thorax and some white near or on the head area. These bee flies could hover with their single wings held out perpendicular to their bodies. New insect for me.
The usual array of spiders are out. They are black wood spiders.
** birds - The birds I have seen while I was crossing over
I had made the cardinal sin of putting my camera behind me. I should have had it between my legs so that I could get at it.
** birds, biogeography - When I got behind Morriussoq on Atiligssuaq island I was hoping to find some Little Awk Ã Alle alle nesting but they are no longer there. I found Glaucous Gulls Ã Larus hyperboreus and Black Guillimonts Ã Ceppus grylle nesting in numbers less than 20 for each. From my campsite at 72°47.01'N, 53°51.35'W I have seen Northern Raven Ã Corvus corax , Snowbunting Ã Plectrophenax nivalis pair courting, Glaucous Gulls Black Guillimonts and Cormorant.
** botany - Flowers I identified near my campsite at 72°47.01'N, 53°51.35'W are Stellaria crassies, Salix arctophilia, S. cordifolia, S. herbacea, Betula nana (only one specimen), Dryas Integrifolia, Potentillia hyperarctica var. elator, Epilobium latifolium, Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum, Pedicularis hirsuta, Campanula rotundifolia, Ranunculus nivalis, Silene acaulis ssp. acaulis, Sagina caespitosa, Saxifraga oppositofolia, S. rivularis, S. trilobata, Lycopodium annotinum, Equisetum arvense, Carex norvegica, Diapensia lapponica, Rhododendron lapponicum, Vaccinium uliginosum var uliginosum, Pyrola minor, Cassiope tetragona ssp. tetragona, Oxryia digyna, Polygonum viviparum, and red topped and green Sphagnum. The variety of flowers in this area is very surprising however it is also interesting to note what flowers are not here.
** biogeography, botany - I remember on the east side of this island extensive area covered with Cassiope hypnoides. In this area on the west slope I found a very large number of them growing alone and in combination with Cassiope tetragona ssp. tetragona. I also came across extensive numbers of Birch, which I was most glad to find. There were large numbers of Vaccinium uliginosum var uliginosum, and Pyrola minor.
** lichens - Although the sun was nice and bright I forgot to take my cameras with me. I happened not to take pictures of this area yet. There were some spectacular lichens. One was a pure white type, which grows out over soil maybe on dead plant tissue looking like branches and pine needles as its gross configuration. I found another bright green foliose lichen hanging in a brook growing among moss in a very protected area. Also there were a number of lush mosses beneath a protective boulder there. In a depression I found a light brown foliose lichen not in good shape.
** repair of Klepper -I repaired the broken rod in the port stern of my boat with two shot gun shell casings. I cut them into cylinders and slid one over the broken sticks then I jammed pieces of cylinder sections in to tighten up and reinforce the outer cylinder. Hope it works. I must thank Dieter choice of repair items and I am glad that I did not at that last moment of loading decide to leave home my repair kit. I would have been very sorry. Already I have had to sew up a long rip in my canvas stick bag and I will probably need to sew some other things. Sewing equipment with large needles and strong thread is most important as well as a pair of glasses.
016 a blast from the past coming in and I mean a blast – very heavy wind
** meteorology, windstorm, video, photo, -July 4, 1995 I had dinner watching the clouds on the top of the 780 meter mountain across from me flowing down hill to the west. I noticed that something different was happening to the air flow over to the east flank, which is mostly a ridge to the next peak, a 470 meter mountain.
On the 470 meter peak I could see that the cloud clinging to the top of the peak, which was moving in the opposite direction this cloud was moving to the east. I also noticed that there was a build up of clouds behind where I could see through the passage, Umiasugssup ilua, separating Umiaq mountain from the 780 meter peak.
I wondered what the weather was in Upernavik because these clouds looked especially dense not just a layer of fog. Then I began to notice that low broken stratocumulus clouds were blowing up the passage from the outside having come around the seaward side of Sanderson's Hope the highest mountain at 1042 meters in this area. The front could not quite get past the outer mountain, Sanderson's Hope mountain on Qaersorssuaq island but it must have been hitting Upernavik.
017 heavy wind upstairs
Gradually something changed because nothing especially the weather can be taken for granted here except change. The moving clouds the falling air off the 780 meter peak changed its direction from west to north and this began to do what katabatic winds do it hit the water at the base of the mountain making whitecaps.
I grabbed my cameras because this was just the same type of event I had experienced in 1992. I recorded the evolution of the wind first hitting the water near the mountain then gradually the wind progressed across the one mile fetch of Torssut hitting this area in an hour.
I took storm precautions by moving my kayak up higher. I slid the boat on a combination of thick plastic bags and boards over the sharp granite boulders. Granite ramps do not exist in this little area.
Looks innocent but it is heavy wind upstairs 018
For my tent I put the usual combination of heavy rocks around the tent. I put a large rock on top of the tie rope next to the tent and tie the tie rope around a smaller rock so that the smaller rock is anchored in place with the big rock. If that is not enough I put a tent stake in the ground between the large and small rock or use more large rocks. This depends on whether the ground will accept tent stakes. In Barrow Alaska where there can be lots of wind but there are no rocks I would have had to anchor the tent with sand or chunks of soil on the tent flaps tied up to form pockets.
Then I decided to try to reduce some of the slatting problem wind creates with this tent so this time since I happened to have put in a second rescue rope 50 ft of 1/2 inch line for difficult mooring situations I decided to guy the tent off. What a difference so far, the tent is not slatting as much as it usually does when the wind comes up. The ropes go from a rock southwest to the peak tie loop to a rock west, which is where all the wind will most likely be coming from.
The barometer definitely does not tell the arrival of this wind it has been hovering all day but at 20:30 it was at 1008 mb then at 21:30 when the wind had actually made it across the bay it
The barometer was at 1009 mb then at it was at 1010 mb now at it is at 1010 mb. A couple of good blasts hit making it feel like it might blow the tent away. Barometer began rising - typical.
The time I think it reflects wind more closely is when the barometer has been holding for several hours during a storm and the it rises. When the barometer rises the wind will and I have noticed that it does increase until the barometer rises again then the wind from the storm, which is clearing out starts to slack off.
July 5th woke briefly at 05:00 because the sun was showing through the eastern gap in the clouds the wind was slacking off and there was a momentary quiet spell the barometer had started rising it was at 1012 mb and when I awoke again at 07:00 the sun was still shining among the clouds and I noticed that the intensity and frequency of the gusts of wind had diminished. The barometer was rising at 1018. Although at 07:00 the sun was still shining among a hole in the stratocumulus clouds between the 470 meter and the 870 meter mountain to the south overhead it was blue sky but there were two areas one to the southeast and one to the east, which had "v" shaped spread out cirrostratus clouds the end of the "v" pointing west and the opening pointing east suggesting that this was the end of the front blowing through. The stratocumulus clouds and altocumulus clouds were still rushing along over the top of the mountains. On the north side at the base of the steep escarpment a mile across Torssut from me the clouds still had winds, which were pouring down the cliffs hitting the water in an 1/8 mile wide band. The visible movement of air was shown by the actual movement of condensate from the clouds downward. The waves coming from the west were still 2 feet short chop creating surf on my side. Wind was still blowing at about 20 knots down Torssut. I thought about launching and decided that my priority was to take photos and videos of sea birds and with 20 knots pushing me that would be difficult. I recall that some Little Auk were nesting on the Simiutaq island outside of Torssut.
Tide was low at . Barometric pressure was 1019 mb and at 13:00 1019 mb slight amount of snow at 18:00 1022 mb high overcast altostratus in slight corrugations wind very light from the east. Cloud bank on Sanderson's Hope reduced from what it had been earlier. Light layer of snow on 300 meter altitude.
Initially when the storm started the air felt warm the sky above was clear blue the cloud bank stayed on the mountain tops to the south. The wind intensified by it was definitely cold I was uncomfortable and had to cover myself with an extra solar blanket. I am very glad that I happened to have brought four of them on this trip because they can be used for leaking tent or very cold conditions.
I took a walk at low tide just to see if I could conveniently spot the mussel bed that I knew was somewhere around here. I did not see any and I think that they may grow in the cove that runs back east out of the wave breaking area or they grow deeper in the water. I did see a couple new pieces of kelp, Laminaria longicurus and Laminaria agardhi with the crinkled edges. Although the storm seemed terribly threatening the waves, which came into the beach below never had a chance to become that large because they were refracted waves that came from around the corner. I could see why there was so little beach erosion in this particular area it is quite protected. I was glad that I had brought my boat up high because when all sorts of wind is blowing and waves are crashing in it is not the time to go moving boats especially in brutally cold conditions or worse yet to have the waves grab the boat when you are sleeping.
I occupied my afternoon with taking photos and videos of plants, which I knew I would like to have a record of. I have learned from past experiences not to trade slides just take new pictures. The high overcast was not the best but I did not want to loose this information. I got out my tripod and lens extension tubes. I wish that I might have resolved my macrovideo requirements but I do feel that I will probably need to resort to using a video processor for slides and prints. I also took photos and videos of the maps because I had good conditions for playing with maps.
Lycopodium alpinum 019
I came across an arctic version of ground pine Lycopodium alpinum for my first time and I was lucky that I just happened to be sitting looking in detail at a bank along a brook when I happened to spot this unique plant. I also took what I hope will be exciting photos of plants by getting a nice perspective from lying on the ground to get an interesting angle. I remembered that my photos taken from above are not very good to really get an idea of what a plant looks like.
I returned to the west slope to take photos where I had found a very large number of Cassiope hypnoides growing alone and in combination with Cassiope tetragona ssp. tetragona.
I took photos using lens extension tubes of lichens, which made focusing on the subject with the tripod quite interesting especially after a cup of coffee, but I hope that they show some interesting things about those lichens. What makes taking photos of lichens interesting is that they are always so sculptural and so abstractly, other worldly to look at. I took a picture of the bright green with the orange and brown veined backside edges lichen and a video.
I was delighted to get a couple of nice photos in flower of Cassiope hypnoides with a Salix herbacea bloom next to it, Cassiope tetragona ssp. tetragona, Phylodoce coerulea or Empetrum nigrum (I'm not sure), Vaccinium uliginosum var. uliginosum, Sphagnum sp to show its growing habit, Lycopodium alpinum and Pyrola minor. Pyrola minor I remembered I didn't have a photo of.
I found in the upper slightly drier area in combination with willow and vaccinium extensive numbers of birch and I learned a lesson about birch that it does not grow in wet bog where sphagnum and dense thickets of empetrum and vaccinium create squishy tundra.
July 6th on Thursday I paddled to Aappilattoq. The boat moved very slowly because I happened to have made the mistake of loading two nice heavy food bags in the bow rather than the stern. I remember when I was loading that I had intended to put them in the aft section but in all of the confusion of trying to beat the incoming developing waves I did the reverse. I paid for it with a slow moving bow plowing boat.
I started out after having waited an extra day for bright sunlight from Torssut. I wanted to take some photos of red sea anemones and outer sea life that would be easy to see in the clear water attached to the vertical stone walls of Simiutaq island outside of Torssut. I had thought that there were some Little Auk nesting there however I only found Black Guillemots nesting on the Simiutaq island. I took some photos even though the current and wind made photographing challenging I kept behind the island out of the slight breeze to get flat water conditions.
The current was running out of the ice fjord from the east to the west. I paddled against this current almost all of the way to Aappilattoq. The current reversed in the passage between Uigordlia and Angmaussarssuaq islands in the late afternoon.
The wind was very light all day and the sun was very bright. The icebergs were not breaking up as rapidly as they would be doing later in July. There were many more large tabular bergs around.
The crossing was long and slow in the bright sun, I should have stopped when I had the opportunity and rearranged my bow heavy loaded kayak I was not braced with my feet very well I did not put the spacing board in the best position behind the rudder foot pedal bracket. I need a 2 inch spacer there.
When I arrived at Erqa the familiar island area where there is a large deposit of iron in the rock I rounded the corners consulting the map frequently so that I would not waste my time and energy paddling into a dead end bay. I had run this passage from the opposite direction in 1992 and I could recall that it had a few tricks to it.
I headed down through the familiar passage and stopped to take a lovely transparent photo of an old grounded iceberg before I found a nice little beach to stop. I rested at the beach for a moment before pushing on but I should have rearranged my load. I took with great difficulty a photo of a small sized Medusa jelly fish every time I set up the boat or its shadow killed the opportunity.
passing through the narrows I played the eddies along the walls to avoid the 5 knot current. Half way down the current reversed. I found and gathered some sea urchins whose eggs I stopped and ate.
I passed through the opening on the east side heading for the passage across was arduous. Everybody in town of course knew very well for a long time that I was coming across, very slow seemed to take forever.
When I arrived at Aappilattoq with my kayak and I was looking for a convenient stone ramp to bring my kayak up on, Gaba Petersen and Arnaaraq Løvstrøm, greeted me from their motorboat and guided me to a safe place. The place happened to was the last stone ramp in front of Jens/Nuka Grim's new house.
Jens, who is Adam's younger brother, came down to help me and he carried my things up the steep hill to Adam's house. He is learning to become a teacher at the school, he is an excellent hunter and is a very forward looking, creative person.
** visual description - I am always especially intrigued with the sight of the ice cap because it seems to glow brilliant white particularly on its high elevations. The very high elevations of the ice cap in its brilliant white is much whiter than any cloud can ever be and because of this the icecap appears to hang in the sky as some sort of incredible cloud. It is a cloud of solid ice, which moves by its own initiative.
** climatology - Hans told me that the local people have noticed that this year an unusually large amount of ice has broken free from the icecap into the Upernavik Icefjord. I had thought that there seems to be more larger tabular icebergs on the water off Upernavik than I had seen in the past, 1992 and 1993.
diary, interviews - I visited with Pavia Grim's wife, Susanne and granddaughter, Mette Moldrup. Their addresses are Susanne Grim,
Aappilattoq, 3962 Upernavik and Mette Moldrup, B999 Stauringvej, 3962
Upernavik. We had just the most
exciting time because Susanne showed me a very special photograph of
umiak - Susanne told me that she always traveled in
the Umiak and she remembers doing travel in the 1950's. She was born in Søndre Upernavik at Igdiutsiat on
** umiak - Ole said that his mother also traveled may times in the umiaq. Many times people would go to Laksefjorden / Equalugarssuit suvdluat.
** visiting, artists - I visited Matias Løvstrøm and his Danish wife, Bente Snyder. He is an artist who came to Upernavik in 1948 and has lived in Aappilattoq for 20 years. He makes beautiful jewelry carved from narwhal and walrus tusk, stone carvings, and scratch board or black and white prints. I was very happy to find another artist in this area.
** travel - I caught a ride on the "Iput" with Hans Nyrup and his wife back to Upernavik so that I could re-photograph the
Pavia Grim kayak repaired by Neils Moller, to retrieve my fax from the Museum and mail, which John Heath sent me about the kayak club meeting program in Sisimiut.
023 entrance to Laksefjord an unmistakable land form
Hans Nyrup's boat is a very well built carefully designed and mechanically excellent Colon Archer traditional cruising boat. It draws 1.8 meters of water and is a motorsailer. The size of the rudder and the prop allow this boat to turn on a dime, which is very what you want when dealing with the ice. They do set the sails when they are going from Nuusuaq to Kullorsuaq because they have a nice 4 hours of time with the wind in one direction. Hans said that sailing around ice bergs is too much work.
one of those special views you just never forget, it is of the glacier which glows on the eastern horizon we are in Aammarqua passage024
** diary - When I arrived at Upernavik via the Iput on Friday night at Ole was not home so I went up to Johnhard's house and his wife said that I could stay for the evening. I had a very nice time visiting with Jonhardt and Myrlenne we spent time talking Saturday morning about our inner religious focus. They are members of the Baptist church and I thought their approach to religion coincided very much with my own. We spent time reading and discussing. For me rebirth has now occurred.
Louise Kleeman, Neils Møller’s granddaughter was not available on Saturday but I reached her by telephone at her parents' house. I explained to her the drastic mistake I had made of taking photos of the kayak in the church without film in my photogrametric camera. I told her that I was staying at Jonhardt's house, which was near Pauline's house. Because I could not find Pauline at home could I once again borrow her key to the museum. She very kindly told me that I could come up to her house to get her key to the museum.
On my way up the hill to Louisa's house a taxi pulled over next to me with Ole and his family in it. They were on their way up the hill to visit and we had a good laugh about my being in Upernavik when I said that I was staying at Adam Grim's house back in Aappilattoq. I told him that I felt that I really should be back to finish off the faxes and that I had the most unusual opportunity to sail with Hans on the Iput around the back side of Nutarimiut in an are, which would be a very long paddle for me in my kayak. He thought that I was very lucky and that this was a very special opportunity not to be missed.
** umiaq, photo, meas - I retrieved the key and went down to the museum where I photographed Neils Møller’s kayak in the old church. I also took measurements, made a drawing, took photos and video footage of the umiak oar. I thought that for my own curiosity and studies that I should record this information. I knew in the future I would sometime be using this information. I thought that the museum would appreciate my providing them with this information.
** interview, photo - The next day I videoed and photographed Neils Moller with his kayaks. Unfortunately this time now that conditions were suitable for recording him while he was standing next to his kayaks, he did not feel like spending much time this time discussing his ideas about kayak design.
** diary - While I was visiting with Jonhardt he told me that there was a very interesting blue and white sail boat moored in the harbor.
On Sunday evening when I was on my way to stay for the evening at Ole's house I remembered to go over to the harbor to have a look at this boat.
** Croat, AYRS - By great luck three of the crew was standing on the dock drinking some beer wondering where they might find some accomodations and especially interested finding where they might do their laundry. I became engaged in a lively conversation with Miroslav Muhek telling him what I was visiting Upernavik for and he was most excited to find a kindred spirit. He very kindly invited me to go aboard their boat, named the Croat Tern.
The person who invited me on board was Miroslav Muhek, vice-president of Croatian Offshore Yacht Club located in Radioceva 26, CRO 41000 Zagreb, CROATIA phone # 385-1-275-344 fax # 385-1ª425-829.
Their boat was specially designed for ice sailing conditions by Bruce Roberts an American. They have built this boat in two years and it has state of the art american sailing equipment such as masts and spinnaker poles on it. It is made of steel, has a round shape similar to Herrishoff America's Cup racing designs with a continuous keel bow to stern about 2 feet deep and a special ram on the bow just slightly above the waterline (as the boat is loaded at this time), which is designed to part the ice by impacting small area of the ice forcing the ice open and throwing the ice out away from the hull.
I told Miroslav Muhek that I would write a short article for the AYRS newsletter about the design of their boat and that I would keep him in touch with the AYRS. He was very pleased to hear this and asked me if I would send him a copy of my article. I am very pleased to have happened to have met him and his crewmates on the boat and to have been able to offer this opportunity to share this information with others who are interested in such interesting boat design.
I went to Ole's to sleep I had the mistaken idea that it might be possible to retire at 22:00 no way life was going on non stop the television was interesting we had a good time talking about our ideas. Ole was full of ideas about how and what type of tourist attractions. He was thinking of polarbear hunting and photography trips I also suggested fishing. I suggested that the base camp be constructed of some type of easily transported on dogsleds collapsable structure and from that use tents. I suggested that an advertisement be run in "Smithsonian" magazine because that audience would be the most likely to be interested in this type of tourist attraction.
I finally attempted sleep at and woke up not hearing my alarm set for but luckily I wasn't too late. I had to be quick because I didnot want to miss the sail on the Iput. I had to reassemble my Garmin GPS at Jonhardt's house because we had taken it apart to dry out. During the one day paddle between Torssut Passage and Aappilittoq it took on water because I had left it in the bottom of my kayak overnight in bilge water. As the temperature dripped the contraction of the instrument was able to pull water through the gaskets.
I would have not attempted to bother with getting it to work again but Jonhardt was insistent on trying to revive it. He got it to turn back on but I still haven't worked on seeing if it is actually functional.
025 Sortehul viewed from the north on approach
July 10th at
aboard the Iput we set off around the outside of
026 north approach to Sortehul passage off base of sanderson hope showing the amazing colors of the minerals
I took another photo of Sortehul/Akornat. We crossed the bay and going down past the waterfalls I took a couple photos to illustrate the boat with high escarpments behind and over it and the sun hitting the wheelhouse nicely. I took a photo of the bay just before the actual one I stayed at but it is okey I took the photo just before we were directly in front of it because I did not want to happen to photo whatever. I took a photo from mid channel of the keyhole bay that I camped in where the lichens were especially thick just as an overview. I took a photo of the rock faces where the razorbills and thick-billed murres were in 1993. I took a photo of the small division behind the island, Qamavik, on the peninsula with the vertical cliffs on Akuliaruseq on Angmarqua to the left of the entrance to Laksefjorden / Equalugarssuit suvdluat in the background to give an image of
contrast of size and character of the topography.
I was surprised how far down Angmarqua I would have had to paddle before I could come to a landing site. The deep bay just after Nutarmiut most likely offered refuge. I took a photo looking south behind Akuliaruseq to show the contrast in landforms of that high island with the low rounded blue tinted island in the foreground, Amitsoq and behind, Sanmgassudrussuk because I had another view in 1993 of that from within Laksefjorden / Equalugarssuit suvdluat in the late evening. I thought it was curious the area knowing both views of the area.
I took several photos as we went down Angmarqua to record contrasts rock forms and bird colonies. I saw a bird colony at 72°37.593'N, 55°16.647'W, at 72°39.420'N, 55°14.779'W at the end of Nako Island, at 72°41.932'N, 55°09.228'W on Nutarmiut opposite the passage, Saningassup ikerasa, and there were two bird nesting sites near 72°44.739'N, 55°01.152'W.
We almost ran aground on a shallow rock right in the middle of the passage Angmarqua at 72°44.739'N, 55°01.152'W. We swung down a passage, Akulerqup sarqa between Uilortussoq and Saningassoq islands to pick up six German tourists at about 72°45.5'N, 54°
We picked up the German tourists at the ice cap and on the way back we had the grandest time talking about our experiences.
The tourists collected Betula nana, Epilobium latifolium, Cassiope tetragona, Ledum decumbens, Pyrola grandiflora, Vaccinium virtis, Melandrium affine, Papaver radicatum, and Oxyria digna. They saw little auks and ptarmigan, thick-billed auk, ring-billed gulls and they ate a Canada goose.
Marine weather information received at aboard the Iput stated that there was a high pressure system over the ice cap, which was creating the weather in this area however on the radio at was broadcast a gale warning for Manitsoq and Sissimiut that afternoon.
Barometric pressure readings for July 10th are 1023 mb, 1022 mb, 1024 mb and at 1023 mb a flat line on the graph on my watch. Cloud conditions 09:00 no clouds, 14:00 a few cirrostratus, 19:00 a few more cirrostratus and on the western edge cirrocumulus shaped as a "V" from a central pointing to the northwest just to the left of the sun and at 22:00 enough cirrostratus in combination with cirrocumulus shaped as a "V" pointing south to obscure the sun.
On our way back through Sortehul/Akornat we saw nesting on the high cliff faces, little auks, thick-billed and razor-bill auks, and Glaucous and ring-billed gulls. I noticed that there were only a dozen little auks and that they were in with the thick-billed auks.
on July 11 1022
mb high overcast cirrostratus and cumulus and some condensation on
I checked on my previously damaged through leakage GPS it gave Adam's house position as 72°53.33'N,55°31.68'W, which is only correct in the N reading the W reading should be 37'W.
027 birds nesting on cliffs of Sortehul
July 12 barometer very stable high overcast went at to visit MATHIAS (MATIA) LOVSTROM Appilattoq, AAP 3962 Upernavik FAX : 011-299-5-10-21 he is an accomplished artist who does black and white woodcuts, sculpture and jewelry. His designs are remaniscent of the types of carving that Peary brought back with mystical beings and images integrated into associations on stone and fossilized amber. He is always experimenting with different types of stone and one of the local islands to the northwest has a deposit of soapstone on it, which he uses.
is also quite a brilliant inventor he is experimenting with heating and
powering his boat with seal fat. He
heated his house using seal fat in the oilburning
device from December through February last winter. His birthday
At Matias took Bente and I in his motorboat to visit some of the local islands and to go for a walk on his favorite island, Miaggorfik. This island, I was told by Matia, has the remains of a Viking house on it located in a valley between the two elevations on its north side. Down below there is an excellent little cove to bring a boat in. Miaggorfik is located at 72°54'N, 55°41'W on the edge of Upernavik Isfjord with an excellent view of the open water on all sides.
While we were on the island, Miaggorfik, Matia showed me two lichens that he eats raw Cetraria nivalis and a Cladonia uncialis
raindeer moss. The cetraria has an acidic taste to it because it has ascorbic acid in it. He eats Vaccinium flowers (blueberry) for sugar and Cassiope (Arctic heath) flowers as a tonic and medicine. He showed me a grey green polytrichum type of moss, which is very dry and grows on bare dry rock that can pulled up in the summer from the rocks in large mats and can be used as insulation or to make a fire with.
For Eric Steen Hansen I gathered a brown foliose soil lichen, which I never seen before it had 2" leaves in clusters and grew in a moist mossy protected from the wind area. On the granite grew the unusal assortment of Leptochidium and Umbilicaria.
smokes fish such as Halibut fillets with plants such as Empetrum nigrum. He has designed a hill climbing smoker by
creating a hearth at the bottom and having the smoke travel along a crevasse
in the granite rock. He has made a
chimney by enclosing along a crevasse in the rocks with flat stones and
moss. At the top he has constructed an
enclosed rack to hang the fish on. He
covers the fish to keep the smoke in with cardboard and the last layer is a
sheet of plastic.
July 13th I gathered lichens at 72°52.56'N, 55°24.56'W on the northeast side of Aappilitiq island Dactylina arctica grew in clusters intertwined with the moss behind a boulder as a mixed layer over granite in an area protected from the wind. For Eric Steen Hansen I gathered a the dactlyina as it grew along with the other associated lichens because I thought that the mix of these
lichens was relevant to this sample. On the orange and white granite grew the usual assortment of Leptochidium and Umbilicaria. I saw bright rose-red feldspar and olive to lime bright green pyroxine.
I found that my GPS accuacy should be checked because I gave two different readings. I recorded both of the two readings to compare and I was hoping that either the first or the second might always be dependable as the correct reading. Hans Myrup said the once salt water has gotten inside a GPS the salt ions will make the electric fields unpredictable.
I had to draw on the map the longitude and latitude lines so that I could measure the positions on the map. Putting the detailed longitude and latitude lines was something that I forgot to do and home and wished that I had done. I found that the second reading of 72°52.56'N, 55°24.56'W is probably correct. 72°'W, 72 $ July 14 I telephoned Jonhardt Jacobsen to find that the Iput was not a viable means to get to Kullorsuaq so I hopped down to the KNI and bought tickets to and from via the "Angajuittuk". The trip on this boat is faster than the "Hvidken". The trip will take 18 hours instead of two days.
I did not want to wait two weeks for a maybe deal on the "Iput" and not enough time to really talk with Nikolaj Jensen the kayak builder that has built many kayaks and is always there building and hunting in kayaks.
I received a fax from John Heath, which advised me that he is most interested in information regarding the anthroprometric measurements used in this area for kayak design. I am quite pleased that I have made this decision.
I planned to paddle when the sun was in the west so that I could take some photographs and video footage in a bay to the south of Aappilittoq. It was raining slightly and overcast, which made picture taking not practical but looking into the water was very interesting. I saw many clam shells, many mussels, types of seaweeds, jelly fish, ctenophores or comb jellies, beroe, pteropods or sea butterflies, fish larvae, different types of crustacea and green sea urchins especially in the entrance to a most unusually beautiful bay called Tupeq pinersoq. This little bay had a narrow entrance about 150 feet wide and it opened out into numerous arms with reached down into the interior of the Aappilittoq island. The first arm comes off on the left side and the next goes to the right and winds back toward the west but the longer portion of the arm, which starts on the right side goes back the longest distance. There are some places are along the arm on the right side with flat rounded granite rocks. barometric pressure is 1029 mb having risen in the last 6 hours from 1024. High over cast ceiling altocumulus with a slight amount of rain.
July 15th barometric pressure is 1028 mb and it has been flat for the last 24 hours. Sky is clearing, the sun is shining and it is warm.
Although I had planned to visit Mathias (Matia) Lovstrom and discuss his use of plants and kayak building he had not returned from Upernavik until the afternoon.
I telephoned Ole Thorleifsen to tell him that I was paddling back to Upernavik to catch the ferry but since he was coming to visit Adam he was able to give me a motorboat ride back to Upernavik so that I can catch the ferry on Monday at 12:00 rather than risk paddling my kayak back and not getting there on time. I was relieved to have things work out so well.
While Ole was visiting I watched some of Adam's video footage and found that he had some good footage on tapes number 1,3 and 4 the only thing I did not happen to find on those tapes was some fishermen pulling up Halibut. That scene was on another tape and I don't know, which one it was. I did index the events on those three tapes. There were excellent dog sledding scenes, seal hunting, kayak racing, home scenes, blue and yellow light scenes, helicopter pictures of the ice in various stages, good footage of Tassaq and most important a record of the ice moving up and down 30 km from land, which gave a definate sense of reality to dog sled travel on sea ice.
I called Pauline as soon as I resurrected myself at Ole's. I had not had any possible chance to wash or to wash my clothes at Adam's house in Aappilittoq because all the water for his house is actually carried by boat and then by Adam himself. Even a little water to brush my teeth was something to consider as being very limited.
Pauline's house she was just serving dinner to her family of four children
and Dr. Kent Klinschmidt. We survived and
Kent and I talked about the health problems in this area. First he told me that he was most concerned about the inorganic garbage everywhere and then we both discussed the pervasive problem of improper disposal of organic materials. This problem is especially acute in the small settlements where people have just come from a world where everything you throw out is eaten by the dogs.
We also discussed the seriousness of infections from the deep puncture wound of a dog bite. In this area any dog that bites a person is shot immediately but dog bites are still a problem.
We discussed the all too common types of food poisoning here because people are not aware of the proper handling of food. They frequently leave food out on counter tops, defrost but do not cook immediately frozen food, store food outside in a warm sunny corner area and get ptomaine poisoning from vacuum packed sausages left out on a warm countertop. Potenilla is an anaerobe, which gives the symptoms that look like the person is drunk when actually the person first looses the ability to speak clearly, becomes weak and dizzy, and finally becomes unable to breathe.
I discussed with Kent and Pauline my thoughts about the potential for kayak touring around the Aappilittoq island and its area. They were excited to hear how lovely I thought this area is.
I told Pauline about my visit to the island of Miaggorfik where I had been told by Matia Lovstrom, there was the remains of a Viking house located between the two elevations overlooking an excellent little north cove.
I showed them the location on their map of Miaggorfik at 54'N, 55°41'W. Pauline showed me an illustration of a similar structure, which was labeled as a meat cache. This drawing was in a book Qangarnitsanik eggaassutit inuit - Kulturip nunaqarfii by Hans Christian Gallov published by Niip Kommuncant ISBN 87-480-4251 1983 Nuuk
Pauline spent a summer doing archaeological digging on the east coast south of Aammasalik with Hans Christian Gallov. I was most delighted to hear about how diverse and extensive her training is in the field. I think that she can help me increase and round out my knowledge because it is unfortunate at this time that I have almost no knowledge of Eskimology.
Kent also pointed out some nearby islands where the people from the settlements in that area north of Upernavik always go during the summer months because the hunting for birds and seals is better in that area then. I believe that those people must live in tents for the summer. This was exciting to hear about because this means to me that these people are still living in the traditional way.
I asked Kent and Pauline if they thought that the places where the winter settlements were positioned might be where the ice breaks up first. The advantage to being located where the ice goes out first is the best seal hunting because it is much easier to hunt seals in open water than to scout out every seal hole hoping that one of them has a seal. Pauline thought that my idea was probably true. She also told me that Aappilittoq is located at a polynia.
was very excited to learn from Pauline that there is a polynia
near Aappilittoq and
That evening at where the sun was the sky was yellow but to the west it was red beneath the cloud cover of altocumulus clouds. The altocumulus clouds form a circle open on one side in the sky giving a feeling of high ceiling and endless open expanse.
July 16th, the barometric pressure is 1023 mb and it has fallen in the last six hours the sky has some high cirrostratus in the south and some altocumulus in the north.
I visited Jonhardt and his wife we had a very lovely time together catching up on our various experiences. Myrlian invited me for their wonderful Sunday dinner I very much enjoyed her very good cooking and the two desserts were really special. She made a vanilla pudding topped with Odecker Carmel sauce and a sponge cake filled with vanilla pudding, prune sauce and topped with fresh whipped cream. I kindly washed the dishes while everyone fell asleep. I could have just as easily done the same - I was very tempted but I had to go to the Museum at because Neils was to be there.
I was to retrieve my fax from John Heath and my diskette with my fax correspondence on it. The fax from John is very good to keep with me as verification of my study of the kayak here.
I was at the museum I happened to find some excellent references to read and
study the pictures of. Kalaalit Eqqumiitsuliaat by Bodil Kaalund ISBN 87-567-3397ª6 published by Politikens Forlag as,
Gronland by Jette Bang published by Det Gronlandske Selskab, Steen, Hasselbalchs Forlag, Kobenhavn 1940 had excellent photographs on pages 52, 70-1, and 78-9 of kayaks and umiaks written in Danish. I made some xerox copies, which I left in the museum.
Kajaker by Keld Hansen and Birthe L. Clausen published by Vikingskibshallen,
A very important reference listed in this book is Meddlesker om Gronland volume 51 pg111 Morton Porsild. On page 182-3 Porsild mentions Geisler family of Upernavik modification of the kayak by tying the skeg on through the bone keel the line swells up and fills the holes making them waterproof this is mentioned as a great improvement n also mentions a harpoon that this family was designing at that time in 1915.
Porsild confirms my conclusion about the skeg for keeping the kayak tracking straight when taking aim at a seal with a rifle. He discusses the white sheet shield as being a invention when the rifle came into use.
In an interview with Neils Møller he stated the skeg was necessary to keep the kayak going straight.
Written and recorded by Gail Ferris