Paddle again in Upernavik July 22nd, 2011 kayak travel

Gail Ferris

Friday morning 8 22 2011 I found myself awaking at 2:30am unable to resume sleep, same as my previous trip from here in 2009, so I got up at 3:30 ate breakfast.

I did the last minute packing taking out some heavy items that I decided I would not need and put them on top of some stacked lumber out of the reach of a collection of marauding puppies I had discovered were in the area this time. I noticed that some kindly person had rescued a couple of bags I had carelessly left on the ground

This time incase I need I brought my cooking pot, matches and a cigarette lighter figuring that I could position the pot over a couple rocks and boil mussels over a fire I could make from local plants that burn at a furious rate.

Last time I found that I was really annoyed that I had not brought my cook pot for cooking mussels because I just happened to pull into a bay that was filled with mussels.

I prefer launching very early in the morning because all is quiet and this morning light is just so wonderful. In previous years I never had this opportunity but my most exotic moment in launching was in 2009 when I caught this wonderful light.

I left my overnight house carrying my two heavy bags to the kayak on this sunny blue sky morning my first waypoint was taken at the ramp just to be sure I had that position. I arranged my Sony Mavica still camera and Sony SR68 video camera in drybags on the deck so that they were easy for me to reach when I was paddling.

Waypoint #5 and #6 on 22 July 11 1:59:02 am N 7246.971 W 056 09.237 in Upernavik at the launching ramp.

I am on the water at 5:52 am



2011 07 22 0352(0552) first view cockpit the peak in the center is Sandersons Hope mountain almost 4,000 feet high of basalt


Moment when tilted

2011 07 22 0352 (0552)launching view from cockpit view Sandersons Hope on the left in the back with Gris island on right side



2011 07 22 0352 (0552)looking past Gris island with a couple large icebergs far away at the fog over water outside Upernavik looking out to Baffin Bay



2011 07 22 0352 (0552)Gris and behind is Lange looking south from the launch at Upernavik


Waypoint #7 on 22 July 11 3:25am 07246.974N 05606.368W is the 2nd waypoint on my way out of town


3rd waypoint out of town is N 7247.333 W 0056 02.954

On my way here I had a close call with a small seemingly innocent flat rounded berg which rolled over and jumped up like jagged tooth rearing up toward me just a few feet away.

In the middle of Torssut I found some tiny fish flittering on the surface of the water I dont know what they are but it will be fun to find out some day. I took photos and video of them. I wonder if they are capelin?


2011 07 22 0625 (0825) more little fish.jpg

probably smelt within Torssut passage a few miles east of Upernavik

2011 07 22 0625 (0825) more little tiny fish playing on water in Torssut



Wpt 005 22-JUL-11 03:59:02AM (05:59) N72 46.971 W56 09.237

Wpt 006 22-JUL-11 03:59:07AM (05:59) N72 46.971 W56 09.238

Wpt 007 22-JUL-11 05:25:54AM (07:25) N72 46.974 W56 06.368

Wpt 008 22-JUL-11 05:59:43AM (07:59) N72 47.333 W56 02.954

Wpt 009 22-JUL-11 06:47:12AM (08:47) N72 46.220 W55 58.098

Wpt 010 22-JUL-11 07:13:08AM (07:13) N72 46.539 W55 55.998

Wpt 011 22-JUL-11 09:02:40AM (11:02) N72 47.057 W55 48.067

Wpt 012 22-JUL-11 11:46:20AM (13:02) N72 47.006 W55 46.159

I stopped in Torssut passage at a place I camped a few years ago and during my first visit to Upernavik in the 1992.

Not good, wow was I shocked to find that now in this late July there I was the foolish visitor being besieged by intrepid swarms large hungry black mosquitoes and conditions to my horror was stiflingly hot.

I took care of my nature call as fast as possible and got out of there vowing to get to cooler place that would be exposed lots of icebergs preferably an island. The island would have to have some source of water be it chunks of ice or snow melt run off.

I would ideally prefer to be in an area where people in their boats always pass by because I find it very comforting to hear boats going by and have many fond memories of people stopping to say hello.

Total isolation is not for me, even though I paddle alone.


2011 07 22 0921 (1121)535.jpg 7/22 (11:21)

Long Haul Mark 1 kayak

the actual time that I arrived at the island, Simiataq, east of Torssut showing one of the Mylar wine bag rollers

The wine bag rollers along with the polyethylene foam pool noodles work well on this smooth rock.

The wine bag roller I found will slide nicely and elevate the kayak better than the pool noodles because they inflate to 4.5 inches diameter cylinders instead of just 3 inch cylinders.

There was a time I thought of using stuff bags but they are too stiff and not slippery. The risk of a puncture to a good drybag is a bad idea.

2011 07 27 0925 (1125)614

inserted for text about the Eureka tent with equipment taken 7 27 at 11:25

It is very calm the air is cool on this island, Simiataq, and there is lots of ice burgie bits grounded out around this island. These pieces of ice could be a source of water.

2011 07 22 0921 (1121)535.jpg

My kayak up on the rocks showing the deck with extra paddles. On top of the deck is the map bag, camera drybag and on the back of the kayak is a nylon shoulder strap carry bag. ON the rocks are several drybags that contain clothes, tent, sleeping bag etc. the orange cylinder is a pool noodle used for a roller under the hull to get up the rocks.

The icebergs nearby could supply water from pieces of ice that routinely beak off.

The rudder you can see is a modified sailing rudder specially designed for this kayak, believe me it works very well I have done 180s in +25 knot winds with this rudder. The rudder can be adjusted to different depths as necessary to maintain steerage.


When I was traveling in 2009 I found the only source of water on an island was just exactly these bits of ice, because there was no other water to be found on that island in August and it had been a dry early summer. This year, 2011, was the opposite with literally a blizzard in June.

In 2008 I landed on an island finding to my horror that the only some sort of melt or spring water flowing out of the dirt just the same place I had camped in 2005.

In 2005 I was forced to sop and suck up water dripping down some rock faces take a piece of ice up on top of an indentation on the rocks and gather from it as it melted.

This year in June 2011 Upernavik had a large blizzard which left a generous deposit of snow still visible everywhere especially in rocky sheltered areas.

As I was paddling looking for a landing place with water from the water I spotted one of these deposits as a large snow bank smothered into the rocks facing east. I thought this was really wonderful because it would serve as my water supply.

I found not only a number of snow water pools at the base of this snow embankment but also there was a good flow of water. Perhaps there might also be a spring on this tiny island, Simiataq?

The minerals and rocks were very pretty in bright colors of iron infusions into feldspar and other metamorphosed minerals.

I found a flat piece of moderately stony ground on a peninsula that was above a storm high tide line where there was enough soil for me to anchor my tent.

As I always do, I tied it off to a large bolder with the fifty foot throwline from the peak directly to a large bolder which does not show in this photo.

I did find evidence via pieces of broken Fucus seaweed that the tide does get almost to the top of the rocks.

My new tent is much lighter and a good design with its freestanding aluminum tubing x shaped frame capped by a rainfly that has a straight piece to extend the fly past the width of the tent. The entire tent is mosquito proof with good coil zippers that open easily. The overall shape is semi-lunar and the floor is a long rectangle. Every inch is usable by the single occupant with things easy to grab. The fabric on the rigid frame does not flog in the wind.

I used a couple space blankets to protect the tent floor from possible abrasion or puncture of its nylon fabric and invaluable waterproof coating urethane coating.


2011 07 30 0804 (1004)625.jpg

showing the tent and kayak


To my wonderment I saw 2 small grey butterflies just after I arrived on this island.

There are few mosquitoes

There peninsula is offering cool conditions from the ice but there are no signs that anybody has camped on this island, Simiataq, as I notice that there are no remains such as tent circles of rocks or ridges of sod.

I am on camping on a flat dry spot on a rock and soil peninsula facing east.