Paddling again in Upernavik July 23 2011 kayak paddle

Gail Ferris

I went for a walk in the morning.  The light was wonderful and the tide had bottomed out.



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early morning light and colors looking off to the southeast



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Note glaciated rock in foreground and jumble of icebergs across the way.  These burgie bits are the remains of larger iceberg outside that has broken up and is now riding the current westward down Torssut passage.

From this location I can watch the icebergs glide by on the currents, sometimes grounding out and just in general they often disintegrate!



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I am looking northeast toward Qeqertarsuit island complex and Upernavik Icefjord and Aappilattoq where these icebergs are originating it is 3:27 in the morning.  This photo is taken from the island, Simiataq, showing a wonderful view of the light shining from northeast the pink clouds are over Upernavik Icefjord



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early morning view of the birds out and about




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early morning showing how close the icebergs are to my tent and the open view to the south with closest peninsula part of Qaersorssuaq island far away is Nutarmiut island

I am looking south at 3:28am with my tent on the right side the iceberg on the far right is grounded out.  This is the low light on July 23rd.  These icebergs are just off the Simiataq are breaking up and drifting elsewhere note tent on right side Eureka Forester #1 certifiably mosquito proof.

Around the corner of the dark brown high point you see just right of center is a bay and peninsula I camped at in 1993 where I found chalcedony quartz stone that would ring like a bell when dropped.  This bell like ring to the stone is resulting from the stone having been heated to what is called quartz inversion temperature.  Ringing stone was very exciting to discover when kicking the stones on the beach.

In this photo the darkening of the water you can see is just a slight bit of wind blowing probably from the west.



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I took this photo to show the Common Guillemots that always congregate around this island in the morning hours.  They nest on the west side of this island.  I could hear their usual high peeping calls.

The iceberg behind is in deep water in front of Qaersorssuaq island a mile away.




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Saturday 9:00 while the tide was low I went down on the rocks and gathered a few sea urchins so that I could eat more uni (sea urchin eggs).  The sea urchins were feasting on the seaweeds on the rocks off the rocks on the north side just below my tent. 

I took photos of flowers and some minerals

I noticed that the bergs are moving away to the west, probably on the current.


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a look at the sea urchins feeding on the seaweeds that grow on these rocks where there is little wave action and ice scouring. 

The other sides of this island do not have sea urchins.

Note the abundant and consistent population of barnacles which also indicate little disruption of these rock surfaces.

These sea urchins are just near my tent on flat rock easy to go down on and retrieve a few to feast on.


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ice bits from an iceberg breaking up nearby

I always make sure before I arrive to paddle here in these icy waters of Greenland that my drysuit is in perfect condition, because without a drysuit in this water you are gone instantly.  As you can see in this photo this water is always just hovering on the freezing point.  In the winter this area is very dangerous for walking on the ice because there are strong currents beneath that keep the ice very easy to fall through just inches aside from the seasonal dog sledge trail.



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I must have taken this from on top of Simiataq over to the north east

The island on the left is Atiligssuaq which has many areas with lots of different flowers.  The Island on the right is all rock Atilgssuaq far away is Satoq island.



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the end of Qærsorssuaq island and behind it is Qeqertat and Nutarmiut island.

This is another view to the south slightly different sunlight



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my kayak tied off in supposedly safe position above wave surges



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looking north east toward Aappilattoq

I am standing on top of the island looking at the sun which is out of view on the left side of the photo.  I am looking at the islands between Upernavik and Aappilattoq. It is flat calm just about four in the morning.


At 10 am the first boat showed up.  For diversion I listened to radio Australia at 959 on shortwave at 11 am. The sun is bright and it is hot in the tent at 12:15.

At 12:26 the barometer is reading 29.75hg was 29.8 and the last 14 hours has been very stable weather.  I adjusted the altitude on my barometric watch to 0 feet since I was at sea level.



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More views of vegetation on this island the Birch trees are bright green in the middle and left front.


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Photo above shows some steamy hot, bright summer sun shining at only 8am in the morning over an iceberg grounded just off this island water is flushing off of it.  In the background you can see hot summer mist it is a hot summer day.

I am taking this photo from within my tent.



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Low tide, it is 7:55 in the morning, showing all the barnacles and sea urchins.


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Bladder Campion in full flower among Black Crowberry, Empetrum nigrum a berry


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Pyrola grandiflora


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Pyrola which is in the wintergreen family in full flower among reindeer lichen Cladonia and Arctic Willow Salix herbacea the prostrate very tiny tree growing among the Cladonia lichen.



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Salix herbacea and Equisetum horsetail and Willow



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wooly lousewort, Cerastrum alpinum with equisetum behind



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extensive Salix arctica/ herbacea and Equisetum sticking up through



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Salix glauca Willow with Equisetum in the background



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Cladonia lichen with pyrola and salix herbacea the tiny willow tree that grows buried among plants



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over view of hummock Salix glauca and sod plants in previous photos



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iron deposit in mafic stone very dense iron an aquatic deposit



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Saxifragia oppositifolia always a solitary plant that grows in wind scoured areas


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crystalline feldspar, quartz and various lichens



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Drabia oblongata in the mustard family


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Oxyria digyna Dock family with edible leaves and Salix glauca below



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Salix glauca growing over mafic rock with Empetrum nigrum a berry



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Potentilla crantzii



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Drabia nivalis, cruciferae



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Drabia nivalis, cruciferae



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lichen close-up large Cladonia squamosa or cyanipes or a Stereocaulon paschale, reindeer moss



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Salix glauca, white flowered red stemmed willow trailing over rock



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this is to show the very high concentration of aqueous deposit iron that occurs in this area.  This is a boulder with a piece that has broken off exposing this rich deposit of precipitated iron probably a marine deposit.


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This plant that likes moist soil on dry outcrops which have water runoff Cassiope tetragona



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flowering clumps of Cassiope tetragona



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pink and red feldspar with gray mineral probably hornblende



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Some bluegreen lichens encrusting the soil.



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Salix arctophila, Willow with red stems in full bloom late July



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closeup of Cassiopie tetragona



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group of Pyrola grandiflora, Wintergreen



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Looking due North toward the proverbial Upernavik Icefjord the source of bergs that are in the foreground.


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Glacial erratics just dropped here and there.  The iron rich boulder is showing iron sulphate that inhibits lichen growth interspersed with white feldspar colonized by lichens.  Lichens are probably umbilicaria.



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Dryas integrifolia and assorted soil lichens



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large marine whelk shell 3 inches long washed and blown up on shore



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Dryas integrifolia



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looking at Umiasugssuk mountain and Qærsorssuaq islands where all the wind storms usually come from down Torssut from the west across Baffin Bay.



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Umbilarica rigida lichen




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interesting layering north east peninsula of island metagreywacke sequence of interlayered semipelite and pelitic schist gneissic with strong iron layers



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Cetraria lichen among crustose soil lichens.



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close by iceberg filled with dirt



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an iceberg breaking