Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Prince Christian Sound (AKA in Danish as Prins Christian Sund) separates the mainland of Greenland from the islands of the Cape Farewell Archipelago.  It is at the southern tip of Greenland and connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea.  It is 60 miles long and very narrow–sometimes only 1600 ft wide.  The only settlement along the sound is Aappilattoq with a population of about 150.  This long fjord system is mostly surrounded by steep mountains—some reaching over 7,200 ft high.  Many of the glaciers go straight into the water where they calve icebergs.  However, strong tidal currents often limit the formation of ice.

This is a journey full of breathtaking glaciers and mountains and waterfalls.  And the village of Aappilattoq is quite picturesque, also!

Cruising through Prins Christain Sund
Cruising through Prins Christain Sund
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As you can see, we continue to enjoy cloudy skies with a constant overcast relieved ocaissionally by heavy fog and the melodic sound of the fog horn.
None-the-less, the scenery is beautiful!
None-the-less, the scenery is beautiful!
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We pass the only little village we’ve seen all day! Can you imagine living here? This is miles from anywhere! How do they get their food and provisions? Does Domino’s deliver???? Ah, yes, they have a heliport seviced by Air Greenland!
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The colorful buildings are quite cheerful. I would guess that’s in response to the craggy dull-colored stone of these mountains. But I’m pretty sure that beautiful blue hue is copied from the blue of the glaciers and icebergs.
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The village of Aappilattoq. Doesn’t this photo look like a diarama diplay? Nope, I took the shot myself and can assure you–this is a really charming little place that most of us could never, ever live in! Talk about self-reliant. Talk about solitude!
mini-bergs
mini-bergs
Ice cubes!?!
Ice cubes!?!
Prins Christian Sund can look bleak.
Prins Christian Sund can look bleak.
Prins Christian Sund can look mysterious.
Prins Christian Sund can look mysterious.
And then the sun comes out and Prins Christian Sund glimmers!
And then the sun comes out and Prins Christian Sund glimmers!
Prins Christian Sund where the clouds come down to visit.
Prins Christian Sund where the clouds come down to visit.
Prins Christian Sund where the glaciers are huge but mostly un-named...
Prins Christian Sund where the glaciers are huge but mostly un-named…
...and the waterfalls are everywhere!
…and the waterfalls are everywhere!
Another view of a glacier.
Another view of a glacier.
And another.  Just look at that clear, still water!
And another. Just look at that clear, still water!
The blue color is a result of air being compressed.
The blue color is a result of air being compressed.
Isn't it gorgeous.
Isn’t it gorgeous.
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And, of course, the ice bergs will have the blue coloring, too, when they calve and float away.
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We took a lot of photos because everything we saw was fabulous! Can’t show them all–but trust me, this is an amazing part of the world to visit.
A mini berg and 2 waterfalls.
A mini berg and 2 waterfalls.
More glacier.
More glacier.
How many ways can you say beautiful, fabulous, amazing???
How many ways can you say beautiful, fabulous, amazing???
And now a boulder that looks ready to dive in for a swim.
And now a boulder that looks ready to dive in for a swim.
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And all too soon, we approach the North Atlantic Ocean once again and exit the Prince Christian Sound. The Sund cruising is at an end.

 

Still on our way to Reykjavik, Iceland!

Qaqortoq, Greenland

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Qaqortoq is South Greenland’s most populous town and it may be “one of the most charming and attractive towns in all of Greenland!”  So said “What’s in Port.com.”  We found many things to be quite charming:  the carved artwork in the stone cliffs along with the sculptures all around town; the pastel-colored buildings; sealskin gloves; the many hand-crafted wares in the souvenir shops.  We shopped the supermarket and the local version of Ace Hardware.  We walked the Tundra.

The colorful colonial buildings date back to 1775 when the town was founded.  The church was built in 1832.  Currently, there is a cultural project underway: “Stone and Man” consisting of 30 different motifs that are chiseled into the rocks and stones of the cliffs.  They follow the path up the hill.  Atop one of the cliffs is the Qaqortoq Hotel where we had a very tasty lunch accompanied by the local brew (Jack’s Ale).

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Downtown Qaqortok as seen from the ship. Don’t you just love those colorful buildings! Greenland is mostly brown, craggy and treeless. The joyful paint provides a touch of whimsy and brings a smile to your face!
The MS Rotterdam anchored in Qaqortoq.  We tendered into port.
The MS Rotterdam anchored in Qaqortoq. We tendered into port.
The Qaqortoq wlecome center and gift shop.
The Qaqortoq welcome center and gift shop.
Looking at the tender dock and the MS Rotterdam in the bckground.
Looking at the tender dock and the MS Rotterdam in the background.
Qaqortok tender landing area.
Qaqortok tender landing area.
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“Stone & Man” Outdoor Gallery. This art project takes the viewer all around town to not only enjoy the artwork of Nordic craftsmen and artists, but to see and explore the town itself.
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Stone & Man: this project was conceived and initiated by Aka Hoegh, a leading Greenland artist in 1993. By 1994, 18 Nordic artists had carved 30+ sculptures throughout the town.
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This charming cottage with the bell at the roof line may have been the grade school. The bell above the front door is the giveaway!
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This is Town Square. And that fountain was installed in 1925. It is the oldest fountain in Greenland.
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That brown-roofed building behind the fountain is a market selling everything from fresh donuts and coffee to frozen appetizers along with rifles and ammunition and knitting supplies.
The fish maket is across the street and across the stream from the fountain.
The fish maket is across the street and across the stream from the fountain.
The Qaqortoq Cultural Museum.
The Qaqortoq Cultural Museum.
Frelserens Kirke built in 1832.
Frelserens Kirke built in 1832.
Walking along the tundra.
Walking along the tundra.
And a stream runs through it!
And a stream runs through it!
A view of the town as we walk back towards the ship.
A view of the town as we walk back towards the ship.
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The people on the far left are lining up to board the tender back to the ship. The large blue building above is the Qaqortoq Hotel with a Cafe, Steak House and Bar.
Qaqortoq Hotel
Qaqortoq Hotel
Nice little eaing and drinking areas in the hotel.
Nice little eating and drinking areas in the hotel.
The local brew.
The local brew.
Having the end of day libation.
Having the end of day libation.
MS Rotterdam preparing to depart Qaqortoq, Greenland
MS Rotterdam preparing to depart Qaqortoq, Greenland

 

I’m not going to say much about the Viking presence in Greenland until later in the cruise.  The narrative flows better from Scandinavia to North America because that follows the timeline of the Viking age.  We will follow the Viking progression when we leave Rotterdam and begin the homeward journey.

And now, we’re headed to Reykjavik, Iceland.