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.

Paamiut, Greenland

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

 

Once again, the weather conditions have forced a cancellation of our plans.  Our port call in Paamiut, Greenland has been cancelled due to heavy winds and strong currents.  We are actually sitting here, right off the coast of Greenland, but unable to go ashore.  I can only show you what it looks like from the water:

It's a grey,cold, windy day in Greenland!
It’s a grey,cold, windy day in Greenland!
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We are sailing PAST our anchor point at Paamiut, Greenland. The wind is 40 knots and the current too strong for tender operations. We have cancelled this port-of-call.
You can barely see it from the anchor point, but Paamiut is right out there.
You can barely see it from the anchor point, but Paamiut is right out there.
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View of the Greenland coastline from the shelter of a ship’s doorway. The temperature is 43 degrees with a brisk wind!
It is never good to take photos thru a ship's salt-marked windows!
It is never good to take photos thru a ship’s salt-marked windows!
Another view of the Greenland coastline.
Another view of the Greenland coastline.
This is certainly rugged terrain.
This is certainly rugged terrain.
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This building is big enough to be a hotel. We’ll not know ’til we come back to Paamiut, Greenland someday!
Just imagine how beautiful it must be in bright sunshine!
Just imagine how beautiful it must be in bright sunshine!
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This boat seems to be moving so it’s not a wreck. But it sure could use a coat of paint!
This appears to be harbor operations of some kind.
This appears to be harbor operations of some kind.
And we are sailing past Paamiut, Greenland
And we are sailing past Paamiut, Greenland
Yoou can just see little pieces of town in the background.
You can just see little pieces of town in the background.
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We’ll try to call at Qaqortoq, Greenland tomorrow. We’ve all got our fingers crossed!!!
And a mimi iceberg waves us off!
And a mimi iceberg waves us off!

 

We will hope for better luck tomorrow in Qaqortoq, Greenland!

Red Bay, Labrador, Canada

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Monday, July 23, 2018

 

We have never been to Red Bay, Labrador and were looking forward to seeing a town whose population would increase nearly 10-fold as soon as the ship’s passengers disembarked for the day!  Alas, that was not to be.  Patchy but worsening fog posed a danger to tender operation and threatened to delay our onward progress.  The port-of-call was cancelled as we lay anchored off the coast and with the tenders already in the water.

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Our stop in Red Bay was canceled due to fog and deteriorating weather conditions. We had already dropped anchor and deployed the tenders. The tenders returned. The anchor came up. We are on our way to Paamiut, Greenland.
Anchored at Red Bay, Labrador
Anchored at Red Bay, Labrador
Anchored at Red Bay, Labrador
Anchored at Red Bay, Labrador
I'm quite sure this is a quaint and charming town.  Sorry to miss it.
I’m quite sure this is a quaint and charming town. Sorry to miss it.
No doubt, that was good decision!
No doubt, that was good decision!

We are now on our way to Paamiut, Greenland

Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Sunday, July 22, 2018

 

Before focusing his attention on New Zealand and Australia, Captain James Cook was here and surveyed this area known as the Bay of Islands in 1767.  Today, the Capt. James Cook Historic Site sits atop Crow Hill overlooking the city.  We did not go there.  We are here on a Sunday and the public transportation is a little sketchy.  However, the Port Corporation provides school bus shuttles from the dock to City Hall.  So, we hopped a ride.

Immediately next door to City Hall is the Corner Brook Museum and Archives (open Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.)  A short walk across the Corner Brook Stream took us to the Valley Mall, which was open, for some shopping and a coffee at Tim Horton’s (the Canadian equivalent to Dunkin Donuts.)  Out the back door of the Mall we found The Emporium, a local shop for all things Newfoundland!  And it is open on Sundays from 9-5!!!!

But the point of coming to Corner Brook is to see Gros Morne National Park.  In 1987, the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its geological history and its exceptional scenery. The geology of the park illustrates the concept of plate tectonics and has shed important light on geological evolution and its processes. A unique rock massif rose from the earth’s mantle by means of tectonic upheaval.  The rocks are toxic to most plant life and so, due to exposure, they are now weathered to a rusty brown color.  This area, called Tablelands, provides a remarkable look at mantle rock rarely seen at the earth’s surface.  This is why Gros Morne was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The park is a 1 ½ hour drive away and a taxi tour will run at least $250.00.  The ships tour is 7 ½ hours departing at 8:45 am and costs $149.95/pp.  We chose to forego the obvious because in 2013, we had actually walked along a 45-foot tectonic rift while on the Golden Circle Tour in Reykjavik, Iceland!  Pingvellier is not only the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament, but also the convergence of the Eurasian and North American continental plates.  This is precisely where the two tectonic plates are tearing away from each other at the rate of 1mm to 18mm per year.  A path runs along the fault and it is possible to set your feet firmly in both Europe and North America!

On the dock in Corner Brook, Newfoundland right next to the papermill
On the dock in Corner Brook, Newfoundland right next to the papermill
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Corner Brook is known as a fishing and papermill town. The papermill, built in the 1920s turned the city into the largest city in western Newfoundland.
City Hall in Corner Brook where the shuttle bus dropped us off.
City Hall in Corner Brook where the shuttle bus dropped us off.
The Corner Brook Museum is next door to the City Hall.
The Corner Brook Museum is next door to the City Hall.
A monument to fallen soldiers.
A monument to fallen soldiers.
Downtown Corner Brook
Downtown Corner Brook
St John the Evangelist Church
St John the Evangelist Church
Emporium for all things Corner Brook.
Emporium for all things Corner Brook.
Pingvillier outside Reykjavik, Iceland.
Pingvillier outside Reykjavik, Iceland.
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At this point it’s a 45 meter drop between the North American continent and the European continent
The tectonic rift.
The tectonic rift.
Walking along the rift trail.
Walking along the rift trail.

 

Our next port-of-call is Red Bay, Labrador.