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.

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Saturday, July 21, 2018

There are two main reasons cruise ships dock in Sydney:  The Fortress of Louisbourg with its restored “village” and re-enactors; and the charming village of Baddeck where Alexander Graham Bell spent the last 32 years of his life.  Both attractions are about 45 minutes to an hour away.  Ships tours are available in the morning to either and each takes about 4-5 hours.  The cost runs $60.00 to $95.00/pp.  We chose to skip that and simply walked through town viewing the charming buildings and stopping for lunch before returning to the ship along the Esplanade.

The MS Rotterdam docked in Sydney, Nova Scotia on a very wet day.
The MS Rotterdam docked in Sydney, Nova Scotia on a very wet day.
But we braved the elements and persevered.
But we braved the elements and persevered.
The Jean Harris Cruise Terminal;  and Flavor on the Water Restauant.
The Jean Harris Cruise Terminal; and Flavor on the Water Restauant.
Lobster pots on display.
Lobster pots on display.
The Sydney Fiddle
The Sydney Fiddle
To Floridians, this is a scary sign!
To Floridians, this is a scary sign!
Sydney Fiddle outside the terminal.
Sydney Fiddle outside the terminal.
Shopping the market at Jean Harris Cruise Terminal.
Shopping the market at Jean Harris Cruise Terminal.
It's an easy walk into town.
It’s an easy walk into town.
But Taxis are readily available, if desired.
But Taxis are readily available, if desired.
Sydney street view with charming houses.
Sydney street view with charming houses.
This is a stately home next door to the Anglican Church.
This is a stately home next door to the Anglican Church.
The Jost House is the oldest house in Sydney.
The Jost House is the oldest house in Sydney.
The Anglican Church of St. George
The Anglican Church of St. George
Downtown Sydney
Downtown Sydney
The old Montreal Bank Building
The old Montreal Bank Building
Lunch at the El Jefe Mexican Restaurant
Lunch at the El Jefe Mexican Restaurant
El Jefe Restaurant has a patio atmosphere.
El Jefe Restaurant has a patio atmosphere.
Chorizo Quesidilla at the El Jefe Mexican Restaurant--quite good!
Chorizo Quesidilla at the El Jefe Mexican Restaurant–quite good!
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So, OK, we know the Canadian folks may not like us so much anymore. But I’ll confess, I found this sign to be quite funny!
Once again, enjoying the end of day libation.
Once again, enjoying the end of day libation.
The Governor's Pub & Eatery along the Esplanade.
The Governor’s Pub & Eatery along the Esplanade.
Walking along the Esplanade.
Walking along the Esplanade.
Making our way back to the ship.
Making our way back to the ship.

 

Nothing about Sydney mentions Marconi Towers or Guglielmo Marconi who built those towers to transmit his wireless messages across the Atlantic.  It’s pretty far away and we didn’t want to hire a cab or spend the time to see the Marconi National Historic Site, this time.  However, when we’re in St. Johns, Newfoundland later in this cruise, we’ll be near Marconi’s Towers on Signal Hill where he first received trans-Atlantic signals from Europe.

For now, we are on our way to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada

Bar Harbor, Maine

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island in Frenchman Bay.  This is the “Down East” area of Maine.  It is also home to Acadia National Park including Cadillac Mountain, the highest point within 25 miles of the coastline of the Eastern United States.

This is an easily walkable city.  The cruise ships anchor in Frenchman Bay and tender passengers to the Town Pier.  From the pier, it’s only a short walk to Main Street and shopping; or the Shore Path with beautiful views of the bay, Porcupine Island and the fabulous “cottages” of the wealthy; or to the museums, tour companies and, most importantly, restaurants.

The history of Bar Harbor is rich and varied.  The Native Americans lived here long before it was discovered by the French mapmaker, Samuel de Champlain in 1604. By the mid-1800s, the artists of the Hudson River School were painting landscapes of the area and selling them to wealthy and influential men and women in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.  The popularity of these paintings that depicted the mountains and the sea lured many to come and stay for the summer.  Eventually, the wealthy built “cottages” (most designed by architect William Ralph Emerson) in the classic shingle style.  Because these folks were rich and powerful, they contributed much to the area.  George B. Dorr was a tireless spokesman for conservation and devoted 43 years of his life, energy and family fortune to preserving the Acadian landscape.  With others, Dorr established the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in 1901.  The sole purpose was to preserve land for the perpetual use of the public.  By 1913, Dorr was able to offer 6,000 acres of land to the federal government.  And in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act establishing Lafayette National Park (the first national park east of the Mississippi.)  The name changed to Acadia National Park in 1929.  John D. Rockefeller built and donated the roads.  Today, the park encompasses 47,000 acres and includes sea, forests, lakes, and mountains.  It is beautiful!

We had a lovely day in Bar Harbor.  We began with a short walk through town, had lunch at Paddy’s Irish Pub, and took a 2 ½ hour tour to Acadia National Park on Oli’s Trolley.  (We ordered the tickets on-line for 42.40/pp.)

We have lots of photos to show you!

Anchored in Frenchman Bay in Bar Hatbor, Maine
Anchored in Frenchman Bay in Bar Hatbor, Maine
Tenders are ready to take us ashore.
Tenders are ready to take us ashore.
Loading and transport to the tender pier takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
Loading and transport to the tender pier takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
The tender pier in Bar Harbor.
The tender pier in Bar Harbor.
Some of the "cottages" in Bar Harbor.
Some of the “cottages” in Bar Harbor.
They are all lovely homes.
They are all lovely homes.
Porcupine Islnd and Dry Ledge
Porcupine Island and Dry Ledge
Looking up Main Street in Bar Harbor.
Looking up Main Street in Bar Harbor.
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The Bar Harbor Club is a private club established by J.P. Morgan in 1930. He would host elaborate parties here for all his friends enjoying the summer season in Bar Harbor. Fred Astair’s movie, Puttin’ on the Ritz, was filmed here.
Lining up for Ollie's Trolley.
Lining up for Oli’s Trolley.
Jordan Pond and "The Bubbles" across the way.
Jordan Pond and “The Bubbles” across the way.
Eagle Lake in Acadia national Park
Eagle Lake in Acadia national Park
View of the MS Rotterdam and Bar Harbor from atop Cadillac Mountain.
View of the MS Rotterdam and Bar Harbor from atop Cadillac Mountain.
Bar Harbor North from Cadillac Mountain.
Bar Harbor North from Cadillac Mountain.
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John D. Rockefeller built and donated the roads in Acadia National Park. He used granite guard rails to blend the roadway with nature.
Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park
Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park
We are in Puffin country!
We are in Puffin country!
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Paddy’s Irish Pub, right across from the Tender Pier! Thinking of you, “The Daves!”
Enjoying the local brew!
Enjoying the local brew!
Returning to the Bar Harbor Town Pier to catch the tender back to the ship.
Returning to the Bar Harbor Town Pier to catch the tender back to the ship.
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Our final view is of the Bar Harbor Inn along the Shore Path Rd. There were many inns and homes like this all over Bar Harbor until the great fire of 1947 destroyed most of the area.

 

Now on our way to Sydney, Nova Scotia.