Today was pure magic and I can’t think of a better birthday gift for Calin.
It’s hard to find the words to describe the emotions we felt today, my eyes are watering just reminiscing the day.
Calin’s wakes me at 5am to take over the watch. Outside, the
sky is white. The fog is thick and the sea is eerily calm. Only the ripples of
the engine disturb the smoothness of the silky water. And occasionally the dorsal
fin of a passing whale. The perfect stillness is strikingly unnerving. About 60
miles out, 4 hours after Calin went down to rest, the fog lifts as the sun
burns through the cloud and gives the sky a warming soft color like a pastel aquarelle. And
on the horizon, there it is, appearing through the clouds, our first iceberg – a huge tabular mass. And beyond,
the skyline of snow peaked mountains of Greenland. With utter excitement, half shouting
half crying, I wake Calin up. “Get up get up, iceberg, Greenland!!” Spontaneously,
Calin gets up and joins me in the cockpit. Utterly stoked, we are both high fiving and jumping like excited children on a christmas morning, we have made it!!!
As we continue to motor, alternating between fog and blue skies, I go below and prepare an almighty birthday breakfast of bacon, eggs and fried potatoes (and secretly put together a surprise Tiramisu, Calin’s favorite).
About 35 miles before the entrance, the icebergs have multiplied and bergs bits have increased tremendously. We have slowed right down. Luckily the fog has completely lifted and we are gifted with warm sunshine, blue sky and no wind at all. We are mesmerized by the beauty of it, the blue ice, the various shapes of bergs, the intensity of the sea ice and how it moves so graciously with the ocean swell. We cautiously pave our way through but the sea ice gets denser and denser, pushed by the southerly current of east Greenland. We bounce off the small bits, being very careful not to hit the prowling growlers that hide most their mass under water. I’m on the bow trying to spot dangers before we hit them. But soon we are closed in. Sandwiched between a car size floe and a truck size berg, we have nowhere to reverse and nowhere to go forward. The adrenaline rises as the fear of being stuck in ice and crushed by the swell feels all too real. We have 35 miles to go, and if it is like this all the way, it’ll be a long, tedious and very dangerous passage. Calin handles the helm, calm as ever and prompts me the push the ice with our long pole (3.6m), that we custom built for that purpose. And so, with enduring perseverance, we successfully nudge our way through, not without scratching the paint and slightly bending the portside hull, adding even more character to our Seabelle. Further on, we come across more ice but this time we manage to stay on the outside, admiring the spectacular beauty of it from the safe distance. The floes dance in unison with the surge, displaying beautiful shades of blue and turquoise, and glittering as the sun melts their surface layer.
We enter Prins Christianssund at the southern tip of Greenland late afternoon, a good time as the sun sets its golden rays. The fjord is festered with icebergs of various sizes but they are scattered enough that they’re easy to dodge. Steep mountains rising straight from the sea tower 1200 to over 2000m above us, dwarfing any passing ship including us. Half way through, the fjord narrows like a bottle neck, offering a magical beauty that is hard to accurately describe. I have long stopped counting waterfalls and glaciers, some of the latter spilling straight into the sound and releasing bergs and brash ice . With a beer in our hand (a special birthday treat!), we settle on the foredeck and take a moment to just take it all in. We have made it to Greenland. The dream has become a reality, yet it feels too good to be true. The often gnarly passage was so smooth, the encounter with the sea ice completely out of this world, a spectacular landscape that brings a tear or two by its heavenly raw beauty, I have to pinch myself to ensure I am not still in the dream.
Unable to find a good place to anchor within the fjord and in dire need of a good night sleep (it is common around here to be woken up by drifting ice pushed in by the tide or the wind), we opt to motor well into the declining light and park at the dock in Appilattoq at the very end of the fjord.
Now, freshly showered, a birthday tiramisu in the belly and a glass of red wine in hand, I allow myself to enjoy this moment of profound well being and pure happiness. And I ponder if we have just experienced the best of this adventure. Surely it cannot get any better.