To the Ice Machine
The following post contains excerpts from my travel journal, replete with stories and photographs, from my time spent throughout the settlements of East Greenland in June of 2016.
Day 3. June 5th, 2016.
I woke up the next morning just before nine and began to casually gather my gear and supplies, clean up the cabin and prepare a quick lunch, all while listening to some Mumford and Sons from my laptop.
The last chore I had to do before leaving was switch out the plastic bag from the toilet.
Since there is no plumbing in the settlements, the toilets each have these large, black plastic bags that you tie off and place on the side of the pathway for collection. Yes, big shit bags. And the way you "flush" the toilet up here is by stepping on a pedal, which slides the bag down and clamps clamps back together, forcing your business to the bottom of the bag.
Changing the bag out sounds simple enough, and while it's not exactly a pleasant chore, it's not the worst thing either.
Unfortunately for me, my plastic shit and piss bag had somehow sprung a leak, which I realized only after lifting it out of the toilet. Attempting to dodge the outpour of brackish urine gushing from a hole in the bottom of the bag, I launched it out the doorway and onto the porch. I wish I could say I stayed clean, but, I did not. My clothes stayed clean though, but my hands definitely got "wet." And I know that liquid certainly was not water.
Feeling a thoroughly disgusted, and still mentally and physically recovering from the parasite incident in Russia, I was not about to take any more risks.
I tied off the bag as quickly as I could, rushed back into the house and proceeded to wash my hands as if I were a surgeon preparing to enter an operating room. Once finished, I repeated the process again and then once finished for the second time, I applied a satisfying amount of hand sanitizer across my fingers and hands. While not fully mentally ready to accept what had happened, I was at least physically okay with it.
Let’s move on.
Lars had already arrived and motioned for me to join him down at the harbour.
We took a speedboat from Kuummuit to a tiny settlement called Tiniteqilaaq (Tinit for short), located about an hour and a half away. On the walk down to the harbour, a bunch of the children from the past two days waved goodbye. The ride to Tinit went by quickly, as we sped past deep azure icebergs on our way up into the fjords.
Tinit is a small settlement, smaller than Kuummuit, and it somewhat feels abandoned, as many of the homes once occupied now sit empty, with their windows boarded up.
However, Tinit is located in one of the most dramatically beautiful places in the world, just alongside a massive ice fjord, replete with massive icebergs that have broken off from the glacier just above us. Many of the icebergs we’ve been seeing out at sea originated from here, and it shows.
The fjord is remarkably impressive and I spent hours today watching it—listening to the rumbling sounds of cracks and breaks, as massive chunks of ice slide off icebergs and form smaller icebergs, splashing down into the sea below.
I have no concrete "plan" here in Tinit and am not getting picked up for another two days, so I decided to spend the afternoon wandering around town.
I met an old man who agreed, I think, to take us seal hunting by boat up the ice fjord tomorrow morning and I’m really hoping that pans out. I have no intention on killing a seal, but I understand for the settlement's residents it's either the local catch or overpriced frozen pizzas for dinner, so I don't have a problem with it.
Much like other settlements, there is a very popular trampoline in the middle of town, and many of the little kids love hanging out there, taking turns jumping three at a time.
I showed them the drone as it flew over the icebergs, revealing hidden turquoise lakes on the tops of the largest icebergs, formed as water melts into natural crevices, creating these exquisite pools only visible from above.
I took a short hike up to the top of the settlement, which provided an excellent birds’ eye view over the ice fjord and gave me a little bit of time to reflect alone, surrounded by silence, which was a nice feeling.
Since today is Sunday and Tinit is tiny, the local Pilersuisoq is closed until tomorrow morning and the shower house is also closed until 8am tomorrow.
I’ll have to dig into my supply of cashews and protein bars for tonight’s dinner, since I ran out of the smoked minke whale (which tastes like beef and fish had a love child and then that love child was salted and put in a smoker for a while; I’m not going to lie, it was pretty good) and grilled trout Lars gave me earlier. Peace out until tomorrow’s adventure!