A Flight Over the Icecap
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 6. June 8th, 2016.
After a night of chatting and wifi, I woke up pretty late and scrambled to dry my still damp laundry before shoving it into my pack. I popped the last of my frozen pizzas in the oven to get them cooked before the ferry ride to Kulusuk.
The pizzas finished just it time; I slid them right back into the boxes they came in and took them with me to the ferry.
Our ride to Kulusuk was relatively uneventful; save for the massive icebergs we passed on the way. The trip was pretty rocky; being at open sea was starting to take its toll on me. I was on the verge of getting seasick, but, thankfully, the ride only took about forty minutes.
Once there, I scuttled over seaweed covered rocks at the harbour, that just days ago when I had arrived in Greenland was clogged with icebergs, with all of my gear and walked it up a short way to the local Pilersuisoq. I asked them if it would be alright if I stored it there as well as book a ride to the airport for later in the afternoon.
At 300 Krone for the ride it was practically highway robbery, yet again, I had no choice with all the gear I was carrying and there were no other rides available in Kulusuk.
I spent the afternoon peacefully wandering around Kulusuk Island. A foreign tour group had just flown in from Reykjavik for an expensive day tour. They were also wandering around the little town and their Icelandic guide invited me to join them. They were curious as to how this random foreigner just happened to be on this little island off the east Greenlandic coast. I spent about an hour following them around, and then wandered off to do my own thing.
I headed into the hills surrounding the settlement and napped on rocks, enjoying a spectacular view over both Kukusuk as well as the sea. Every hour or so an Air Greenland helicopter from Tasiilaq would buzz overhead, shuttling passengers between the town and the airport.
I had a picnic lunch that consisted of most of my remaining Pilersuisoq snacks on the rocks and then walked down back into the settlement to grab my gear and shuttle over to the airport.
Tons of sled dogs lined the pathways; one dog couple had newborn puppies and they were carefully carrying them in their mouths to prevent them from falling down the embankment onto the pathway below.
I watched them for about ten minutes until I spotted our plane, a bright red Air Greenland Dash 8, making a turn over the settlement and head over to the airport.
That was my cue to head over to the airport as well, so I walked back to the Pilersuisoq to find our bags already packed into the car. “There you are” the store manager said upon seeing me; “ready to go?”
With that, I hopped into the pickup truck and we drove the ten or so minutes to Kulusuk’s little airport. I was the last to arrive, even though I was still pretty early according to the scheduled departure time. After shifting my camera and drone batteries batteries into my carry-ons, check-in was simple.
I did not even need to present my passport, the airport staff already assumed I was the one person to yet check-in to the flight. There was no security check at Kulusuk Airport, so I just weighed my packs and then staff called everyone to board the aircraft five minutes later.
I walked straight onto the plane. Seating was not assigned, so it was first come first serve, and before long we were on our way to Nuuk, about thirty minutes earlier than our scheduled departure time.
The flight took us directly over the ice cap, a bright, glowing white as far as the eye can see. After an hour and a half, we were in Nuuk-- Greenland’s capital of about 17,000 people.
I had no plan nor any real idea of where to go, so I ended up taking a taxi from the airport around town until we found somewhere acceptable to sleep—an amazing little hostel called Vandrehuset. I practically had the place to myself, and with full WiFi, beds, showers and a kitchen, I was thrilled. The owner is from Denmark, but has been living in Nuuk for thirty years—he had also recently been in Revelstoke for a snowmobiling trip, so we got along great from the beginning.
I settled into the hostel, walked downtown (a few minutes away) to pick up some groceries, and spent the evening in, cooking and getting work done now that I had unlimited Internet access. This is a rare treat for Greenland, since all internet is provided via the mobile communications companies or satellite, as there are no underwater cables to Greenland.
Welcome to West Greenland.