Sunday, August 23, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 30 – Qaqortoq,Greenland

Up at 6 to shower and ascend to the Nest for our approach to Qaqortog. As with all other Greenlandic approaches, the shore is dark and foreboding. However, as we approach the town we are greeted with a colorful mix of architecturally interesting homes and buildings. They are not displayed to best advantage in the early morning sunlight, but they appear very pleasing nonetheless. Keith will attempt to take more photographs later in the day, providing it stays partly sunny.

Qaqortog Harbor and Approach


Early Morning Approach to Qaqortog

Early breakfast was danish; late breakfast was a mix of nuts, raisins, and oatmeal in yogurt.

Qaqortoq is a tender port, so after breakfast we stopped by the oceans bar for tickets, and were ashore by 9:30. Fortunately we don't need to walk very far to reach the retail therapy zone, which keeps Kathy happy.


Tenders Transport Us to Ashore in Qaqortog


Qaqortog Retail Therapy Zone


Qaqortog Retail Therapist


Keith Types this Blog In the PDA While Kathy Shops

Kathy went into the souvenir/tourist Center and contributed to the local economy. During our trip we have dealt with a variety of different currencies . In many of the small villages we have visited your need the local currency. Kathy thought she had done a pretty good job of keeping track of each type of currency, when she tried to use Icelandic money instead of Greenland.

Thank goodness they took Visa.

Since it was Sunday all other shops were closed. There were 5 or 6 shore activities available such as kayak racing, folk dancing and the Qaqortoq Choral Society but we did not choose to attend.

This is a really pretty little town. Like every town in Greenland, there are no roads in or out. Transportation is mostly by ferry. There are paved streets in town.


A Pretty Little Town


Qaqortog Fishing Fleet

One thing that sets this village apart is the Rock art, which is everywhere in Qaqortoq. Some of which is very well done. A few examples are provided below.


Fishy Qaqortog Rock Art


Faces in the Rock


Dodge Ram Hood Ornament Immortalized in the Qaqortog Rock


Granite Critter

Our vessel is anchored quite close in, and also quite close alongside a sizeable chunk of ice. I am assuming we have the ice pilot's permission to be this close. Just on the other side iof the berg is the Tahitian Princess, which has been shadowing us several says.


Maasdam Shares the Qaqortog Harbor

10:40am, back aboard, Kathy $80 poorer. Up on the Lido deck to relax over a cuppa, while watching the tenders shuttle back and forth.


Smiling Attendants Welcome Us Back Aboard the Maasdam

Overcast is spreading up from the southeast. I believe we are way too far away for these clouds to be from hurricane Bill. I believe it to be typical local weather. Must rush topsides to get a few sunny day pix.


Front Desk Poster Projecting the Track of Hurricane Bill

1:00pm and lunch is history. Nothing memorable. Kathy is puzzling while Keith is journaling. The geologist is lecturing at 2; Keith wants to stay awake to hear him. In the meantime the weather has definitely turned cloudy, but no appreciable wind. We are wondering what tonight and tomorrow will bring, weather wise.

3:30pm and we just finished with a lecture about Greenland ice sheets, given by the geology guy. He is very interesting and knowledgeable, although it was clear that he was not quite as comfortable with ice as with the core geology stuff.


Professor Smith Lectures About Ice and Geology


Professor Smith’s Slide of Greenland

We are Anchored in the “Banana Belt”,

The “Warm” Red Zone On the Southwest Tip of Greenland

Keith cornered Prof. Smith after his talk to ask a question that has been puzzling Keith for over 30 years. The question is, do we know what causes hot spots, and the convective circulation, which in turn causes continental drift? The answer, in a word, is no.

Current speculation involves inhomogeneous distribution of the suspected heat source, radioactive uranium, in the earth's interior. I did not have time to ask the follow-on question, which is what would cause such inhomogeneous distribution. I don’t think anyone knows.

Since the earth is thought to have formed by accretion of space junk, I suppose there is no reason to think that the elemental distribution would be anything other than inhomogeneous. I guess I just never really thought it through. I hope I live long enough for a definitive answer to be developed.

4pm in the Crow's Nest waiting for Kathy, and for sail away. The weather has reverted to the standard North Atlantic overcast. We were just incredibly lucky to have had sunshine all day yesterday for our transit of the Prince Christian Sound.

6:45pm in the cabin. Wind on the port beam blowing a steady 45 knots. A rough wind driven sea running, but no swells (yet), so the ride is smooth (recall we have stabilizers).

Tonight there is a special dessert buffet at 10:30. Kathy thinks she wants to go. I told her I will join her if she can stay awake that late, and if she can wake me.

Stay tuned for the outcome of this exciting episode.

9pm and the wind is up to 55 knots. We are beginning to pitch about a bit. Kathy is not saying anything about going out...

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