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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Greenland: Iceberg Kayaking with Midnight Sunlight

This is the third in a series of articles on our trip to Greenland.  Click these links to see the first, with aerial photos of icebergs, and the second, all about puppies and village life.  My next article will take you close up on a whale watching tour

We love kayaking, and Greenland is a great place for it, especially if you can go at midnight.  The only caveat is that the water is not much above freezing, which is cold enough to kill in about a half hour. To be safe, everyone has to wear dry suits.  As you can probably guess, they're called dry suits because, unlike wet suits, they keep you dry when you're in the water.  The guides told us they cost somewhere around $1500 each.  Here are a few members of the group sporting spiffy blue dry suits.

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Putting on a dry suit is quite an experience.  All the openings are strong latex tubes you have to force feet, hands, and head through.  The feet were the easiest.  Pushing my hand through this extremely tight tube of stretchy rubber was a bit of a struggle.  But the worst part is getting it over your head.  You have to pull the tight latex neck down over your face, so your whole face is briefly smashed flat.  Once it gets onto your neck, it's feels like it's strangling you, but you quickly get accustomed to it.

The trip was billed as a midnight kayaking trip.  Of course, since it was July in western Greenland, it would not get dark.  Instead, the sun would dip low on the horizon, then begin to rise again.

Greenland kayaking adventure travel sunset photography Ilulissat icebergs Disko Bay water cold ice group paddle Denmark

This huge iceberg, towering about 35 feet above the water, was just a short distance offshore.  It had been in the bay since we arrived.


Earlier that day, it had started to crumble, so it was smaller than it had been.  It was fun to get to see it close up and kayak all the way around it.  Of course, we were hoping no really large pieces would break off while we were close.  Sometimes whole icebergs can roll over, or a piece can break off underwater and shoot up to the surface.  Either of those events could do bad things to kayakers, so we didn't get as close as I was tempted to get!

Greenland kayaking adventure travel sunset photography Ilulissat icebergs Disko Bay water cold ice group paddle Denmark

Here's Jennifer, in front of me in the tandem kayak, keeping warm with her fuzzy red hat.  The guides chose this spot for us all to take a break, just beyond the big iceberg above.

Greenland kayaking adventure travel sunset photography Ilulissat icebergs Disko Bay water cold ice group paddle Denmark

While we rested, out guides surprised us by pulling out a bottle of whisky. We all got our own little reusable plastic cups to have a sip of either that or hot tea.  We had the whisky.  Warmed us up nicely, though the air temperature wasn't bad at all - I think it was in the forties F, with no rain or wind.  They said the people a few days before had windy, rainy weather.  So, we got really lucky!

It was getting late, and the sun was really, really trying to set, but this was about as low as it could go.

Greenland kayaking adventure travel sunset photography Ilulissat icebergs Disko Bay water cold ice group paddle Denmark

Looking north across Disko Bay to Disko Island, with the sun so low in the sky, the air was suffused with an amazing orange glow.

Greenland kayaking adventure travel sunset photography Ilulissat icebergs Disko Bay water cold ice group paddle Denmark

It was so spectacular out there, I didn't want it to be over.  I kept rowing out to get more photos while the others worked on hauling their kayaks up onto land one by one.  Finally, we couldn't delay it any longer.  We were the last boat out of the water.


One more.



Thanks for coming by to take a look!  Still more to come on Greenland.  Glacier calving at Eqi Glacier and Eqi Ice Camp is coming up.  Then, spectacular view of much bigger and better icebergs for the finale.  Those are my favorites, so I'm saving them for last.





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