Monday, 20 September 2010

Solitude with a Visitor

Solitærbukta means Solitude Bay and is definitely situated in a place where you can very well imagine being alone for a while. The pebble beach leads out in the wide Kempesfjord which itself is flanked by near-vertical walls of colorfully banded rocks, bearing names like "The Chief's Head" or "The Helmet". The names were given by the temporary inhabitants of the buildings that we find here - trappers first, now members of the Sirius Patrol and scientists, carrying out research on subjects like crustal movements. Behind the big and comfortable house there's even a runway. Well, at least it is a scaringly short stretch of flattened gravel with some empty barrels on either side. According to Bjarki the Twin Otter doesn't even need the full length of it. That's some flying…
Behind the mountains the sun is rising. Which means on the other hand that it is really, really cold in the valley, at least after a while of standing guard. But this seems more than necessary: The station shows clear traces of polar bear rampage. Huts are damaged, oil drums ripped, boards torn down. Here's a bear that knows where to find goodies. So we have the guides out to prevent some of us become goodies, too. But apparently today's landing is not meant to be disturbed, we all can enjoy the wonderful clean air and the gorgeous lookout points. In the meantime, Palle and Kasper carry out the most urgent repairs on the station.
In the afternoon we take an impressive cruise among big icebergs that are stuck in a so-called iceberg graveyard. Everybody is really gripped by this obstacle course among the gleaming white giants. But these prove to be tiny compared to the immense walls of Narwale Sound, our last narrow passage on the way out towards the open sea. Tomorrow it's Denmark Strait again. Brows furrow sceptically as the announcement promises better conditions than on the way up. Well, it cannot be as bad as a week ago, can it?