Saturday, 2 July 2011

Kaffeemik and Soccer and the Circle

We arrived in Itilleq at 13:00 which meant our morning was free for briefings about the day's activities and an important briefing on how disembarkation day, tomorrow, would happen.  
As we approached Itilleq a heavy sea-fog set in, marring our near perfect record for sunshine every day.  With the mist it felt more remote.  Somehow it felt a little more like Greenland.  It felt more like what we imagined it might be like in the Arctic.
The Arctic.  Itilleq is in the Arctic by about 200 metres.  The Arctic Circle passes two hundred metres south of the village's edge.  You could walk to the imaginary line from the village except the Circle passes through a small adjacent island.  You could swim there but the water is 5.50˚C.  But for all intents and purposes we spent the afternoon right on the Arctic Circle!  Now that is extremely cool!
After we dropped anchor, we had a short boat ride to the pier where we were given colour coded tickets to a kaffeemik.  We were all invited into the local people's homes for tea, coffee and cakes. The tickets insured we arrived to the correct house.  
At 13:00 we started the traditional soccer match of Fram vs Itilleq.  We had an excellent start by scoring the first goal but by the end of the 1st half we were behind 5-2.  From there it went steadily downhill.  The final result was Itilleq 10, Fram 3.  Despite the lop-sided score everyone had fun.  I think there were well over thirty players on the small gravel pitch at once!  There was over 200 hundred people cheering for both teams on the sidelines.  
During the second half Rasmus Lyberth entertained everyone right beside the soccer field which of course drew an even bigger crowd.  It was a really fun festive atmosphere.
By 16:30 everyone was back on the ship and at 16:45 we heaved the anchor and turned our bow to the south. At 17:30 we all gathered in the Observation Lounge for the Captain's farewell speech.  Much of the ship's complement was gathered from every department.  After a toast by the Captain; the crew, officers and the Expedition Team joined together to sing some farewell songs.  It was a nice way to wrap up the voyage but the voyage isn't over. Our next stop is Kangerlussuaq.  Then the Circle will be complete.