Icebergs, Whales and Glaciers

After a good night’s sleep, lulled gently by the motion of the Boudicca in the clear fjord, we awoke early and looked out of our portholes. We couldn’t see a thing; thick sea fog made it impossible.  As we were due to spend the day ‘scenic cruising’ through the Prins Christian Sund we hoped the fog would dissipate and let us actually see some scenery!  🙂

We couldn’t believe it was a week ago since we’d left home; it all seems so long ago now but it meant we’d reached the mid-point of the cruise.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while looking out at the non-view beyond the ship’s windows.  The sea was very calm indeed and, when we went out on deck, it was rather chilly.  We pottered around the Boudicca and passed the time pleasantly in the company of our fellow passengers.  Most of the people we spoke to are, like us, extremely well-travelled and have been to some unusual and remote places.  We did an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica in 2006 and it was not surprising to meet other people who had also been to Antarctica, and therefore all seven continents.  Consequently, any conversations were very interesting as well all swapped tales of our various experiences around the world.

At 11.00am we went along to the Lido Lounge to do the quiz and enjoy our first tipple of the day.  There was only two of us in our team, the “Mega Mackems” and we didn’t do all that well.  So what’s new?  🙂

The end of the quiz took us to just before lunchtime, and there was still dense fog outside although the sun was valiantly trying to get through.  We went out onto the rear decks and watched the Boudicca gliding gently through the calm waters.  As we did so, we suddenly left behind the bank of fog to clear skies and perfect visibility.  As Johnny Nash sang, “I can see clearly now…”.   🙂

It was amazing.  Looking behind us, we could see the bank of fog, but here were in beautiful clear weather, sailing along gently with the mountains on either side of us, frequently passing icebergs on our way.  We were glad the fog had cleared, because the Captain Degerlund had promised us some spectacular views of a couple of massive glaciers later on.

We went to lunch in the Heligan restaurant, choosing a window seat so we could watch the gorgeous passing view outside.  Then afterwards we went back to cabin #4125 to get our cameras (and an extra jacket, as it was still cold) before going back up, to the topmost decks on Deck 9 or 10.

As we sailed along, we spotted another whale spout once again, and hoped it would come to the surface and let us see more.  However, he/she kept tantalisingly out of the way, just letting us know he was there by spouting off occasionally.  “Thar she blows!”.

As the time approached 1.00pm, we made our way to the bow of the ship, which was already crowded with bird- and whale-watchers and even, I suppose you could say, iceberg-watchers.  The water was crystal clear and calm, and everything was reflected beautifully on the mirror-like surface.

Eventually the Boudicca slowed almost to a crawl, and we saw the most amazing double glacier cascading down the mountain.  When I say ‘double glacier’, I mean that there was one flow of ice which was then split in two by a projection of rock from the mountain, so it was forced to flow down either side.  The whiteness of the ice and the greyness of the rock were reflected perfectly in the blue of the water.  It was, simply, breathtaking.  I know I’ve used that particular adjective several times before in this blog, but I don’t think there are enough adjectives to describe the sheer beauty of what we were seeing.  Wow, wow and wow!  🙂

The Boudicca kept turning slowly around and around on her own length, to ensure that everyone on board had the best possible views and photo opportunities to capture the glacier.  We then continued on our way, because further on there was another glacier.

As we continued, we saw lots of field ice, bergs and growlers.  One of the smaller pieces of ice had a seal basking on it, the first we’d seen.  He was close enough to spot, but not close enough to get a decent photo.

After getting our absolute fill of icebergs and glaciers we returned to the warmth of our cabin and rested for a while, before going up to the Lido Lounge for the 4.00pm quiz.  I needn’t tell you the outcome.  😦

While we were there, a gentleman came up to me and asked if we would be attending the late night show and the nostalgia quiz, and if I would bring my little polar bear with me.  Whenever we go to northern climes I bring my little soft polar bear, called Spitz (after Spitsbergen) with me.  I was mystified as to the purpose of his request, but apparently he’d brought a soft-toy bear with him, and wanted to photograph them together.  🙂

Then we got ready for the usual delicious meal in the Tintagel Restaurant.  I tried not to eat too much but it really is difficult when everything is so appetising.  I think it will be diet time when I get home!

The show tonight in the Neptune Lounge featured the Boudicca Show Company’s tribute to the music of the 1960s and 70s.  It was a high-energy, all singing and all dancing show and was very enjoyable.  Afterwards we stayed for the evening quiz (gluttons for punishment, or what!) and called ourselves “Cruising, Boozing and Losing”.  We were joined just by Steve this time, but three heads are better than two.

This was a quiz like no other.  They say that the best humour is often that which is unintentional, and this was the case with the quiz-master, who asked question #11 thus:  “Where in America would you find the gold suppository?”  Everyone in the audience laughed, and the quiz-master, puzzled, said “I will repeat the question.  Where in America would you find the gold suppository?”  Everyone fell about, splitting their sides.  “What?” asked the quiz-master, completely baffled.  At this point someone beckoned him over and whispered in his ear what the word “suppository” actually meant.  The result was that he staggered back to the stage, absolutely killing himself laughing, and had to clutch a nearby pillar for support, while the audience were laughing uncontrollably.  Even one of the dancers came out from backstage to see what all the noise was about.  We told him the word he was looking for was “depository” but it took a while before the quiz continued, and I don’t think he’ll live it down.  🙂

Anyway… fanfare of trumpets… WE WON!  We scored 13/15 and it went to a tie-breaker with three other teams.  Two teams (including ours) had the correct answer, so we had to have a tie-breaker for the tie-breaker!  Still, our answer was the nearest so we won ourselves a free bottle of Fred Olsen fizz, which we will keep to share out to the rest of the team tomorrow.  To the victor the spoils.  🙂

After our hilarious quiz we went along to the Lido Lounge, first of all stopping by our cabin to collect Spitz, the polar bear.  When we got there, the comedian Simon Sands and the pianist Colin James were doing a sort of unrehearsed “nostalgia requests” singalong.  Meanwhile, the gentleman who asked me to bring the polar bear went back to his cabin to get his bear.  His is a teddy-bear that was wearing the outfit of the Green Berets, complete with blazer, medals and little poppy.  The gentleman is an active volunteer with the ex-servicemen’s charity “Veterans in the Community”, and they dress and sell the teddy-bears to raise funds for the charity.  There is a page on the website dedicated to “Ted and Friends” and, because we were in Greenland, the bloke thought it would be appropriate for Ted to be photographed with a polar bear!  So he brought a white napkin to be the “snow” and took photos of Ted and Spitz at various angles, while I did the same.  He said he was going to upload the photos to his website, and I will do the same with my website.  Strange to think my little polar bear, that I have had for about 10 years, will feature on a web site about war veterans!  🙂

We ended a very full day and evening by doing the late-night Nostalgia quiz, but since a lot of the questions were designed for people who remember the 40s/50s/60s, I didn’t know a lot of the answers, as I was only born in the 1960s.  So we only scored 23/40, compared to the winners who got an impressive 37/40.

Then it was off to bed at nearly 1.00am.  Tomorrow we were due to drop anchor at Narsarsuaq, and we hoped it would be another memorable day.

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