Life in Greenland

When we woke up this morning, we were at anchor off the picturesque little town of Nanortalik, and once again the day was clear and bright with nary a cloud in the sky.

We had our breakfast then went to collect a ticket for the liberty boat.  We were given ticket #15 but as they had only called #8 we had a bit of a wait.  So we went to the aft decks near the pool and sat in the sunshine, drinking in our surroundings while we waited our turn.

We disembarked about 10.00am and got the boat across, which took us into the heart of the town.

Nanortalik is Greenland’s southern-most town.  Located in an area with rugged mountain peaks and deep fjords, it is a paradise for mountain-climbers.  The name ‘Nanortalik’ translates as ‘the place where polar bears go’ referring to the polar bears that drift down with the pack ice from the east coast in spring.  Nanortalik only has 1,300 inhabitants and is visited by relatively-few tourists each year.

Like the other villages/towns we had visited, there were lots of colourfully-painted wooden buildings, some with fish hanging outside to dry.  There was also an attractive little wooden church, painted in cream with a red trim; it was closed this morning to visitors as a funeral was taking place.  The church was beautifully reflected in the calm water, with its small boats moored up.  A guy was trying to sell the Boudicca passengers tickets for a boat trip to go whale-watching, but we preferred to do our own thing.

First of all we decided to visit the small museum, which contained some Inuit boats and kayaks and contained tools and everyday household equipment traditionally used by Inuits.  For example, there was a press for extracting whale oil, as well as skinning knives and tanning tools for seal and fox skins.  There were also a couple of complete fox furs, with a series of diagrams on the wall showing the skinning and tanning process.  There were also looms and examples of woollen traditional clothing worn by fishermen and women.  In addition, there were many old photographs of Eskimo/Inuit families in their boats, tents and igloos.  It was all very interesting indeed.

Going down to the water’s edge, we were just in time to see the end of a kayak and boat display, the Inuit men wearing jackets and trousers made of sealskin, which would obviously be waterproof as well as warm.  We continued strolling around, enjoying the sunshine and marvelling at the fantastic weather we had had.

As it was our last stop in Greenland (boo-hoo) we decided to spend the last of our Danish kroner on – you’ve guessed it – a couple of cold beers.  We couldn’t see any bars or pubs anywhere, but we did see some people sitting at chairs and tables drinking beer; it transpired you could buy them in the supermarket and drink them outside.  🙂

Trevor went in and bought a couple of bottles of ‘Royal’ beer (by appointment to the Royal Danish Court, it said on the bottle) which were brewed in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.  The beer was nice and cold and we sat on a conveniently-situated wall and enjoyed them in the sunshine.  Some other people from the Boudicca came and sat alongside us, and their first question was “Did you see the Northern Lights last night?”  Everyone we’d met who had seen them was enthralled; we felt sorry for those who had missed them (a lot of people were already in bed) because they really, really missed something very special.

After another beer each we slowly made our way back to the tender port, where there was a long queue waiting.  One boat came in and was quickly filled, so we had to wait for the next one.  We were back on board the Boudicca by about 1.30pm, and we went off to get some lunch.  Trevor went to the rear decks to enjoy an fresco lunch of fish and chips, while I had some fresh salad with a selection of cold meats in the Heligan Restaurant.

At 2.30pm the Boudicca weighed anchor for the final time, and we slowly made our way out of Nanortalik and into the peace and tranquillity of the fjords.  We had been advised by the Captain that we continue the scenic fjord cruising until about 7.00pm, after which time we’d be in the North Atlantic ocean once again.

We felt quite sad to be leaving Greenland.  What a unique, fascinating and beautiful country it is.  It was a real privilege to come here; I feel blessed.  🙂

Then it was just our usual routine for the rest of the day; quiz at four o’clock (we didn’t win), dinner at 6.15pm (delicious as ever) as we watched the passing mountain scenery out of the restaurant window.

I forgot to mention, between the quiz and dinner Trevor and I went along to the see the senior host, Jonny Beck, to register to take part in the Boudicca Olympics.  🙂

The ‘Olympics’ consists of teams and individuals playing traditional shipboard games such as carpet bowls, deck quoits, shuffleboard, golf putting and darts.  There was also going to be a treasure hunt on the last sea day.  So we registered to participate, all in the name of good fun.  🙂

Anyway… after dinner we went, as usual, along to the Neptune Lounge where the comedian Simon Sands was performing again and was very good.  Then it was the 10.00pm quiz (we didn’t win again!) followed this time by the Boudicca Crew Cabaret.  Various members of the crew, from those in the engine room to those in the housekeeping department, got up on stage and sang for us, and some of them were so good you wondered at their choice of day job.

About 11.00pm we finished the evening by going up to the Lido Lounge where the Timeline Duo were performing.  The guitarist, Trevor, is actually pretty good and we asked him to do a couple of Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits numbers, so he did a very good rendition of Sultans of Swing as well as Walk of Life.  For once we actually quite enjoyed their show.  🙂

Then it was off to bed around midnight.  We had three full days of sea to look forward to, on our way to our final port of call, Belfast.

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