Lead researcher Mette Frost, a Greenland policy officer for WWF-Denmark penned this blog post from Sunday, July 28, updating us on the first week of the two weeks the team will be spending in Greenland. She explained the harrowing journey navigating through the ‘car-sized’ icebergs. Read to find out the safety tactics they implemented on board the ship to ensure the crew’s safety out on the icy waters.
Rolling, rolling, rolling…
I woke up at 1.30 a.m. as Grant turned on the engine of the boat. The wind had picked up and our anchor was dragging on the floor of the inlet we were in. So the decision was made to prepare the boat and get a very early start.
The first hour was rather calm as we sailed between the main land and the island of Qutdlikorssuit, sheltered from the wind of the Baffin Bay. Sailing into Ussing Isfjord we were slowed down trying to navigate between ice bergs and floating pieces of ice the size of a family car. Sailing in these waters we are always two on the watch to see that we stay clear of the ice.
At 3 a.m. we hit the open waters and the Arctic Tern just started rolling – not a steady roll from one side to another, but rolling both from port to stearboard, and from bows to sterns and back. I got all my warm clothes on and decided at I better spend the morning outside with the crew, looking at the horizon than in my bunk bed.
It took us 18 hours to get up Kullorsuaq, where we found an anchorage sheltered from the wind on the south side of the island of Sarqardlerssuaq. Everyone onboard was tired and hungry, but over a chicken curry and a glass of wine we all felt a bit better. Our captain introduced anchor and ice watches over the night and everyone called it an early night and went into their sleeping bags, hoping that the weather would clear for tomorrow.
WWF Denmark Last Ice Area lead
Follow the team on this interactive map:
Meet the researchers on the Last Ice Area exploration