Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ringstead Beach - 12th August 2012

Another session with the boys. I paddled for about 45 minutes, they mucked around a lot longer. Allen sat for about an hour just being washed onto and off of the pebble beach by the small waves. Allen also did a capsize drill with the spraydeck. Gavin messed around sinking the Acrobat and playing about putting his head up inside an upturned boat breathing in the air trapped inside. Very scary for any onlookers!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 13th August 2012

Session with Macc Canoe Club, though I paddled off doing some sprints for about an hour (30 strokes sprint, 30 rest).

Portland Harbour - 11th August 2012

Session with the boys in Portland Harbour, launching by ferry bridge boatyard. Allen and Gavin took turns paddling with me, they were wearing a spraydeck for the first time and having a go at surfing the very confused waves. Both seemed to enjoy it, neither fell in!

I was on the water for over an hour, did a few rolls in the Inazone.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 15th August 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Hurdsfield Marina.
Out in 52:16, back in 56:49. Quite strong wind helping on the way out, hindering on way back.
Felt a bit faster though.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 8th August 2012

Back to "training" runs on the canal... but it looks as though I've not exactly gained any fitness after 12 consecutive days paddling in Greenland. out in 55:08, then toured back in just over the hour after it seemed to be too much like hard work paddling fast! Nice evening though, so not a chore.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 6th August 2012

Went to the monday session on the canal with the Macc Canoe Club, primarily to get my boat back from Rachael whom I had lent it to while I was in Greenland. Was planning to do a short paddle, but got roped into instructing instead for about an hour. Unfortunately my student capsized and got a bit cold and wet!... doesn't say much for my coaching skills. I hope it hasn't put her off.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Greenland - Sermilik to Tasiilaq - 24th-27th July 2012

We paddled the few kilometers back to Tiniteqilaq, and with the shop open, it would be a crime not to support the local community and buy some more beer...

Our return journey to Tasiilaq would involve retracing our route back to the Angmagssalik fjord - we had hoped to circumnavigate the Angmagssalik island, but the weather forecast wasn't brilliant, and the southern tip of the island is very exposed.

We wanted to get as far up the Lairig Ghru as possible, and we got about half way and made camp. On the way we had found a large amount of wood, so we would have a good fire that night (as we did pretty much every night!)

Sunset in the "Lairig Ghru"
We returned to the island at the entrance to the Lairig Ghru and had another chance to look at the remains of the earth shelters. Pushing on, we then stopped at the deserted community of Qernertivartivit. Not long abandoned, one of the houses has been left pretty much as the last occupiers would have lived in it.

We made camp in a lovely positioned inlet, at the top of which we had a good view over the Angmagssalik fjord to watch whales.

Qernertivartivit - "ghost town"
Our last day on the water saw us return to Tasiilaq, but not before having to wait out some strong winds for a few hours. I must admit this was a fairly pleasant experience - although windy, it was still sunny, but the wind kept the flies off!

Sermilik to Tasiilaq

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Greenland - Karale to Sermilik - 20th-23rd July 2012

We left Karale glacier very slowly - the air was totally still, and the water mirror calm. We didn't want to leave such an enchanting place.

Leaving Karale Glacier
Our route then took us back past the Bluie East 2 airbase and a camp at a fishing cabin.

An early start to catch the high tide to enable us to pass through a shallow channel saw us arrive at the village of Kungmuit where we could restock provisions (beer....) and freshen up.

Carrying on we camped on an island at the start of a long channel that separates Angmagssalik island from the mainland. Martin calls this channel the "Lairig Ghru" as it feels like the Cairngorms feature of that name - maybe not quite the same views, but more to do with the significance of how it cuts through a great land mass.

The "Lairig Ghru" took us a whole day to paddle, and we camped again just short of the village of Tiniteqilaq.

We got up the following day excited at the prospects of the day's paddle - we knew there would be a lot of ice in the Sermilik fjord, and we were not to be disappointed.

We stopped of in Tiniteqilaq for a look around and to view the ice in Sermilik. A local fisherman sold us some Arctic Char that we would have that night for supper.

Inspecting the ice in Sermilik from Tiniteqilaq
We ventured up the Sermilik fjord for a few kilometers, but it was not long before the ice became too thick to continue north, so we turned towards the land and camped. Due to the amount of ice in the vicinity, we thought it prudent to maintain a "bear watch" overnight, so we took shifts of an hour each to maintain a lookout over the camp for any unwanted visitors.

In Sermilik Fjord
Karale to Sermilik

Friday, 3 August 2012

Greenland - En Route to the Karale Glacier - 15th-19th July 2012

Our first camp was the old whaling settlement at Amitsivartik. We explored the remains of the settlement that included old earth buildings, children's play areas marked out with rocks and human burial cairns.

Above the settlement a hill gave us a great view of Angmagssalik fjord where we sat and watched whales.

Our route took us through various channels and around islands. Our initial plans of taking a more seaward route were thwarted by winds that kept us on the more sheltered side of the islands. We encountered numerous icebergs - some adrift in the channels, others aground in the shallower waters. Each one strangely mesmerizing with its hues of blue and eroded shapes.

On the forth night out we camped by the deserted US base, Bluie East 2. Abandoned quickly in the 50's, the evidence of a quick departure is all around - from the trucks through to more delicate intact 1950s coke bottles.

From the airbase we paddled into Sermiligaq fjord and as as we neared the top of the fjord the water gradually changed colour - from wonderful clear water to the milky green characteristic of glacial meltwater. We had a view of the Knud Rasmussen glacier but turned west towards the Karale glacier. A wonderful scene of glaciers and their calved icebergs greeted us - the main Karale glacier plus two other glaciers feeding into the same fjord.

In front of the Karale Glacier
We camped on the rocks and moraine on the south side of the Karale glacier and trekked onto the glacier itself.

Tasiilaq to Karale Glacier

Greenland - Outward Journey - 11th-14th July 2012

On the 11th July 2012, five members of the North West Sea Kayakers (Jim, Kirstine, Chris, Stephanie and myself) left Manchester to fly to Reykjavik to start a near three week trip that would take us to the east coast of Greenland.

We stayed in Reykjavik for two nights, camping at the city hostel, meeting the rest of the team on the last night - our Greenland guide, Martin Rickard from and Dave and Jules from Shetland.

We spent our time in Reykjavik sight-seeing and enjoying the thermal pool adjacent to the campsite. Reykjavik and Iceland seemed very pleasant and I'd like to return for a longer visit with the family.

Reykjavik from the cathedral tower
On the friday, after a short delay waiting for fog to lift in Greenland, we boarded out flight to Kulusuk and we were on our way. As we approached Greenland we could see sea ice and massive ice bergs followed by the dramatic fjords and mountains that make up the east coast of Greenland.

Our planned transfer to Tasiilaq via boat was somewhat delayed - Martin and Lars the boat owner had got their wires crossed over dates, so we nearly had to camp at the airport and wait an extra day! - but luckily Martin managed to track Lars down in Tasiilaq and he came out to pick us up.

Waiting for the boat transfer to Tasiilaq
The boat trip was pretty spectacular - our first close up view of ice bergs, plus a number of whale sightings.

The campsite in Tasiilaq is nicknamed "Vietnam" by Martin due to the campsite's proximity to the village helicopter pad and rubbish tip!

Tasiilaq campsite
We had a chance to explore the village and stock up on provisions for our trip. Apart from drinking water, we were essentially self sufficient with food for up to 12 days away from the Tasiilaq base.

Jim is a sponsored P&H paddler, so he was keen to be seen and paddle a P&H boat, so he had arranged a deal for Martin to buy and ship out a P&H Scorpio for him to paddle. Only problem was that because of our late arrival on friday we missed the chance to get the boat out of the harbour warehouse and we could have had to wait till monday to get it. Luckily, Martin pulled a few strings and the harbour master managed to get us into the warehouse saturday morning to collect it. Inside the boat just happened to be two weeks supply of Clif bars for all of us, plus a wine box! - so it would have been a shame to leave on the trip without it.

The Harbour Master's kids try the Scorpio out
We completed our packing of the boats late saturday afternoon, and we decided to head off that evening on our journey.

Under way at last!