We didn't get to bed until about 2 AM after the midnight boat trip. We only got a few hours of sleep before we needed to be at the harbor by 6:45 AM for our full-day boat trip to Eqi Glacier. There were no hotel shuttles running at that hour of the morning. Therefore, our only options were to take a taxi or walk. We decided to be at the breakfast buffet when it opened at 6 and then make the 20-minute walk across the bridge to town.
We boarded the 25-passenger boat and found a seat on the top deck with the other passengers - none of whom were speaking English. As we departed, we saw a large cruise ship pulling into port. I wondered if this was the same cruise ship that had the tour company in Nuuk scrambling to work out logistics for the sudden flood of tourists.
Anyway, as our boat accelerated, it started to get a bit nippy. Just as Traci and I were talking about how miserable this trip would be if we had to spend the whole day in the cold breeze, we heard someone with a British accent say, "It's much warmer downstairs."
We turned around and saw our two friends from London. We followed them downstairs and inside the boat where we joined them at a table.
It was a 5-hour boat ride to Eqi Glacier. During that time, we talked, played games on the iPod, gazed out the window, or went on deck to photograph oddly-shaped icebergs. Occasionally, a tour guide would come downstairs to tell us a whale had been spotted. This normally sent all of us tourists scrambling to the deck with cameras in hand. The captain would try to get as close as he could and then cut the engine. Each time the whale had already swam far enough away where all we were able to see was a black speck in the water or a spray of water from the whale's blowhole.
iceberg with a hole
A few hours into the trip, the guide set up a small lunch buffet. This was quite an adventure for me. The buffet contained mainly seafood such as shrimp, halibut, and some other type of fish. All of the seafood had been cooked; however, it was served cold. Although the food was tasty, I just had a hard time eating cold fish. One of the other items initially caused me some hesitation. Our guide told us the plate of brown ovals was musk ox balls. Thinking they were musk ox testicles, I inquisitively replied, "Musk ox balls?"
She elaborated by saying it was minced musk ox meat shaped into balls and cooked. I was relieved to realize she was describing what I would call musk ox meatballs. It's funny how leaving out one ambiguous term can take on a different meaning. It was my first time eating musk ox. It tasted like a cross between beef and lamb. Like the fish, it too was served cold.
We had another one of the translation mix-ups later during our stay in Greenland when Traci bought a soda whose contents were yellowish-orange in color. Although the label appeared to have a picture of oranges, the text indicated Grape. Upon tasting it, we realized it was actually grapefruit. I guess the maker decided calling a fruit a grapefruit was ambiguous.
We finally reached Eqi Glacier and what a magnificent wall of ice it is. The captain drifted us to a safe distance and then cut off the engine. We all had our cameras out trying to capture the calving process when ice breaks away from the glacier and hits the water with a loud explosion that sounds like thunder. This became like a game. Sometimes we would hear this thunder but not see any calving. Sometimes we would just hear a loud ripping sound. Most of the time, by the time we'd heard the explosion, the ice had already hit the water. Traci was quite good at this game. She demonstrated how good she is at multi-tasking. She was sitting contently on the deck and playing Monopoly on her iPod. She would occasionally stand up, take out her camera, and snap a great picture of a large chunk of ice that seemed to fall only for her camera. Amazing!
As a result of all the calving that goes on, our boat was surrounded by small pieces of ice and a few icebergs. The small chunks of ice scattered throughout the water snapped, crackled, and popped like a bowl of Rice Krispies as thousands of years of oxygen were released. The air here was so crisp and clean that every breath seemed like a sweet, soothing massage for my lungs.
calving - BOOM!!
After two hours of sitting in front of the glacier, the captain sailed the boat to the other side of the fjord where he dropped off and picked up passengers staying at the Ice Camp Eqi cabins. The tour guides also take turns staying there for a few days at a time. One guide said it is a beautiful experience but she hates the fact that there are no showers. Some people stay there for as long as 10 days! Continue...