Saturday, 10 July 2010

Hummocks, Bummocks and Bergy Bits

In the Arctic, icebergs originate mainly in the glaciers of the Greenland ice cap which contains approximately 90% of the total land ice of the Northern hemisphere.

Due to the prevailing currents, many drift down the east coast around Cape Farewell, which is the Southerly-most tip of Greenland and then head North up the Davis Strait, which is the other side from Iceland.

A much larger crop of icebergs come from glaciers in Baffin Bay - it has been estimated that more than 40,000 icebergs are present there at any one time.

There are many types and formations of icebergs - they almost have their own language, which is where todays blog post title comes from.
Hummocks, Bummocks and bergy bits are all formations of ice.

After leaving British waters (we last saw the West of Scotland a long way off), our first landfall was just North of Cape Farewell (Cape Greeting or Cape Hello might have been a more apt name).
Not very friendly these Greenlanders, when you've only just arrived.
Better than Cape Sod-Off I suppose.

Anyway, we soon started sighting icebergs in the distance.

Greenland was said to have been discovered by the Vikings and has had an on-off relationship with the Scandinavian countries ever since.

Technically, it is currently a possession of Denmark.

Most Greenlanders speak Danish as well as Greenlandish and the Danish Krone is the coin of the realm.

They have their own parliament, have been allowed to call all the settlements by their native names and receive a lot of money from the Danish crown.

The Danish aren't silly, especially if there really is a lot of oil and minerals there.

Anyway, the icebergs gradually got bigger as we got further North.

We motored up and down for a while, but eventually decided we needed a few fresh items and decided to close with the natives.

After so much sea and wilderness (we had hardly seen any ships since we left the Irish Sea), it was exciting to watch the coloured dots of a distant settlement growing larger in our binnoculars, until eventually you could make out people and cars moving (well - what did you expect ? - huskies).

Getting as close as we dare in the sheltered fjord, we eventually dropped anchor, parted our hair, brushed our teeth and launched the rescue boat.

NEXT - Trading with the locals

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