Like most of you, I've been searching for fulfillment, in order to find ways to make my existence count in my own eyes. Love, friendship, family and experiences are the foundation of my fulfillment and if you are lucky to have all at once, you have struck gold. Sometimes it may feel like one area in life is tipping the scales against all others and that may be true. But if you inspect the elements of your life closely enough, you may find yourself lusting for a balance. But there are other times when life gives you the opportunity to explore and everything else takes a back seat to finding yourself on the edge - and for some of us, that's where we flourish.
I left for Greenland in August, with a 3 day stop over in Reykjavik. I circled the city 50 times on foot, looking for something new I hadn't found since my last visit 8 years ago. And while Reykjavik holds allure, my excitement was to travel to eastern Greenland as fast as possible.
I met our group the first morning of the journey at a hotel in the city center. After introductions, I grabbed the bags for each traveler and helped the driver place them into the transport vehicle. We then sped off to the airport for our flight to Kulusuk. Upon arrival, we found ourselves in a sleepy little town, where we quickly jumped in the back of a danish helicopter that carried us over the icy bay to Tassilaq - which would serve as our base of operation for the next 2 days. Upon arrival in Tassilaq, we met with our guides for the trip, who I would assist throughout to ensure everything went smoothly. There is no shortage on logistical nightmares that Greenland throws at any and all that attempt to visit. Once everyone was settled in, we grabbed the rifle and took the group out for a hike through the valley of flowers, where we saw packs of sled dogs, the town cemetery and a sea of beautiful arctic flowers that dotted the passing landscape. Like many isolated northern towns, there was also broken down snowmobiles in front yards, destroyed washing machines and evidence of difficult winters that the locals had clearly managed to negotiate year after year.
The following morning, we took out the zodiacs and explored the depths of the Sermilik Fjord, navigating a sea of icebergs, with some being as large as city blocks. Every shape, style and formation was present in spades and perfectly imposing. Geared up in our mustang survival suits, we sped into the wind, searching for the next shape, the next picture to capture with our minds and cameras. The icebergs glistened with perfect refraction and offered exceptionally picturesque moments that are rare and important to life.
Continuing on, we navigated and negotiated the ice chunks and flows as they came with great care. We skirted past blocks of ice that were thousands of years old, that would soon melt and find their way back in to the active water cycle of the planet. Watching the amount of ice that had calved, was like watching the earth as a living organism - ever changing and adjusting. As we continued to push forward, we found ourselves within view of the magnificent polar icecap. The icecap is so intensely large, that we we spend the next 45 minutes cruising at break-speeds to reach the face. Arctic blues, gray and powdery whites filled in our color spectrum and lead the way like a beacon blinking in the distance. When we finally arrived, we found ourselves front and center of the Greenland icecap, with perfect views and slack-jawed expressions. It was enormous, sublime and fully unique in ever way. Never have I experienced anything of this magnitude. Truly, it felt inconceivable.
|Base camp Greenland|
Logistics, however are a disaster. For periods of time, we found it difficult to make any judgement call in regards to transportation. Higher ice flows made it challenging to get the boat in to transport our travelers back to Tassilaq. Instead, we elected to have the helicopter fly to meet us at base-camp to get everyone back to safety with no issues. Weather, however complicated matters further and created reports, keeping the helicopters from being able to fly. It quickly became a game of hurry up and wait. To make a call for the boat or the helicopter was a wrong call, because the circumstances were sure to change.
The back and forth continued, until the point when we decide it was best to stay at camp for an additional night and to have the boat come for the travelers in the morning. When morning came, I jumped in the luggage boat and sped off back to town before our travelers got back in the slow boat. The luggage boat moves as fast as the engine will sustain, making it equal to a speedboat moving balls-out for 1 hour in freezing cold temperatures, slamming into waves the entire time. I loved it, but could see it making even the more adventurous a little nervous.
Greenland is unique, compelling and highly remote. Its beauty is unparalleled in certain circumstances and it is truly one of the last places on the planet where one can find themselves feeling as though the world hasn't been fully discovered, monetized and commercial. Most families in Greenland are still feeding their family members off of subsistence seal hunting. It is a raw destination filled with pure excitement, remote existences and adventures, awaiting those who are willing to make the journey.