Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nanortalik, Greenland II

Niels surveys the morning sunshine and announces I must have brought the weather with me, and the words are barely out of his mouth before clouds roll in and it starts to spit rain. Apparently I did, it just took a later flight.

I try to buy some last minute provisions in town, but that proves harder than I my have thought, I figured this to be a fishing town filled with boats, which it is to some extent, but the great minds have closed the hardware store. While you can find sport fishing gear of entirely random selection and dubious quality, you can't find rope. Or spark plugs. Or oil. You can find bicycle reflectors and spare brakes, but without paved road or bicycles, they seem an odd choice.

After my sorting and dragging and cursing and air pumping, the boat is ready and loaded and down on the shore. It starts up on the first pull and off I go. I plow slowly through the water. With its nose in the air and stern dragging a deep wallow through the ocean swell, I barely make five knots. I go back to shore and sort things around. No better. I pitch myself as far forward as possible, steering with my foot. Though impractical, it at least getting me up on step and moving.

At a small, sheltered beach I spot an old hunting cabin and go ashore, climbing up to the ridge to look down into Ketil Fjord. There's a large, tilting white cross up there, surrounded by low tundra and little puffs of cottony flowers. I walk back down, grab the camera and struggle back up, just in time for the rain to return in earnest. It's a lovely, lonely scene though. Icebergs and towering mountains fill the horizon.

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