Grounded in Thule

Not-that-fun fact: the plane that should have flown us from Thule to Kangerlussuaq broke down. Good news is that we were not in it when that happened. Bad news is that said plane has been stuck in Kangerlussuaq since, waiting for spare parts to arrive from Germany. And getting another plane to come and pick us at short notice from a US air base with a small runway was a political, economical and logistical nightmare. So we enjoyed an unexpected stay at the air base!

As one of the base people told us: “there are worse places to be stuck”. And that is true! We have our own private accommodation (a luxury after having shared a cabin for 5 weeks), it is quiet and warm, and we have internet. Next building along is the galley where for hardly anything you can eat as much as you want, and in particular fresh vegetable that we had been missing on the ship. Just round the corner from the galley is the local supermarket, ridiculously cheap (and with no tax), and further down you can find the “Top of the World” dinner and bar, or the gym and its sauna. And provided you open your eyes and aren’t too noisy, you’re likely to see some Arctic foxes:

A curious Arctic fox in its brown summer coat.

A curious Arctic fox in its brown summer coat.

With the sea on one side and glaciers on the other, we decided to hike around and out of the base. We just had a slight issue with distances estimation. For example, the supposedly 30mn walk to the ice caves actually begins 30km from where we were. Same with yesterday’s “hop” to the abandoned village before going up the flat-top mountain: after two hours of walk, we still felt like 2 or 3h away from our destination. However, we made a fluffy encounter. Or rather, we saw about thirty or so of them, but only a few individuals did not run away when we arrived. Walking slowly, I got less than 2m away from this one:


fig3And that one nearly ran into my legs, before pausing in front of Oden as the ship was leaving, having finally done the crew change –yes, the new crew was stuck as well, but in Kangerlussuaq. As for us, we should fly to Kangerlussuaq this afternoon, spend the night there, and (slowly) fly to Stockholm with the Swedish Air Force tomorrow Saturday. Well, at least that’s the plan…


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