Once upon a happier time, when I had a job and could afford travel, my family sailed to Greenland aboard the Crown Princess.
On August 19 we arrived at the mouth of Prins Christian Sund (Prince Christian Sound) at the southeast tip of Greenland. Greenland produces so many icebergs that navigation is tricky even during the summer. That is why Princess cruised to Greenland just once per year. We were excited to learn that the channel was clear enough of ice that this large ship could sail entirely through for the first time in five years!
These photographs were taken from a height of roughly 25.m, which can make subjects looks smaller than they were. The Inuit hunter and his dinghy near an iceberg gives some sense of scale:
There is scant visual evidence of multi-cellular life above water here. Shores could have looked like this a billion (109) years ago:
The sides of the fjord are steep rock cut by glaciers during the last ice age. The continuous high face of rock to starboard conveys an impression of some great pressure being contained:
As icebergs melt they can take on fantastic shapes. Underwater melting cuts straight edges at the water line. When the underwater dissolution is faster than melting in air, the iceberg eventually becomes unstable and flips over. On many bergs you can count the inversions.
20.km in we come to a source of icebergs, a glacier:
A glacier at the end of an inlet affords a better peek at the edge of the ice sheet covering nearly all of Greenland:
The Sound we have traversed thus far:
An iceberg which nearly blocked this narrowest point in the channel:
12.km further, the Sound hooks around volcanoes projecting through granite plutons and joins a larger channel formed by the intersection of 5 fjords. At this point not only do cameras not capture the magnificence of the scene, human eyes are overwhelmed as well. Imagine 5 Yosemites dotted by cinder cones and flooded with seawater.
A distant look toward a much larger glacier:
As evening approaches, the forms cut by multiple glaciers are even more fantastic:
We have sailed by the feet of giants:
|Pictures||Copyright © 2000 Roberta Jaffer|
|Text||Copyright © 2003 Aubrey Jaffer.|