Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Base Camp News


22nd July 2008


It’s Monday, and it’s raining, which means everybody is back to work.  This morning was spent visiting all the organisations that we may need in an emergency, such as the police and the hospital.  Our arrival was expected!  The town have been gossiping about our arrival for over 8 months.  We were well received, especially when we produced a printed rescue plan.


It was then off to the sports hall to chat to the manager, in order to ensure we can still sleep on the sports hall floor when the activity groups are transiting through Maniitsoq.  As with everything else around here it is a case of ‘no problem, all is achievable’.  So all is arranged; we are even hopeful that the cafeteria will be opened up for the nights and mornings we will spend there. This will be no mean feat as the vast majority of people go out to the hunting grounds during Aug and the sports hall and the cafeteria is generally closed.


Arctic LinesThe big visit of the day was to Royal Arctic Line offices.  This was where we thought we would have to go through the complicated business of ensuring that our containers get loaded on to the landing craft that will take us to Kangaamiut.  As it turn out all went like a dream, once again they were expecting us, the shipping company had everything arranged, and we did not even have any paperwork to sign. So we are all set for the next leg of the journey tomorrow.


It is probably now time to fess up and tell you about the biting insects.  On the plus side they are big and move slowly and are therefore killed easily.  On the downside they are prolific in numbers and unremitting in their determination to bite us. Face veil mosquito nets are a must, as is DEET, though this tends to melt the netting and can be counter productive. The next bit of fauna news is that unusually cold ice conditions this winter have resulted in a number of nanoq being stranded south of their normal summer hunting areas.  One was living about 20m away from Kai’s office in the rubbish tip until the police came along and dispatched it to the Greenlandic equivalent of nanoq heaven, its flesh then being divided up between the old people as a welfare gift.  A family of 3 nanoq have also been sighted and shot at Seqi, the olivine mine south of here.  Thankfully none have been sighted in the fjord, so we should be OK.


This is our fourth day of prep work and it has mainly revolved around tying down the fine detail of the logistic plan.  We have spent a large part of our day playing with spread sheets and war gaming the multiple moving parts of the plan.  The difficulty of pronouncing and spelling the names of the expeditions various locations has been circumvented by Stu, who has invented triograms for all the locations.  Hence Kangaamiut has become KMT, Christmas Tree Camp has become XMT etc.  So conversations this afternoon have gone something like this: John - ‘Stu - what’s Ian Overal doing on the 3rd of Aug?’ ; Stu - ‘He is in TSQ in the morning, but is getting picked up on NIVI and going to MSQ via KMT, then spending the night in Kai’s office.’  Easy isn’t it?!


We had a flurry of excitement this afternoon with the arrival of the rest of the set-up party,Arrival consisting of Ian Overal, Alistair Carruthers, John McGaw, Kev Bignal, Rod Edwards and Bill Gordon. A one stage there was nobody available in the village to drive the airstrip bus to collect them and we asked to do it, but in the end the driver was found and we were stood down. Also on the same flight were Anders and David, the two guys who will be operating the Zodiacs for us.  I have not seen Anders for over a year so it is was good catch up and find out what he has been up to.  As it turns out he got married on Thurs and has had to leave his new wife and baby daughter at home, so is affectively on honeymoon with his best man David!


The last bit of news from today is Kai brought us four King Crabs for supper. These tasted absolute fantastic (the guys tell me they are uber-expensive back at home) and was a great last Maniitsoq supper – or should I say last MSQ supper.


What’s a Nanoq? Ah yes… nanoq is Greenlandic for Polar Bear.  I am sure all will be fine!  I will next write from KMT.


John HW