Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Base Camp News


9 August 2008


Rather than whiling away my stint as ‘Base Camp Bunny’ (ie the person who occupies the extremely important post of managing the day to day running of the exped) in the luxuries of Regine’s house in Kangaamiut, I have so far been braving the winds, mosquitoes and beautiful isolation of Tasiusaq Bay.  This has been due to the difficulties experienced in setting up the comms network, and the fact that Tasiusaq is much more central to all of the activities.  The weather has largely been fantastic, bizarrely the mosquitoes don’t seem to bite (well actually I noticed my first one this morning), and as I was washing my pans in the fjord yesterday I had to admit it was the most beautiful kitchen sink I’d ever had the pleasure of doing my dishes in!



(Picture - Stuart keeping everyone supplied!)



Since my last blog Ice Camp group has moved off into location.  Theirs is a rocky site high up on the moraine wall, just next to the mouth of the glacier.  We haven’t got any comms to their site at present but I’m sure they’ll tell you all about it when we get their blogs.  Tarquin was taking his group off to see a ‘secret’ German bunker yesterday; apparently there is a well preserved WWII bunker on the side of the glacier where they used to track the American fighter planes going over head.  It’s not very secret any more!


Jonh HW has moved around to Christmas Tree; way along the fjord it is by far our most remote advance base camp.  Last year on the recce we didn’t have time to travel that far, so I went with Anders and the zodiacs to drop the group off there 2 days ago, and it is fantastic.  I collected mussels from the beach for the group’s dinner, whilst they set their tents up.  There were hundreds of the mussels, all hiding under the seaweed and plankton on the shore, and it actually felt quite barbaric tearing them from their safe hiding place and taking them up to eat for dinner!


The kayakers have since set off, once they finally got their boats.  After one pleasant day paddling around the bay they set off at 07.00 yesterday (they had said they were going to leave at 06.00 – I knew that would never happen!) to cross the open water of the fjord.  Anders was on hand with the marine radios and zodiacs, but they arrived safely at the far shore.  They were last seen paddling off into the great blue yonder…


Anders, David, the BT boys and I then headed back to Kangaamiut Base Camp in the afternoon.  Last year we had travelled along the fjord in Nivi, Kai’s 35’ motor boat (complete with cabin and hot coffee!) and the distances didn’t seem that large.  In Anders’ inflatable zodiacs, complete with air conditioning and fresh salt water, all of a sudden it is clear just how far away Kangaamiut is!  2 hours later we finally arrived; luckily for me Anders is extremely chivalrous and made sure he took the brunt of the waves, ensuring that he got to Kangaamiut soaking wet whereas I was nice and dry.  Thanks Anders… It felt very strange rounding the shoulder of the island, from absolute isolation to suddenly discovering a colourful Greenlandic settlement clinging to the side of the rock.  We have got used to the wilderness, and that is the way we like it.  I think many of us may find it hard going back to urban life after this!


So after a night in a double bed (not without its dangers, as I found when I rolled over and fell out of it this morning!), I am now about to transmit the latest blogs back to the UK.  Then we will scurry around Kangaamiut picking up a few essentials, before we retreat back along the Fjord.  There’s no place like home…


Cath Stephens