At Sea, Enroute to Greenland

july 28

We are cruising the Strait of Belle Isle and it is so foggy you can’t see more than a few feet and the ship’s foghorn blows every few minutes!

We had a talk and Q and A with the Greenland Captain of the pilot boat that will guide us on the trip and along the coastline of Greenland. Here are a few facts I learned:

Greenland is a huge country by land mass but only has 56,000 people. It is owned by Denmark but there is a strong desire by some of the people to be more independent, so although the money and the political system are Danish, the people speak both Danish and Greenlandic and really want to preserve the Greenlandic.

95% of the population lives on the west coast, and the other 5% live in small settlements of about 20 people each where they only get supplies every few months and in really rough winters it might be 11 months. The north is all ice. In the south, which they call the “banana coast”, they do grow some crops like potatoes, and they have cattle. But no bananas! The only real industry is fishing, and they generate their power by water.

We will be at sea today and tomorrow to reach Greenland, and when we arrive we will visit a different part each day, traveling on shore via tender since there are no cruise ports there. We will visit Nuuk, Pammiut and Qaqortoq. We will explore each, and in Qaqortoq we will have Kaffemik in a private home with a family. Kaffemik is how Greenlanders celebrate many events -a tradition of inviting friends for coffee, tea and cake.  

One of the questions asked of the Pilot Captain was “how would you entice me to buy a condo in Greenland?”  He was stumped for a minute, then said “for the wildness, the nature”.  I do hope to see at least one of the many whales that summer in these waters.

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