Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008
Tuesday 19th August 08
Phase 2 Paddlers Paddle
We awoke, not to the pitta patta of rain or howling winds trying to enter the tents, but bright rays of sunshine bursting through the tent walls. Breakfast consisted of compo boiling the bags. Our fresh rations had also arrived and were laid out for inspection. Smash, powdered milk, sugar and salt all looking very much the same, in identical bags. Various cans included a huge can of tuna and another chicken curry.
With the good weather here it was time for a shakeout paddle. We packed for a day paddle around Tassi bay, so a compo lunch, fishing gear and some warm kit. Then on with the new dry / semi-dry suits; not as easy as it looks. Matt discovered the groin of the suit was around his knees and every time he moved he was getting garrotted, the problems being he’d neglected to position himself through the braces. After a quick adjustment all was ok. Bruce had a slightly different problem when he discovered he’d manage to put the suit on backwards.
To the kayaks, left precariously piled up by the phase 1 kayakers. The kayaks were duly chosen by the group. Some better than others, Matt chose a kayak that had previously been used to store fish by Kev “The Fisherman” King, the odour of which was some what over powering. Steve found a kayak with no spray deck and spent 10 minutes finding one that didn’t fit.
A short paddle across the bay to a small river originating at the glacier some height above. The paddle was easy going although our destination never seemed to get any closer. As we finally neared the river a cool wind rolled down the mountain side from the glacier high above. After a short camera shoot, Pete and Steve, dropped their fishing lines into the icy water.
Without catching a thing, we continued back towards our camp site. Stopping for our compo lunch in a small cove across the water from our campsite. After we’d enjoyed our lunch, we found a reasonable supply of wood that was placed in empty compartments and affixed to the decks. Whilst sourcing the wood, the well over grown foundations of a long disused building were discovered.
On the short crossing back to the campsite the fishing lines were dropped into the water again. With more success than before with Pete pulling 4 fish in as many minutes. Steve’s attempt was a close second, pulling 2 fish with other fish being pulled by Ian and Sarah.
When back on dry land the haul was divided up and 4 of the fish were given to the mountaineers. The remains of the haul were duly gutted and filleted by not to expert hands. The filleted fish was added to the soup and consumed with some smash thanks to Sarah and Ian, for supper just as the rain started again.
Tomorrow we venture out of the safety of Tassi Bay into the Fjord.
A day full of promise!........
Soon to be delayed as everything is in Greenland. We were enthused by our phase 1 counterparts, tales of beautiful sights, weather and fantastic times. All now raring to go, waiting on the quay side for our boat ride into the wilderness at last. The scheduled time came and went……and then we got a new time…. It came and went. Finally a mere 3 hours late, it could have been a lot longer, Nivi arrived with his boat and finally we were off.
Tassi bay looked fantastic for about an hour and then the rain started, as we monged around waiting for the ramblers to arrive, so that the arrival orientation briefings could begin. Of which the best was Stu McHenery giving the practical demonstration on how to change the port-a-potty bag.
Steve managed to bag a 1 man tent, because allegedly the rest of the group snores, Matt, Ian, Chris, Bruce and Pete, with the exception Sarah! Who decided to brave it out with her tent buddy.
After a damp evening meal of compo, all retired early to bed to get out of the rain.
We awoke to the sound of heavy rain and winds, the planned activities of the day, sorting the kit and leisurely paddle around Tassi Bay was soon amended as the weather was here for the day. Instead the day consisted of searching for good sized mussels of the shellfish variety and self entertainment.
Around 8pm the rain finally stopped and the sun came out long enough to set. With the stopping of the rain also came the flies which buzzed around every mouthful of compo, chocolate pudding for the lucky ones and treacle pudding for the not so lucky.
With the compo out the way the muscles were cleaned and cooked in salt water with a little garlic. Whilst the rubbish was burnt and the blogs written, the wind got stronger and the flies disappeared. Exploding out of the over filled saucepan, the muscles had opened and were rapidly consumed, the group wandering how long they could survive on muscles alone.
End of day 2 in the fjord and not a paddle dipped by the kayakers