August 9, 2014 Prince Christian Sund
Partly Cloudy, 43 degrees, sunrise 4:40 am sunset 10:30 pm
WOW – I do not know where to begin.
First, alarm off at 5:30 and we are off to the Crows Nest. It is a very large bar and seating area in the front of the ship on Deck 12. We scoped out and laid claim to our area right hand side front.
Next the weather…The weather gods were smiling on us. There were no clouds out. It was sky blue and sunny. It was quite warm outside as long as you were not in the wind which was most of the time.
We arrived in the Crows Nest while the ship was still in the Strait of Denmark. We could see a large mass of land ahead of us and icebergs. We entered the east side of Prince Christian Sund about 6:15 am. They served hot chocolate and coffee along with pastries in the Crows Nest. About 7:30 I went down to the lido and made us some omelet sandwiches.
The Southern end of Greenland consists of many large and small islands with a complex network of many channels and fjords. The total length of all of them are over 280 miles long. One of the channels between the mainland and the island of Sanmisoq is Prince Christian Sund.
The southern tip of Greenland is Cape Farewell on the island of Itivvdieg. The passage through the Sund is only possible in mid-summer. As we saw in 2011, our first VOV cruise, it is not always possible to be navigated. The entrance and exit can be blocked by pack ice and there is always a chance of fog. If you are fortunate enough to sail through the Sund, you will see magnificent waterfalls, glaciers, granite cliffs and icebergs.
We entered through the eastern entrance of the Sund. There were antennae’s and a house on the left or port side. This is the Ikearassuaq weather station that is manned by 5 men year round on a rotational basis. It was established in WWII.
Prince Christian Sund is about 36 miles long and 1300 ft. wide. The mountains on either side range upwards of 5000 ft. high. Six outlet glaciers extend into the sea on the south side. As we traveled through the Sund, Greenland (the mainland) is on the starboard (right side) and port side (left side) are islands. The one at the entrance is Christian the 4th. From our vantage point, both sides appear to be large land masses.
Mid-way through our journey, we passed a small village of Aappliattoq. It has about 80 people living there. All of the houses are bright colors like red and blue. Their economy is based on sealing and they can only be reached by boat a couple of months in the summer time. The rest of the time the only way in and out is via helicopter. They have a school, community center, a power station and a church. Each year more and more people are visiting the tiny little village. There are two houses in town that each have a bedroom for rent, otherwise you hope to be invited to stay on someone’s sofa!
The granite formations we saw were amazing. Many were covered with moss and trees. Well, they call them trees. They are 3 to 5 inches high. We would call them weeds! Some of the glaciers have been receding and others were at the water’s edge. They were magnificent colors of blues. We had to navigate many icebergs during the day. The waterfalls were a sight to see. There so many. They would come out of the glaciers in some areas and out of the granite in others. Some began so high you could hardly get it all in a picture. We did manage to see a few seals in the water in front of us but none playing on the bergs. Then it happened right in front of us….One the icebergs began to roll and flip. As it did, the ice crystals covered with water began to shimmer and shine. It was amazing.
The Captain would put us in front of a glacier and then turn the ship a full 360 degrees so that everyone got a view. He took us into a channel or fjord that would dead end and bring us back out. He took us by the village twice so each side of the ship could see it. We entered Prince Christian Sund at 6:15 am and we left at 4:15 pm. The entire day was spent combing through the different waterways.
As we reached our exit point, the Captain began to pick up speed. As we came back out to the Atlantic Ocean you could see huge icebergs, bergie bits, and growlers (low lying bergs of 6 ft. or so with sharp edges) in the area and in the distance. Then that fast, we were covered with fog. The fog horn began and we slowed our speed significantly. We were in fog until midnight. At that time, he picked up speed so we reached our next port.
Side note: We spoke to the Captain today in the hall (he is a chatter) and thanked him for our wonderful day in Prince Christian Sund. He said it was his first time here. He also used it as a learning experience for his other officers to learn how to maneuver in this area.
They did serve Pea Soup about 10:30am where we were and on the outside decks. The pea soup was so thick that you could turn the bowl over and it would not run out. I liked it. It was hot and full of ham and sausage. For lunch, I came down to the dive in and got some burgers and fries to take up. We finally left the crows nest about 5:00pm. We were in fog and could not see anything.
Dinner was at 8:00 pm as always. We had beef brisket which was tender and good. The surprise of the evening was dessert. They served banana splits. Wish we knew that before we ordered. They came out on a dinner plate. It was half a banana cut lengthwise with scoops of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce and strawberry sauce, whipped cream and nuts. I had mine without the banana and it was really good, but I could not finish it. Dad did finish his.
We did not go to the show. It was Count Dimas from Transylvania who does a piano show. We hit the casino and then off to dreamland. It was a long day.
Good night from the fog horn honking MS Veendam.
Pictures to follow in a day or two.