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.
August 8, 2014 Sea Day
Partly Cloudy, 55 degrees, sunset 9:33pm
We got another hour back last night. We did not rock and roll much last night but we are moving this morning. We went to formal breakfast this morning to see Peter. Have to say I like the lido breakfast better in the morning. The food is hotter and I can see what is fresh. We had corned beef hash and eggs and some fresh pineapple. It was good but tomorrow we will be back in the Lido.
Hit the casino on the way home from breakfast we did ok. Got ours papers and headed home.
Dad is on his way to the 1:00 pm movie. Not sure what we will do. No culinary today. Looks like reading and napping may be the name of the game today.
It is formal night. Dinner will be jumbo shrimp, chicken satay and veal. Maybe tonight will be the chocolate chip soufflé. Hope so.
Entertainment tonight is Forbidden Broadway. It is a Broadway show that has been modified for the ship. It is not our cast so it should be interesting. It was described as Broadway meets Saturday Night Live. It is all parodies of Broadway shows.
I came home early from show. Lots of people liked it. After Annie and Lion King I got bored, so I came back to the cabin to read my book. It is getting good.
Time to rock to sleep, because tomorrow is an early morning on the MS Veendam.
August 7, 2014 Reykjavik, Iceland (overnight)
Cloudy, 55 degrees sunset 9:11pm (ha)
Well, it was our second day in Reykjavik. It was actually a nice one. Sunny, then cloudy, no rain but some wind. They do say wait 10 minutes if you do not like the weather, and it is true. Up about 8:15am and fresh hot French toast and half an omelet was our breakfast. Next up on the agenda was getting the blog done.
They had 20 minutes of free internet at the info center, then, you had to pay. I could download my info there but not my pictures, to many people. One of the gentlemen on our tour yesterday said it was free at the ferry. You just needed the password which happens to be the name of the company. There was a young man inside and all you had to do is ask him. So mom and I bought a hat pin for dad and coasters at the shop and then walked across to the ferry office. I sat outside and downloaded some pictures and once the wind came up, I went in. There is one table and 2 chairs. I got caught up to part 1 of the tour pics before my battery ran out. I was happy and saved some ISK. (Icelandic money). I still had some coins left and you cannot turn them back in so I bought an Icelandic candy bar. It has not been opened yet.
Stopped at the Dive In for lunch and dad and I got the grilled chicken sandwich with gouda cheese and bacon. They were made fresh and yummy. It was rocky road ice cream day too, so a scoop in a small cone.
The rest of the afternoon was spent doing Sudoku’s and reading. All aboard was 4:30 pm. We had a beer and fish and chip sail away. The fish was hot and crisp so we got a small plate to munch on. We were to leave about 5:00pm. The Captain came on to tell us about the evening weather. The ship had a headwind hitting the bow at 30 to 35 knots. That creates a problem in getting the ship away from the dock. He said we would give it a try with the tug and see what happens. Well what happened was that tug could not push away against the power of the wind so back to the dock we floated and tied up. Our Captain came on to tell us a second tug will be here in about 30 minutes and they will try to pull us out. There is a jetty in front of the ship that we must clear.
The second tug arrived and they tied one up to the bow (front) and one to the stern (back) and pulled as the Captain had the side thrusters going. The wind sock on the jetty showed the wind was full blown against us. Those little tugs worked and worked and got us out.
The Captain did tell us batten down the hatches and not leave anything out that could slide off a shelf. He did let everyone know sea sick pills were available at the front desk. That means the barf bags will probably be out and green apples and crackers will also be out. I think it means I will rock to sleep like a baby.
Dinner tonight was good as always, baked potato soup and veal tenderloin and dessert was vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and macadamia nuts. What a treat, at dinner tonight a Minke Whale came playfully swimming by us. Tonight we have a Comedian, Derrick Cameron.
So hold on tight as we rock to sleep on the swaying MS Veendam.