Greenland: Prelude



August 25, 2015

Hello Fellow Rider,

Over the years, I have been fortunate to travel the world using a variety of animate and inanimate conveyances.

I have flown on many fixed-wing aircraft, both propeller and jet, from a Boeing 747 to a Boeing DC 3 to an Embraer 190.  

But today, something new.

Expect the Unexpected

SE Greenland
August 26, 2015

“I’m Going!”

When I learned that a photography club from New York was leading a tour to Greenland and Iceland, I decided, “I’m going!”

I knew that I needed some specialized clothing and gear.  But I really didn’t know what to expect on such a trip.    So I thought, “Expect the unexpected.”

Sure, you can read about icebergs and glaciers and indigenous settlements; you can watch the Discovery Channel.  But when you see them, you see them.  In Greenland, I found the unexpected. 

The Story of Glaciers






                 Excerpts from Icebergs.  Christian Kempf. 

                   From Snowflake to Ice Caps to Glaciers*


     Snow gathers in hollows called “cirques,” sometimes up to 20 to 30 meters deep, (65 - 98 ft) assisted by wind, rain and avalanches.

     Fallen snow packs down and becomes less complex in structure as it releases much of the air that was trapped inside between the individual flakes.  This granular snow turns into ice over several years as the crystals bond to each other under high pressure, reaching ever larger sizes, that then bond to each other in turn.

     It generally takes five to ten years for snow to turn to ice.  In Greenland or Antarctica, this process can take a hundred years, while it takes just three to five years on certain glaciers in Svalbard or the Alps, where there is greater snowfall and the climate is cooler – speeding up the process.

     Glaciers are formed from successive layers of snow, though freezing mist or surface meltwater can also cause the ice to build up.  These accumulations of ice in the center of continents and polar islands are called ice caps (up to 50,000 km2) or ice sheets (over 50,000 km2) (19,305 sq mi).

The ice is up to 600 meters deep in Svalbard and the Campo do Hielo, Chile, (1968 ft).  3100 meters in Greenland (10,170 ft) and up to 4800 meters in Antarctica (15,748 ft or 3 miles deep).

Whale(s) Spotting

East Greenland

August 29, 2015


The vast landmass of Greenland is more than just snow, ice sheets, glaciers and icebergs.

The small area that I was privileged to visit displayed splendid and inspiring mountain scenery.

We were fortunate to have excellent guides.  But the guides were not only Norwegians or Danes on a summer’s job.  Our guides were also local men. 

The word “guide” is not completely adequate.

I like to think of our guides as “hunters.”

Ikateq: Debris and Discovery


Ikateq Airbase

Ikateq Fjord

East Greenland

August 28, 2015


If I had had a vote I would have noted “no.”

Since I didn’t have a vote, and without any discussion, our tour proceeds up Ikateq Fjord to visit an abandoned United States Airbase built during World War II.

On this occasion, dictatorship trumps democracy.

But why would we want to spend any time at an obsolete gravel airstrip and the adjacent forlorn remains of construction equipment and the rubble of overturned oil drums, discarded and left to rust and decay?

The scenery surrounding the airbase is as dramatic and pristine as any I have seen here in East Greenland.  Yet, is there something moving and compelling and even attractive about this detritus of the not so distant past?

The Story of Icebergs





The Iceberg Story

A Poetic Story:

“The Migration of Icebergs” by Daniel Anet*

“It’s a naïve iceberg, pure ethereal sculpture, a floating mountain that rolled over one day and plunged into the sea.  But it’s also the wide open sea, an infinite constellation if icebergs, like a migration of swans; or perhaps it might be the reflection of the Milky Way slipping across the dark blue sea, through the drifting fog.

The fjords thrust into granite lands for hundreds of kilometers, like inland seas; and their waves will eventually lap against short beaches of grey and black pebbles, onto which slump the pleated fronts of age-old glaciers polished by waterfalls.