By Carol // Tuesday 2 Oct // 09:12:24 // 2 Comments

It was officially the watch from hell this morning…..4 – 6am was possibly the coldest I have ever been. Standing at the helm bouncing up and down as I sang jungle book songs to myself meant my feet stayed just warmer than frozen solid, but did earn a few glances from Barbara, who must have been wondering if I’d finally flipped over the proverbial edge into insanity. We caustiously broke through an ice floe, to be met by another and then a third! Trying to spot the low lying lurking ice was hard, when all you could think of was the nice warm bunk you’d left at 3.40am.

But then 10 minutes after the end of my watch there was a shout that land had been spotted. We’d all been wondering if A) Greenland really existed and B) if we’d ever be allowed to see it by the ever omnipresent ice. It was early early dawn with just a faint blush on the horizon delineating sea from sky, and the land looked like mystical clouds and cliffs floating over the cold grey sea surface. There was no hint then that the constant grey clouds that had acompanied us across the now legendary sea journey would ever lift.

But when I stumbled out of my bunk at about 8am there was a glorious sunrise brewing, casting warm shades of pinks and oranges over the most spectacular scenery I think I have ever seen. We were moored in a fjord, with two huge icebergs floating regally close by. I have never seen such an accumulation of photographers, cameras and film makers along the port side of any boat……I wonder what such a group would be called……maybe a floe would be appropriate.

A slow circle of one of the icebergs showed some amazing crevices that had been infilled with freshwater, re-freezing in a cobalt shade of blue. Emily and I were approached by the film crew…….”so what do some of the brightest minds on the boat think of this” was the question posed……to which we replied after some thought – well it looks like the perfect Mr Whippy but its missing the flake.

The sky is now blue, with some artistically scultped low lying clouds hiding the peaks of the nearby mountains. We are on our way to another more shelterd part of the fjord where we will anchor. We plan to spend the next few days exploring three fjords, all of which have very different styles of glaciers terminating in them. The geology map has been out, and discussions had about the evolution of Greenland. I now have to retrieve my mind from wherever it went to hibernate during the worst of the weather so that I can have proper scientific discussions about glaciers and glacial geomorphology! Guess its back to work….

Tags: Carol Cotterill


  1. Robert Gatliff Wednesday 3 Oct, 2007 // 20:47:32

    From one cruise to another! Greetings to Carol from all the gang from BGS plus greetings to Mark Maslim from James Bendle! Our rockdrill is damaged and we are vibrocoring in The Minches – a bit warmer than your location! We never made it to Hatton but managed two rockdrill sites around the Hebrides before retreating to plan B

  2. Glenda Wyatt Thursday 4 Oct, 2007 // 22:01:29

    Beautiful descriptions Carol. Seems that the scenery makes the cold all worthwhile. Enjoy the journey… Glenda

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