Life is tough!
Life is tough!
Jane sewed mittens sealskin and leather when we in Uummannaq. In Qaanaaq she switched to knitting paffequtit – wrist warmers. Paffequtit are a common sight in Greenland, worn by men and women. Perhaps mostly worn by women, but after wearing them for a short time, it’s a no brainer! It’s fun to experience just how much warmer you are when wearing them around your wrist.
They can be as basic as you like, as long as you like, and as decorative as you like.
Now, I’m not very handy, but I am very good at placing plenty of orders to keep Jane busy, including an old kindle cover with Smaug and the Lonely Mountain!
Yeah. not quite a wrist warmer, but you get the idea. 😉
It’s just a lump of rock, really. But it was home for four years. The town of Uummannaq is just out of shot, to the left of the island.
When the sea ice begins to break up, you get a lot of dirty lumps on the beach. These photos are from Qaanaaq, late June, when the temperatures, wind, and tides decided it was time for the ice to melt.
I may have mentioned before that overcast days are the best days to photograph the ice as the blues really pop! The bluer ice tends to be the really ancient stuff that has been compressed the longest in the glacier.
At least, I hope that’s right. 😉
There is still plenty of ice though, and many of the hunters still have their dogs camped a short walk from the beach. I think “plenty” is a matter of opinion and experience.
If you’ve read my books, you might have picked up a few mixed feelings about cruise ships. On the one hand, they are probably the best way for tourists to see Greenland. On the other hand, they encourage a sense of detachment (in my opinion) between the tourists and the locals, supporting what I experienced as the “living museum” kind of visit when tourists disembarked and wandered “everywhere” and into “everything” on the island. I threw a couple of curious tourists out of the school as they just barged in.
But it gets worse.
Travel is hellish expensive in Greenland – for everybody. One of the most affordable ways to visit family up and down the coast was to take the ferry. One year, while I lived on the island of Uummannaq, the ferry was discontinued. It just stopped sailing. This presented a problem for a lot of Greenlanders wishing to travel, but struggling to pay the helicopter and plane tickets that were suddenly the only option.
To make matters worse, the ferry came back the following year (see photo above), but this time it sailed under new ownership as an adventure cruise ship with a modest number of tourists instead of local families.
The tourists buy a couple of things when visiting the different stops along the route – nothing more than coffee money, really – but it’s the tourist companies who make the most money. So if you’ve ever wondered why cruise ships feature so heavily, and not always positively in my stories… now you know.
However, I still recommend a cruise as the best (not necessarily most ethical) way to see Greenland. Because it really is.
I’m pretty sure this little fella is a snow bunting. He hung around for a little while, sitting on top of the electricity meter, working his magic!
Meanwhile, outside, in Qaanaaq, it was shaping up to be a lovely day.
What am I saying? The days had been twenty-four hours long since April(ish).
These are bittersweet photos as they are taken in June 2012 when Jane and I were about to leave Qaanaaq. We were on our way to Nuuk for more Greenland adventures.