Expedition Around North America
Log Book
Stop over : Ilulissat (greenland)
 Around North America Homepage
The Leader's note
Around North America Expedition
Southern Star, centerpiece of the expedition Around North America
The team
Around North America Expedition
Partners
Newsletter
logbook
Around North America, Photo Gallery
Around North America, Photo Gallery

Stop Over in Ilulissat (Greenland)
(July 12-23, 2008 )

July 23, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:20 local time

The two last crewmember from the new team arrived. We will be 9 onboard for the next leg. Emilie, who comes strait from Ny Ålesund, Spitsbergen, let us know that her scientific job she will do onboard for the next six weeks was approved by the IPY Norwegian committee. Now, the expedition has the official stamp IPY.
In the beginning of the afternoon, a piece of ice, 10 by 20 meters drifts slowly in the harbour and plugs the narrow passage which separates the inner and outer basins. A fisherman decides to handle the situation, his boat is so small compairing with these thousand tons of ice. After a long moment without a single movement, the bergy bit starts his motion towards the sea, well done !! The day had started by a complete check of the mast til the top and had end up by a diving session to check til under the keel. The water is 0,5°C. While in the water, a valve from the regulator give us some trouble, we decide to give up, the experience could become dangerous.


Arrival of the last members crew

Arrival of the last members crew
Photo Delphine Maratier
(Click to enlarge)
July 22, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:00 local time

The first collect of sediments have started at the mouth of the Icefjord.
The rest of the crew is busy with the last preparations.


Scientific measures in ilulissat -Photo Gabriel Pitras

Scientific measures in Ilulissat fjord
Photo Gabriel Pitras
(Click to enlarge)
July 21, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:00 local time

Maintenance and preparation of departure make our day. We're following carefully the breaking up in Baffin Bay. The prediction is for a gale within 48 hours on the Canadian side, it will help to dislocate dense zone of pack ice.

Maintenance prior to the next leg-Photo Gabriel Pitras
Maintenance before the next leg
Photo Gabriel Pitras
(Click to enlarge)
July 20, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:45 local time

The sky is overcast today, it is a long time it did not happen. Just before noon, two crewmembers from the new team arrive. Pierre brings some scientific items to collect different data. He is a teacher at the chemical department of the Marseille IUT. Twenty students are involved in the project which consist in: Analysis of sediments for traces of oil and analysis of sea water for traces of pesticide, PH determination, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen and temperature.
In the end of the afternoon, we take some time to walk the blue trek of UNESCO. The icefjord is completely calm, the reflection of the icebergs on to the water is amazingly beautiful with these grey tonalities.

Icebergs reflecting in the fjord-Photo Olivier Pitras, 69Nord.com
Icebergs reflecting in the fjord
Photo Olivier Pitras
(Click to enlarge)
July 19, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:20 local time

In the morning and the beginning of the afternoon each one keeps going with the job looking forward to finish and start to relax as we have decided. Surprisingly, though the sun is shining, we enjoy reading inside in the saloon or in our berth. Polar expeditions are the main focus. In the evening the controversy between Peary and Cook about the discovery of the North Pole and the general story about the discovery of the North West passage are the subject of our discussion.

Midnight on  Disko Bay, Greenland-Photo Delphine Maratier
Midnight on Disko Bay, Greenland
(Click to enlarge)
July 18, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:15 local time

We have a meeting this morning with two glaciologists. Apparently all members of the small worldwide community of glaciologists are gathering this summer in Ilulissat. The meeting is very informal and friendly.
Slavek (Earth Sciences Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz) and Ian (Assistant professor at the Byrd Polar Research Center, University of Ohio) tell us about the job they do. Data is very recent and impossible to interpret yet. Global warming is a very complex phenomenon. The unique thing they can tell is that the melting process is faster that they were expecting. It just points out how difficult it is to modelise the Earth.
In the evening we meet with Mary Miller from the Exploratorium (Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception) of San Francisco. Mary got a grant from the US Science Foundation to investigate on different aspects of global warming.

Meeting with glaciologists-Photo Gabriel Pitras
Meeting with glaciologists
Photo Gabriel Pitras
(Click to enlarge)
July 17, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
22:00 local time

Today, the boat is empty. Only the permanent crew stays onboard.
Separations are difficult after all these strong moments we have shared together. We keep concentrated on knocking down our long list of things to do.

Ilulissat Harbour, Greenland-Photo Delphine Maratier
Ilulissat Harbour
(Click to enlarge)
July 16, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:20 local time

Today, we're staying onboard. We have a lot to do in logistic to be ready for the next leg. Writing, sorting out pictures and videos, organizing new interviews, cleaning, maintaining, finding right places for propane, water, diesel, gas and food are on our list for the next days. We are working on compressing the ice charts we'll use for the Baffin Bay crossing and the North-West Passage. It will probably go that way until Friday. No time to rest. The beautiful weather is still with us, day after day.

Downtown Ilulissat-Photo Delphine Maratier
Downtown Ilulissat
(Click to enlarge)
July 15, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:30 local time

We're setting sail for the mouth of the Icefjord where the icebergs are grounded. It's a fascinating world but we keep in mind that at any time a piece could fall down. We're at two hundred meters when we heard an explosion. The whole side of the iceberg is collapsing right in the water, like a building who collapses on itself. The wave is big but we're in a safe place, we gave a wide berth. In a minute the zone is invaded by small pieces of ice. Some of them can still have the name of icebergs (5 meters above water). Thierry, our film director is onshore for a long range shooting. He climbs couple of meters more to secure himself when the wave arrives.
In the evening, we have an interview with Lene Holm. She is responsible for sustainable development and environment for the Greenlandic ICC (Inuit Circumpolar Council). She is a fantastic person with a very positive power for her country. She is in Ilulissat in her way to finish a three weeks investigation about how people live the global warming. Greenlanders in the North of the country are more affected, mainly hunters who use the pack ice for travelling along. Pack ice is thinner, comes later and melts earlier. Lots of them speak about a thirty years cycle. Farmers are quite happy with it. Fishermen can fish again some species who had disappeared since the 1990.

Photo Thierry Robert, Southern Star, Greenland
Souther Star and icebergs, Greenland
(Click to enlarge)
July 14, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:55 local time

Our first real contacts gave us the confirmation that even in Ilulissat the hospitality means a lot. We have spent the afternoon with Ono and Karo Fleischer. Ono Fleischer, descendant of Knud Rasmussen, had achieved six majors dog sledges expedition through Greenland, Nunavut and Alaska. The last one was the crossing of Greenland from West to East. His huge experience from years spent in the fields gives him the opportunity to witness about global warming in these Arctic regions for the last forty years.
In the evenning, we went onboard Thorvald's boat to approach the icebergs and share his experience about the glacier for the last thirty five years. In between, we took time to celebrate our national day at a restaurant.


Photo Delphine Maratier

Tourism boat ,Icefjord, Ilulissat
(Click to enlarge)
July 13, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:30 local time

Ilulissat is the most touristic place in Greenland. Therefore, the city lost its authenticity and relationships with people are more superficial comparing with all the people we met so far in Greenland.
The stop over is nice anyway and we keep going with our field investigation about global warming.


Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland-Photo Delphine Maratier

Icefjord, Ilulissat, Greenland
(Click to enlarge)
July 12, 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 2)
Ilulissat,
23:30 local time

The first icebergs are just right here in front of the village. At the mouth of the fjord, a front moraine at a 260 meters depth maintains the biggest pieces of ice. Under the pressure of the others, they are crashed or pushed all the way out and start to drift in Disko Bay. The front of the glacier is a couple kilometers further up.
The sky is gray today. Anyway we're obliged to stay onboard ready to move anytime. The harbor is too small compared with the traffic...

 


Kangerlua Fjord, Ilulissat, Greenland - Photo Delphine Maratier
Iceberg, Disko bay
(Click to enlarge)
Back to the map
-->