Flore Van Maldeghem

F

The one with the sea fog

Fieldwork in Greenland

We calculated an extra day in Ilulissat to send the samples after the field work, rest a bit, and score some souvenirs. Of course, we didn’t know that we would already have time to discover Ilulissat during the first days of our trip. On the last day we enjoy a good dinner at a fancy restaurant, and stroll around, but you could say we are very ready to go home. Unfortunately, the weather gods decide differently. Again. In summer, there is often sea fog in Ilulissat which makes the departure and landing of the small propellor planes impossible. Normally the fog clears up by noon. This year, the fog doesn’t linger for hours, but for days. Hundreds of people are stuck in Ilulissat because of the lack of planes, including us. AirGreenland has some trouble finding beds for everyone because of the large amount of people. They even put out a call on facebook in the hope that some of the locals have a spare bed or room for the stranded. The people in the airport write down our names, put some meal vouchers in our hands, and tell us they will try to find a place to stay and will contact us if they do. When we will be able to leave Ilulissat, they don’t know either.

Disheartened, we return to our home base: Hotel Icefiord. They don’t have rooms anymore, and we also don’t really want to stay there anymore. We call a whole list of hotels (the same as the first days), but there is nothing free. In the mean time, Willem has left with his tent to explore along the icefjord until his group arrives. We (Will, Steven and myself) go around the center of Ilulissat once more. Since I was in doubt about buying a photography book as a souvenir, and we are still here, we walk in World of Greenland. I buy the book (yay) and we get to talking with the girls behind the register. They are aware of the problems at AirGreenland and want to help. A friend of theirs is in Copenhagen and rents out her house in Ilulissat. They will check if it’s available. AirGreenland sends our new flight schedule: three days later than planned we fly to Kangerlussuaq, the next day to Copenhagen, and the day after to Brussels. After some calls with various airlines everything is arranged. Around 4 p.m. Maj (from World of Greenland) phones with the redemptive news. The house is free and we can stay there until our flight to Kangerlussuaq. Happy with each our own room and bed, and a big couch to slouch in, we cook a nice pasta with lots of vegetables.

The next days, we fill with walking around the icefjord, working, and spending meal vouchers in the local restaurants. On the day of our flight, we have lunch with Willem, who has returned from his mini expedition, and we said goodbye (for the second time). Without any further problems, we reach Kangerlussuaq. During a short walk before our flight to Copenhagen, we spot a reindeer there.

We arrive late in Copenhagen and say goodbye to Will. Steven and I try to sleep for about four hours in a hotel before our early flight to Brussels. And so our turbulent adventure in Greenland ends four days later than planned.



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