Nuuk, Greenland—We’re Here!

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Well, prevailing NE winds notwithstanding, we managed to get out of Port au Choix, Newfoundland on June 19th, at 4:00 a.m. Actually, though we had to motorsail straight into 20 to 25 knots for the first 12 hours, after that the wind freed us enough that we had a relatively comfortable passage to Nuuk, Greenland, where we arrived five days later.

Nuuk was our very first Greenland landfall in Morgan’s Cloud one month less than 16 years ago. Things sure have changed! These days the town is hopping with numerous cafés and stores and English is ubiquitous.

Another significant difference is how little ice there is—something we noticed during the whole passage. In past years the offshore ice report might list 100 bergs in the same area where they now list maybe 15. 16 years ago Nuuk fjord was full of ice. This year? We saw 2 small bergy bits in the fjord. And we are a month earlier than for past visits.

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Offshore oil exploration has struck in big time so there is much more large boat traffic and the same goes for sailboats: during the 3 days we were in Nuuk we saw 1 German, 1 French, 1 Swiss, 2 Norwegian and 1 unidentified sailboat. And this is in June, early in the season for up here. 16 years ago? Morgan’s Cloud was alone during her time in Nuuk.

We feel honoured to be in the company of the other sailors we meet here. Sunday evening we had a very enjoyable potluck dinner on Morgan’s Cloud with the crews of Chamade (Switzerland) and Snowball (Germany). Chamade, an aluminum OVNI 365, completed a voyage from the White Sea through the Russian canals to the Baltic several years ago and they are now en route in an attempt to transit the NW Passage. Hans, on the hard-chined steel Snowball, singlehanded from the Azores to SW Greenland direct.

Over the years we have been in e-mail contact with both skippers but didn’t know they were going to be in Greenland this season; it was just one of those wonderful fortuitous connections that happen so often in the north.

We are now anchored in a beautiful bowl 60 miles north of Nuuk, surrounded by craggy snow-patched hills scored with tumbling waterfalls.

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Meet the Author

Phyllis

Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

4 comments… add one
  • Viv and Mireille Jul 4, 2011, 7:40 am

    Terrific! Now the sailing really starts.

    Interesting observations on the lack of ice? disturbing in a way or is it just part of nature’s vast cycles that span millennium and we are just at the warm part?
    Good luck with your voyage

  • Val Hearder Jul 4, 2011, 10:04 am

    Really good to read of your arrival in Greenland. Continued safe passage. Val

  • Westbrook Jul 4, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Sounds as if Greenland now is less white and more green

  • Wilson Fitt Jul 4, 2011, 10:16 pm

    Very glad to hear that the first leg of the expedition went so well. You disposed of a significant voyage in two very understated sentences, a tribute to experience, preparation and modesty. Rockwell Kent wrote a whole book about the same voyage. Granted, his disasterous outcome provided more fodder.

    Looking forward to semi-regular updates in trust that you will have facinating but not frightening Rockwellesque tales to tell.

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