September 08, 2011

Day 4 - Grønlandshavet (Greenland Sea)


Through the night the captain and crew attempted to navigate the M/S Expedition through the pack ice toward East Greenland. This formidable journey took us through a tight maze of tumultuous sea ice, as we ourselves were held at the mercy of the tempestuous sea. The occasional massive swell caused us to roll violently, making for an exciting and restless night for some.

Several attempts were made to penetrate the swath of ice that separated us from the fjords of Greenland. But northerly winds conspired with the East Greenland Current to drive the pack ice south along the coast. Ultimately the decision was made to steam directly south to where the ice was thinnest, with the idea of heading it off and reaching a protected fjord before it was closed by ice.

Our first tantalizing view of the mountainous coast of Greenland, still 50 miles away, came around midday. The seas were whipped by wind and the temperature was below freezing, but a broken high overcast sky offered periods of sunshine and excellent visibility. Our journey southward took us past one impressively large iceberg that had calved from one of Greenland’s enormous ice sheets.

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