We decided to leave Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord last night and head south in hopes of finding areas with less sea ice, which would allow us to potentially land. We did succeed with that plan, as we reached open water during the night so were not woken up by our ice pilot Magnus breaking ice in the middle of the night, which he perhaps enjoys a little too much!
We started off our morning with a lecture from naturalist Sergei on sea ice and icebergs. His lecture provided a new perspective on ice and its forms. Apparently, ice is not “just” ice, but can be classified as pancake ice, needle ice, avalanche ice, and so on.
The morning continued with a lecture from Eduardo about Fridtjof Nansen. Unfortunately, he did not manage to get too far before our expedition leader, Russ, interrupted his lecture. We had come across a bunch of long-finned pilot whales and of course we were thrilled to see them. One of them even seemed to be accompanied by a calf!
After admiring the elegance of the swimming pilot whales, it was time for lunch. Afterwards, Eduardo gave his lecture a second try… He did get further this time, but shortly, after we came across some more whales! This time, they were sperm whales, at least six of them! As we found out, these whales are spectacular creatures – they can dive for around two hours with no air in their lungs, as they breathe out when diving. Furthermore, they can dive around 9800 feet down. They can be recognized from a distance by their blows, which are bushy, low, and seem to be angled to the left. Most of them showed us their magnificent flukes when they decided to go for their final deeper dive before we left them to head on.
During our evening recap, we learnt about the rock starts of the Arctic, a.k.a. lichens, the excellent sniffers of the avian world and the amazing diving abilities of the sperm whales.
Then, mysterious mountains and icebergs started peeking out from the fog against the midnight sun. Bracing the brisk Arctic air, we stood on the decks completely mesmerized by these views. Most of us decided to have an early evening since tomorrow promises a very early start. Yet, a few brave ones stayed up late and were rewarded with amazing views of the surrounding icebergs dressed in sunset colours. We’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings!