It was a surprise to wake up this morning to Russ’s wakeup call. It might have elicited a shout of joy as it dawned on us that it was not a call for the northern lights in the middle of the night! Thus refreshed, we bounced out of bed to a glorious morning as the ship gently sailed through the glassy waters of Segelsällskapet Fjord towards our morning destination, Kap Mæchel, situated at the mouth of Alpefjord. The landscape all around us was breathtaking. When skies are clear, gentle and pastel shades are typical here at sunrise.
During breakfast a careful plan was relayed over the public address system that stirred anticipation and excitement amongst us all. Sufficiently fed and full of caffeine, we headed to prepare for our Zodiac ride ashore to Kap Mæchel, where a small herd of muskoxen was sighted. Once ashore, we made our way to a trapper’s cabin. After checking it out, we headed to observe the muskoxen. A good number of us chose to leave behind our trusty muck boots and wear walking shoes. The terrain was in our favor, and gently rising slopes gave way to flat areas before heading up to the next rise. Soon enough and with cameras raised, we caught our first glimpses of these magnificent mammals. The animals were unperturbed, and we gingerly moved closer. A second barrage of photos was launched. Satisfied that we had captured a few decent images, we could now afford to look through our binoculars and just enjoy this privileged encounter. There was a yearling among this small herd. Suddenly, they headed off at a steady run for higher ground.
We split into smaller groups, each with different objectives, and headed off to enjoy the countryside, plants, lichens, shed feathers, old bones, frozen patches of water, fox traps, and whatever else we encountered along the way. It was an extraordinary morning, and we enjoyed a wonderful and delicious sushi lunch to replenish the tank. Comfortably seated, we chatted away about the morning’s experience.
In the meantime, the ship set sail down Alpefjord for our afternoon destination, which was a Zodiac cruise along a glacier front. As we approached the impressive Sefstrøm Gletscher, we sighted two flocks of ducks, long-tailed ducks and common eiders. In the background, the seracs jutted up into the sky and glistened under the bright sunshine.
The Zodiac cruises were marvelous. We slowly cruised from one end of the glacier face with several caves. We passed lots of colorful ice, including pieces etched with cracked surfaces. All about us, we heard the crackle and pop as the pressure from the trapped air bubbles burst free from their icy captivity to return to the atmosphere from whence they came a long time ago. We continued to travel along the face of the glacier, taking a sharp right turn where the highest part of the face was situated. At the end of the glacier face, we were taken aback by a snaky moraine that came down the slope before making a big and lovely sweep to where the moraine meets sea water. During this portion of the cruise, we were in deep shadow, and with that, there was a sharp drop in temperature.
We returned happy, content, and with full stomachs. Along the way, we came across a group of exceedingly friendly Vikings who invited us to enjoy beverages and barbecued sausages. Once we returned to the ship, we warmed up with a sauna or a good old cup of tea before heading for cocktails and recap. The evening light was as marvelous as it was at the start of the day. Many of us interrupted our dinner to capture one more memorable image from this great day in East Greenland.