Finally the day has come for kicking off the first leg of Sailing to Siku – our voyage to the Last Ice Area.
The crew for the first leg – nature photographer Thorsten Milse, researcher Tim Dowson, biology student and interpreter Sascha Schioett and myself, Greenland Policy Officer with WWF Denmark, travelled to Upernavik, Greenland for our first meeting with the Arctic Tern and its crew, already onboard.
Sunny and calm weather with temperatures around 8 C gave us a very pleasant introduction to Upernavik. From the airstrip overshadowing the town from the island’s central hilltop, we saw the harbor and the Arctic Tern, our home for the next 16 days.
With all our gear onboard Grant, Pascale and Valentine, the Students on Ice boat crew, gave us an introduction to life onboard a sailing boat – how to deal with a ‘man overboard’ emergency, how to fight a fire onboard and or to evacuate the boat if necessary. More importantly we learned that life on board the Arctic Tern includes good coffee and snacks and that a very nice dinner can be prepared with Greenland Halibut, a tad of white wine, a few fresh carrots and potatoes and lots of spices.
We discussed the days ahead and decided to start with only 3 miles on the first day, taking us to the north-east shore of Upernavik island. Here Tim had was excited to have identified an inlet containing a salt marsh, early this morning – with the help of the midnight sun.