Voyage of the Vikings

July - August, 2013

Qaqortoq, Greenland

July 19 - Weather: Cloudy, windy, hi temp around 40

Today we were supposed to be in port at Qaqortoq (pronounced  cork-a-talk),  a small island near the southern tip of Greenland.  We were getting pretty good at pronouncing it, but around 8:45 am the captain announced that there was too much ice and fog for us to go there.  He said we would try for Nanortalik, a port scheduled for the return trip.  At lunchtime, as we were skirting some large chunks of ice, he announced that plan B would not work either, so he was going to to try to reach Prins Christian Sund today.  The passage is so narrow that the ships are not able to turn around if there is too much ice.  Around 4 o'clock, captain Pieter Bos (he looks like Leslie Nielson) said we would not be entering the sund today but he will position the ship to cruise it tomorrow if weather permits.  Jay got some good pictures of the rugged Greenland coast.  A bizarre thing happened today.  Last night we almost turned the cabin upside down looking for Barbara's small purse for formal night.  It was truly a mystery.  She had a dream about where it was and got up this morning and found it in seconds.  Her concussed brain is truly weird.

At Sea

July 20 - Weather:  Rainy, windy, hi temp in upper 40s (turned clocks ahead 1 hour last night)

The captain woke up some passengers when he announced we could stay in bed, as we weren't going to be able to go to Prins Christian Sund today.  We went to hear a lecture on humpback whales, which was very interesting.  It turns out the lecturer is a fellow from Ottawa that we had dinner with a few nights ago.  His name is Jim McParland and he's traveling with his daughter Charlotte.  He told us that the 30 minute time changes in Canada are mainly about publicity.  A few facts about humpbacks: the average female weighs about 90,000 pounds, their hearts are about the size of a VW and the male sexual organ is about 2 meters long.  There have been some whale sightings on this cruise but we haven't been fortunate enough to see any.  Played Name That Tune tonight with Judy and a young couple (40s?) from Switzerland.  Had fun but no chance of winning, as one team had a perfect score--even knew an obscure song called Bridget the Midget.

We almost made it to Qaqortoq


Near entrance to Prins Christian Sund

At Sea

July 21 - Weather:  Foggy, hi temp in upper 40s

There's nothing to see today--the fog is so thick the foghorn is sounding every 2 minutes.  We are almost at the Arctic Circle at 65° latitude.  We went to hear Location Guide Barbara's talk about the Vikings--hadn't known that they tried to sack Constantinople.  When they failed, they started a lucrative trade with the Turks.  Jim McParland's talk was about the natural history of Iceland.  The island is only 18 million years old (the continents pulled apart 250 million years ago).  Iceland is being torn apart by the Icelandic Rift.  Jim said that there are signs that a volcanic eruption will happen soon and that if we're lucky we'll see it.  Barbara went to watch our trivia teammate Candee compete in the cha cha in Dancing With the Stars at Sea.  Very complicated dance, but she and her partner came in second.  Tonight we played Name That Tune again and were lucky to have a guy named Tom on our team.  We won because he knew almost every top Billboard hit, and the artist, for each month in 1968.  Jay and Barbara were pathetic.  We skipped the ball tonight.

The Iceland Rift (Jim McParland's talk)

The Sports Deck at 9:30 PM -  The sun will set at 11:43

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