Greenland - August 23, 2013
The Greenlandic word "Ilulissat" translates into English as "IcebergsA floating body of ice that has broken away from a glacier.." We experienced so many icebergs today; we could not do our planned visit to the town and the Ilulissat Icefjord. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. In 1979 home-rule was introduced to Greenland. In 2009, Greenland moved to self-rule. Some parts of Greenland's government are still tied to Denmark. They share the same currency, queen, and armed forces. Today Greenland's population is around 57,000 people and is approximately 80% Inuit. The residents speak Greenlandic, Danish and many also speak English.
The source of the icebergs that choked the Ilulissat harbor was the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This glacier is also known as the Jakobshavn Isbrae in Danish, and the Ilulissat GlacierA mass of ice that persists for many years and notably deforms and flows under the influence of gravity. in English. Some interesting facts about Sermeq Kujalleq are:
It is the fastest moving glacier in the world. It moves an average of 20 meters (66 feet) per day, but large calving events often happen.
The visible glacier front is 61 meters (200 feet) high.
The Icefjord is filled with 60 km of ice from the glacial front to the bay.
10% of all of Greenland's icebergs come from this glacier.
An iceberg from Sermeq Kujalleq sank the Titanic in 1912.
The largest calving event ever captured on film was on 5/28/08 of this glacier. It was filmed by Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski as part of the Extreme Ice Survey, and was incorporated in the "Chasing Ice" film. It lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated for one mile across a front of 3 miles.
A shift in the winds and current in the Ilulissat area brought the ice from the Icefjord into our path. This was not the case 3 weeks earlier when our ship traveled through the same area.
The thick ice prevented our ship from getting close enough to the town to drop anchor. Our plan had been to zodiac guests off of the ship into town, but this became impossible.
We were disappointed to cancel our plans for a visit to Ilulissat, but this did not deter me from capturing some fabulous images of the ice. You will see in the next journal, that the day was not lost and we experienced another wonderful area in Greenland. You must be flexible when traveling in the Arctic.