Tag Archives: greenland

Worldwide Swimming – Pt 1.

Recent extreme water-sports up in (surprisingly) sunny Greenland got me thinking. Maybe I could try and reach into the recesses of my memory to come up with accounts of my most unusual, interesting and enjoyable swims I’ve had around the world – a ‘Top World-Swims’, if you like. For swimming – or mere bathing, or just plain getting into bodies of water besides those in a hotel room bathtub – I’ve done rather a lot of, in all sorts of far-flung weird-and-wonderful locations…

Taking dips: it’s an interesting topic – especially now during the summer season of R&R, beaching & resorting, and the attendant water-based activities is upon us. For maybe some of you are near pools, lakes, seas or oceans right now and may be in danger of missing the very best spots – as attested to by Yours Truly. So, without more of a do, let’s get these aquatics started.

All righty. The plan here is as follows: I’ll be telling you only about swimming/bathing in natural water bodies. Mega swimming pools, aqua parks, spas and so on won’t be included. Here it’s all about the most unusual organic bathing experiences. I’ll work across the globe from left to right, top to bottom: Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia. I’ll be missing out Antarctica as I didn’t manage to get any bathing in down there, if you can believe it :).

Oh, and btw: If anyone can see any glaring gaps to my global natural-aqua-must-swims, please don’t be shy; let us all know about them in the comments. I for one would be most grateful…

Ok. Let’s go. North America…

I’ve been to Alaska, but much like on Antarctica, I had things other than bathing on my mind. Therefore, I’ll jump straight over to Greenland, which is still technically North America…

1. Bobbing up and down among chunks of Greenlandic ice.

To swim bathe float in a Michelin-Man costume in among big chunks of floating ice and icebergs, to touch them, or even clamber up onto them, is an unforgettable experience. There’s nothing to fear: those brightly colored costumes are dry and comfortable. Only your hands get to feel the water – but even then only a bit: just a little water gets inside the mitts.

Read on: glaciers, caves and dolphins …

Greenland or Cloud Cuckoo Land?

While flying across the Atlantic recently, our special correspondent, N.Sh., sent me a bulletin in real time detailing an entirely positive item of news about transatlantic in-flight service.

I quote:

Delta – these guys are just amazing. For a mere $20 or so you can get unlimited Internet – for the whole nine hour flight!

Whoah! I’ll have to try Delta next time. Hmmm. Now where’s that post of mine about terrible transatlantic service? Ah yes – here. But that was about United. Still, they’re all the same those US airlines. However, unlimited Internet for next to nothing – that sure makes up for a lot. For if you’ve got Internet – plus an electrical socket to plug your Laptop into – there’s not much else a business traveler needs now is there?

Anyway. Back to our special correspondent…

So, like I say, he was crossing the North Atlantic. But at one point he was up above Greenland. And what did he see out the window? A green land? A white land? Actually – neither. Just white. Period…

…Nothing but thick white cloud. And he attached photographic evidence:

image3

This proves one thing. We were sooooo lucky with the weather just recently during our Greenland trip. So here’s raising a glass in the hope that next time we (and you, why not?!) are just as lucky. Not necessarily in Greenland – but wherever we may be :).

Greenland, pt. 8 – Lodgings and ‘Urban’ Scenes.

So what’s the habitation situation like for visitors in Greenland? Actually not bad at all. Decent basic hotels, cozy rooms, most of the creature comforts as you normally find in good hotels, and nice food. The only drawback I came across: Internet connection speed, and also low traffic limits.

Here’s the hotel in Nuuk we stayed at – from both outside and in…

Read on: how the Inuit live…

Greenland, pt. 6: Ice Ice Bergies:

You don’t have to go out to sea far from Ilulissat before you come across mini-bergs – quite a few reside even inside the port’s walls. From time to time they crack, break up, and/or roll over. Just as we were heading out one ‘berg did just that: it made a crackling sound, sank down under the sea, briefly paused to come to its senses, and then slowly re-emerged upside-down to give its belly a go in the sun :).

But those were mere babies. A little further out to sea were the parents – and grandparents…

Read on: Here they are, the beauts!…

Greenland, pt. 5: In the cockpit I sat – flying to Ilulissat.

Next up on our tour of Greenland – the town of Ilulissat, 550km north of Nuuk, and 200km inside the Arctic Circle. Yes, that means that in July the sun never sets, which we tested – positively – for ourselves.

There are no roads between Nuuk and Ilulissat (!), so it was back onto one of those small red planes to get up to the town. This is only a good thing as the views out the windows are spectacular – that is, if you manage to get a window seat: air tickets don’t come with an assigned seat as usual, so you have to be up front in the line. But that can be tricky, since they announce the gate number only in Danish, then English Greenlandic (again an example of Greenlandic laidbackness – but this time I wasn’t too happy about it).

We flew with a quick connection in Kangerlussuaq. And that’s where I got lucky: I was allowed to sit in the cockpit all the way to Ilulissat – sat in the third seat behind the other two :).

Read on: the rare cockpit views…

Greenland, pt. 4 – Mini-bergs and Vanished Vikings.

Get ready for lots of photos. Vast quantities of photos. For Greenland has vast quantities of natural, albeit harsh beauty: glaciers, the mountains they blanket and the icebergs that break off them.

I’ll get to glaciers and icebergs a little later, but for now, we’re off to study just ice. Not quite ‘icebergs’ but kinda mini-icebergs, micro-icebergs and nano-icebergs, which we’d already gotten a peek of in the port of Nuuk.

Read on: Fjords, iceberg climbing and… banya!

Greenland, pt. 3: A Quick Luuk Around Nuuk.

Oh my Greenland! An huuge island. It can nearly compete with whole continents on size! It’s just 3.5 times smaller than Australia. However, if the glaciers of Greenland continue to melt at their current rate, the island is going to rise up considerably once the weight of all that glacial ice is lessened. And since it’s rising faster than the level of the sea is rising, soon enough Greenland could join up with North America. They’ll have to install a land-based border with Canada before we know it!

Incidentally, the local guides here told us how dozens of years ago the height of Greenland would rise half a centimeter per year; however, last year, it rose 4.5 centimeters. Oh my Greenland, indeed!

But I’m here to tell you about something else today…

So. Here we are in the capital of Greenland – one of the smallest capital ‘cities’ in the world. Incidentally, you know what Greenland’s flag looks like? Here it is:

Greenland_1
Read on: streets, houses, landscapes…

Greenland, pt. 2 – Airports.

Kangerlussuaq. Probably the strangest international airport in the world. First off, try pronouncing it properly. Hardly slips off the tongue now does it? I had trouble with it too.

Next there’s its geographic and demographic strangeness…

Have you ever seen an international hub airport with a local population of just 500 folks? Not 500,000 – 500! Well, now I have :).

And have you ever seen an airport where for domestic flights there are no security checks whatsoever?! In you stroll, you check in, hand over your luggage, and then you can go walkabout – wherever, including back outside the airport! When your plane’s due you walk to it from wherever you are with no security hassle. A dream!

Ok. Here’s the answer to question No. 2:

Greenland is a very rocky country, and a very glacial one. So building an airport – where you need a good stretch of flat land for the runway itself plus no rockiness in the near vicinity to get in the way of airplanes’ coming in to land and taking off – is no easy task. They did find one spot however that was deemed suitable – Kangerlussuaq: a freak bit of flat bedrock sufficiently far away from the nearest cliffs. The only problem: the runway is a mere 2.8km long!

Read on: Nuuk and Ilulissat

Welcome to Greenland!

By some quirk of fate I often fly across the North Atlantic. Europe-America-Europe; sometimes Asia-America-Europe; sometimes other, more exotic combinations. Example: sometimes I get to fly over Greenland. Sometimes this is at night – so nothing to report there. Other times it’s by day, but the weather’s typically polar and the visibility’s poor. But just sometimes, very occasionally, I get lucky: jetting over Greenland when it’s sunny and panoramic…

One such time for example was in July 2012: Crazy trip, crazy plane, crazy nice weather.

grenlandiya_1

Fast forward to July 2016, and it’s crazy nice weather again up over the big green white land. But this time I wasn’t just flying over, I was to land and then stay a few days. Hurray!

Read on: inside, deeper, more and more …