Quick Before It Melts: A Cruise Blog

I was flying back from an assignment in Turkey in June 2016.  I follow the route of the plane on the monitor attached to the back of the seat in front of me as I read my book.  I saw we were approaching the East Coast of Greenland so opened my window shade, probably to the annoyance of the people around me watching movies, and … Continue reading Quick Before It Melts: A Cruise Blog

Cruise Coda

I listen into other’s conversations.  I can’t help it, it’s part of my reporter’s training, just like I scan the desk of anyone’s office I walk into, the walls as well, what types of pictures, awards, souvenirs or sports memorabilia are on the walls or shelves.  What books?  It tells me something about the person that may be useful to the story, add some color … Continue reading Cruise Coda

Final Sailout

Sail out from the final port was a bitter sweet occasion, both because it was the leaving of our last port of call, and because of the head cold.  But sail out was a scenic occasion.  Not only did we pass under the three Forth bridges, but we went past the aircraft carrier “Prince of Wales” in the construction dock, under the Forth bridges, and … Continue reading Final Sailout

A Fortunate Alternate

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom, September 6, 2017:  Rosyth is a former Royal Navy base, now a privatized port.  It’s just up the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.  While it’s no longer a military base a huge carrier “The Prince of Wales” is being built in her yards. I was feeling badly enough last night that we decided to not set an alarm and … Continue reading A Fortunate Alternate

Orkney Wireless Museum

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  What do you do in Kirkwell, Orkney Islands on a wet and windy day? Visit the Orkney Wireless Museum, of course! It is one of those delightfully cluttered and chaotic museums that invite exploration. There are all sorts of radios, and other somewhat related things, like jukeboxes, phonographs, and, WWII memorabilia.    The World War II stuff is … Continue reading Orkney Wireless Museum

A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

  Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  According to our Norwegian Sea Captain, Dag, Kirkwall is from the old Norse meaning “Church Harbor.”  The town is best known for St. Magnus Cathedral but the town was named for the earlier St. Ofav’s Cathedral.  This year Kirkwall is commemorating the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Magnus, Jarl (Earl) of Orkney and the 880 … Continue reading A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

Unexpected Sea Day

Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, Sept 3, 2017:  As Prinsendam pulled out of Reykjavik the PA chimes alerted us to a message.  It started normally for a sail out with the Captain on mic, “This is your disembodied voice from the Bridge, Captain Dag.”  But there was a tone in his voice that told us that we were in for some bad news, and he delivered it.  … Continue reading Unexpected Sea Day

Reykjavik

If you want to get to Iceland before it’s discovered, too late.  While we found the Eastern, Northern and Western fjords of Iceland pleasantly un-trampled Reykjavik, which is a tidy little city, is overrun.  While we were in port we saw 5 other ships, all of them larger than Prinsendam, come in and out.  And that is not to mention all the Icelandair stopover packages … Continue reading Reykjavik

Cold Mist, Hot Mist and the Mother of Parliaments

Reykjavik, Iceland, August 31:  The “Golden Circle” was an invention of, I am told, Icelandic Airlines. The original low-cost pioneer.  It was licensed to fly people to and from Iceland, however the flight from New York to Keflevik would renumber and become a flight from Keflevik to Luxembourg, or wherever.  It flew prop planes into the 1970s, sometimes having to stop to refuel not only … Continue reading Cold Mist, Hot Mist and the Mother of Parliaments

“Become Ocean”

John Luther Adams, a composer who spent most of his professional life in Alaska, won the Pulitzer prize for his composition “Become Ocean” an orchestral piece performed by the Seattle Symphony.  The peace is about the Greenland Ice sheet becoming ocean as the bergs drop into the sea and raise its levels. You can listen on Spotify, it is a powerful and moving piece.  I … Continue reading “Become Ocean”

An Accidental Cruise Port

Aappilattoq, Greenland,  August 29, 2017: Aappilattoq is a village at the entrance to Prins Christian Sund.  Prinsendam called at a few days ago to deliver pizza.  Today we returned.  The Captain had arranged for a limited shore visit.  He set it up so that those who thought themselves physically fit enough collected tickets with a specific time window to go ashore.  The idea was that … Continue reading An Accidental Cruise Port

500 Years and Gone.

Hvalsey, Greenland, August 27, 2008:  For twice if the United States has existed, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, almost 500 years, the Norse hung on as farmers in southern Greenland.  Then they disappeared.  There is speculation as to why.  Did they starve when the “Little ice age” set in?  Were they displaced by a people with a better technology, the Inuit who had … Continue reading 500 Years and Gone.

Stone and Man in Qaqortoq, Greenland,

Qaqortoq, Greenland, August 28, 2017:  Walking around Qaqortoq is like participating in a scavenger hunt.  In the 1990s Greenlander artist Aka Hoegh commissioned 18 Norse artists to carve reliefs into many of project is called “Stone and Man” and it is a delight.  You turn a corner and you see a hand print or a face, or a fish or whale.  Sometimes you go by … Continue reading Stone and Man in Qaqortoq, Greenland,

A Fountain in the Center of South Greenland.

Qaqortoq, Greenland, August 28, 2017:  Qaqortoq is three times the size of Nanortalik with half its charm.  It’s the administrative center of Southern Greenland.  It has bright painted houses, like Nanortalik but many of them are apartment buildings.  You may know it by its Danish name, Julianehab.  It does have its strong points like friendly people, public art, the first fountain in Greenland, educational institutions, … Continue reading A Fountain in the Center of South Greenland.

“Nearer My God to Thee” and Icebergs

August 27, 2017, Nanortalik, Greenland:  Nanortalik is the southernmost town in Greenland, it has about 1,300 people, which makes it a pretty big town for Greenland.  Lonely Planet says it is magnificent with soaring mountains surrounding the town.  This Sunday the fog hangs pretty low allowing us to concentrate on the village and not the surroundings. Nanortalik was founded in 1797 as a trading post … Continue reading “Nearer My God to Thee” and Icebergs

Prins Christian Sund Redux

I would wager that not many of you have been through Prins Christian Sund.  I would also wager that some of you will never go through the Sund.  If you do it will be different, with changing weather, day to day, and changing climate that may drive some of the glaciers further back away from sea water.  Finally, I take a lot of pics.  The … Continue reading Prins Christian Sund Redux

Pizza Delivery and Old Whalers’ Drawings.

I may be riding on the most expensive pizza delivery truck in the world.  We were cruising through Prince Christian Sound in southern Greenland, approaching the village of Aappilattoq, a town of around 200 people.  The Captain came on the PA system and told him we were stopping to deliver pizza and coke to the town.  As boats from the town came out to meet … Continue reading Pizza Delivery and Old Whalers’ Drawings.

Waterfalls, Tunnels and Sustainable Fisheries.

According to Lonely Planet Isafjordur in the Westfjord country is best known for its folk museum and for a tunnel that has a “T” intersection in the middle.  One part of the T goes to the town of Sudureri and the other goes one fjord further to Tingeyri.  From Isafjordur to the T is two way, from the T toward Sudureri and Tingeyri it is … Continue reading Waterfalls, Tunnels and Sustainable Fisheries.

Where North America and Europe Drift Apart

We berthed in Akureuri, which styles itself “The Capital of the North.”  Akureuri, Iceland’s second city, sits at the head of the Eyjafjorur, a 60 mile long arm of water reaching into the interior of Iceland from the Arctic Ocean.  It gives Akureuri a transitional climate between maritime and interior.   We didn’t make more than a nodding acquaintance with Akureuri because we decided to take … Continue reading Where North America and Europe Drift Apart

Aluminium and Fish, Eskifjordur, Iceland,

You approach Eskifjordur by sailing down the Reydarfjord until you see a big aluminum smelter.  A small fjord, Eskifjord, branches off to the starboard.  At the end of that small fjord you see some gleaming white fuel tanks.  This is Eskifjordur.  The water is almost completely still and reflects the mountains.  As you approach the fuel tanks, where Prinsendam will dock, you see, stretched out … Continue reading Aluminium and Fish, Eskifjordur, Iceland,

Isolation depends on your point of view.

They call themselves isolated.  They sit in the Atlantic between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, somewhere around 50,000 people on 17 or 18 islands.  But to me they are fully connected.  They have weekly ferry service to Denmark, Scotland and Iceland and about 10 flights in and out each day, several a day to Denmark but also to Iceland, the UK, Norway and Spain.  To me … Continue reading Isolation depends on your point of view.

The King’s Farmer

Johannes Patursson is a “King’s Farmer.”  His family has been farming the same land at Kirkjubour in the Faroe Islands for 17 generations, since the Reformation.  Kirkjubour, on Steymoy Island, is a town of a little over 200.   It was founded near a beach where a lot of driftwood ended up, which made the land valuable because the Faroe Islands have no trees.  It is … Continue reading The King’s Farmer

Torshavn, Faroe Islands.

Torshavn, Faroe Islands,  August 21, 2017:  Holland America assured us that they loved whales but wanted to warn us.  “Holland America expressly disassociates itself from whaling.  We cannot control the cultural of the areas of the world to which we travel.”  The line told us that if anyone had booked a tour through Holland America and wanted to cancel it and not go ashore they … Continue reading Torshavn, Faroe Islands.