Friday, 2 September 2011

Ammassalik, Greenland - one fjord, three hamlets, ice wonders

Ammassalik Fjord is a 41 km long fjord in southeastern Greenland.

Coordinates: 65°43'N, 37°42' W

The fjord area has become one of the top attractions in Greenland, due to the fabulous sceneries of iced mountains and waters, and the colourful houses cascading downhill to the fjord's waters. Also kayaking and dog sledding excursions have a growing demand.

There are three settlements in the vicinity of the fjord: Tasiilaq, Kulusuk and Kuummiut:

The Ammassalik fjord area

Ammassalik island

The main settlement of the archipelago, Tasiilaq, is located in Ammassalik island, just south of the mouth of the Fjord, approximately 106 km south of the Arctic Circle, on the shore of a natural harbour. Tasiilaq is surrounded by the high Ammassalik mountains, away from the open sea...

Late afternoon, with view over the Kong Oscar Havn and the mountains

With almost 2000 inhabitants, it is the most populous community on the eastern coast, and the seventh-largest town in Greenland. It slopes like a cascade of coloured houses down to the fjord's waters packed with icebergs.

House with a view on Ammassalik mountain and the fjord

Tasiilaq has a museum of inuit arts and History, a hotel and other facilities, and it has a strategic harbour - Kong Oscar Havn - where goods are brought by special supply cargos from Royal Arctic Line.

The old church, now a Museum

Bench decoration inside the church

Ivory decorated box

receives supply ships only between June and September, because for the rest of the year the pack ice is too thick for ships to reach the port. The supply ship from Arctic Line unloads at Kong Oskars Havn. Supplies are vital to the inhabitants, so the arrival of the year's first cargo ship has been waited for long.

Further to the southeast of the mouth, the village of Kulusuk

Kulusuk family and their sledge
The typical many-coloured houses, imported from Denmark

Kulusuk ( pop. 300 ) is situated on the East coast, at 65º N. A truly remarkable place, because of its hostile nature and the fact that it has been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries.

But now the settlement is more visited for its airport, the most important of the East coast, and for being the departing point for several excursions by kayak, dog sled or helicopter.

The airport terminal and the local "taxi"

The airport also provides supplies, and brings danish teachers and medical staff who give basic assistance to the mostly inuit inhabitants.

The local hotel has conquered some reputation among ice-adventure tourists. As the other settlements in Ammassalik, Kulusuk remains relatively immune to Western influence despite the regular influx of tourists.

Hotel Kulusuk, an ideal location for ice adventure

The village of Kuummiut lays on the shores of Ammassalik fjord, located on the eastern coast of its central part, perched on the tip of a partially glaciated mainland peninsula, like a perfect jewel in the fjord.

Here is the link to a blog with wondeful photos by Carl Skou, a danish teacher who's working there since 2000:

Kuummiut in January's sun, by Carl Skou

Sometime ago, I also published this small post related to this subject.

Reflections on the fjord's waters, Kuummiut

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Irene over New York

Oh Irene ! What a woman - she left New Yorkers' heads spinning round!

Well, almost nothing then. But what a beauty she was, all that whiteness swirling as seen from the sky above...

Photo NASA