Saturday, 7 May 2016

Tiniteqilaaq (or Tiilerilaaq), on the Arctic Circle, a small village on Greenland's east coast.

The Greenlandic region of Ammassalik has possibly the most stunning landscapes on the east coast. The fjords of Ammassalik and Sermilik, and the small colourful towns of Tasiilaq (1), Kulusuk (2) and Kuummiut, compose incredibly amazing sceneries.

Tiniteqilaq is just a smaller and inner village on the Sermilik fjord, rather difficult to access except by helicopter.

Tiniteqilaaq - Tinit colloquially - is just some 40 km North of Tasiilaq, the main settlement in Ammassalik. Tiniteqilaaq has a wonderful location on the shore of the large Sermilik fjord, and at 65º N it pratically sits on the Polar Circle.

A handful of small wooden houses, some painted in vivid colours, perched on an ice slope overlooking the fjord.

Tiniteqilaaq (=Tiilerilaaq)

Coordinates: 65 ° 53' N, 37 ° 46' W.
Population : ~150-200

Light and snow, the sun and the quiet water surface, all together play constant games like a painter composing new watercolors. Houses are just one more element.

The people in Tiniteqilaaq still live mainly on hunting and fishing; dogsleds are their main means of dislocation and main work tool, together with a small boat or kayak..

A small recent improvement to ease daily life was a "Pilersuisoq" shop offering basic food and clothing, as well as fishing and hunting equipment.

Sleds are the main transport on the hard ice.

The village hall.

The village hall (Kalaaleq) is used as a kindergarten for 12 children, and in the afternoon also for leisure like reading or traditional dances. There is also a small school and a guesthouse cabin. The growing tourism is the only new income source.

The deep isolation is overcome mostly by helicopter, at Tasiilaq heliport, and in summer by the local ship  MS Johanna Kristina once a week.

Another possibility is the nearest airport at Kulusuk, at 42 km, a distance that can only be covered by private transport. In winter when the fjords are frozen, dogsled or snowmobile can run to Tinit in a several hours trip.

When the sunlight warms, though just a little... 

In Summer, people come from far away to see the whales and the narwhals, frequent visitors of the Sermilik fjord.

Through the short warm season, some flowering plants and berry fruits help the feeling of  renewal.

Wild crowberries are an important source of vitamines.

Local delicacy: vanilla cream with macaroon and fresh crowberries. You can't just have seal day after day.

A very sad note is the highest rate of suicide in all Greenland, one of the highest in the world. No one has a full explanation for that, suicides taking place usually in spring when the sun returns. Tragically, most are male inuits in their youth, who perhaps miss some social life, as they watch on TV in other countries, or perhaps they feel disoriented between tradition (hunting family) and the modern mode of life, more individual and technology-oriented. In some cases chain reaction plays a role too. But why do girls react differently?

Why, with all that sublime beauty?

The Pilersuisoq shop, at left, under the midnight sun.

(1)(2) For more on Tasiilaq and Kulusuk, see here