Then and Now – Nanortalik

…and somewhere to sit

Advertisements

In 1971 Nanortalik was a delightful little town – except that we spent three weeks there waiting for the ship with our food and equipment to penetrate the dense coastal pack ice. We had expected to be there for perhaps three days. But we made do. We ate the construction canteen out of food. We moved into an empty house. We got jobs mixing cement. We had philosophical discussions late into the night. And we walked all over the island constructing an elaborate decimal hill-identifying scheme that started with Hills 1, 2 and 3 and proceeded to Hill 1.5 and Hill 1.75 etc.

One of the best viewpoints was located at this boulder on Hill 1, looking across to Sermersoq Island.   In 2016 what appears to be the same boulder appears in a post from our Arctic Adventures guide Ida Nordkvist Permin.

Ida-Nanortalik-2016sm 800

(The earlier Then and Now – Coastal Transport, has also been updated with 2017 information)

IGW

Some books make memories…

…and what I’m reading now

Reading What Makes a Mountain Beautiful?,  reminded me that my expedition diary contained an annotated list of the books I  had read.  The list reveals that among the books outside the light fiction category, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s First Circle got a rave review – though I remember nothing of it. Also, rated “good in patches”, was Gog by Andrew Sinclair and Bram Stoker’s Dracula was enjoyed. Aldoux Huxley’s Brave New World didn’t fare so well getting a comment of  “interesting rubbish”! Payment Deferred by C S Forrester was recorded as “disappointing”. Continue reading “Some books make memories…”

What Makes a Mountain Beautiful?

Books are essential items for expeditions. I would like to say I remember all the books I read on the expedition but I don’t. Six books are mentioned in my diary. One, “The Poetry and Prose of Gerard Manley Hopkins” was lent to me by John (I think). Gerard Manley Hopkins was a nineteenth century Jesuit poet and the few verses of his that I have read are very seriously religious and uninspiring. However some of his prose interested me. “On The Origin of Beauty: a Platonic Dialogue” being one. I do not recall all the dialogue but I do remember that it began by examining whether a six-leafed chestnut tree fan was more beautiful than a seven-leafed fan. The seven-leafed fan was seen to be more handsome even though it was less symmetrical than the six-leafed. So was beauty some complex mix of symmetry and asymmetry or in more general terms regularity and irregularity? Continue reading “What Makes a Mountain Beautiful?”

Climbing in his sleep….

…or the summit of sartorial statements?

It’s strange what you remember after all these years, especially when it comes to matters of detail. This photo was taken from the summit of Croomble, a peak to the north of the col between Taserssuaq and Kangerdluk inlet.  The view is south-east, towards the Ilua fjord region. Continue reading “Climbing in his sleep….”

Going to land?

Phil recalls an earlier flight from 1965

It just didn’t seem right. Our aircraft had been losing height and was now descending in a wide sweeping spiral. No reason was given for this behaviour. What on earth was going on?  Ahead the pack ice was drifting down the east coast of Greenland and glistening in the sunlight under a startlingly blue sky. We were dropping steadily down towards a hostile sea packed with a jumbled jigsaw of broken ice floes and dotted with icebergs drifting calmly southward. Continue reading “Going to land?”

The Power of Maps

…and a really famous Belgian

She didn’t even have a fancy cartouche¹. A few simple words was all it took. “Norse ruins” in the map legend got us going; the sight of “Norse church ruin” and we were done for. For she was telling us that there were items of possible interest all around, demanding to be located and investigated. Little did I know that my vulnerability to seduction-by-map would last a lifetime and that at various times it would drive me into the arms of libraries for lengthy periods of study. For I was a would-be mathematician, with little need for libraries and what they contained. How wrong I was. Continue reading “The Power of Maps”