Still life

East Greenland offers extremes. In early winter, hurricanes of 140 knots or 260 kph blast down from the 10,000′ icecap destroying anything not bolted down or concreted in. But in the height of summer, the air can be breathless calm and the fjords as still as a mirror. This picture by a Tasmanian sea kayaker revealsContinue reading “Still life”

Last polar hunters

While this intriguing photo from the turn of the century may look dramatic, what we are seeing is truly incredible people who typically are very intelligent and incredibly adaptable. They designed remarkably complex frames for high-performance hunting kayaks using only driftwood and sinew as raw materials. These kayaks were covered with a tight-fitting cloth made from scraped sealskins assembled using anContinue reading “Last polar hunters”

Old and new

Traditional Greenland costume, involving many thousands of beads and winter bleached skins, would probably take half a year to make. These wonderful women from Tasiilaq, East Greenland, are probably dressed up to celebrate Greenland’s national day, celebrated on 21st June, the day of the summer solstice. The original East Greenland costume was much plainer than this,Continue reading “Old and new”

Silent and Deadly

Icebergs are like the Sirens of Odysseus, drawing inexperienced kayakers in far too close. In photos, the bergs always look so beautifully serene and majestic.  But in reality, their deep fins are being eroded quickly by sea currents, sculpted into grotesque shapes, and they can capsize at any moment. The visible ice, above the water, isContinue reading “Silent and Deadly”

First European

Danish Naval Lieutenant Gustav Holm was the first European explorer to reach the tiny hunting settlement of Ammassalik, in 1884, travelling in traditional skin umiaks and qajaqs. The tribe he discovered was on the verge of extinction because of two bad seasons without seals, meaning no substantial food and no skins to repair their boats or tents.Continue reading “First European”