Wednesday, September 12, 2007, Scenic Cruising in Prins Christian Sund, Greenland. As had been announced we entered the eastern end of Prins Christian Sund on the southern end of Greenland at 8:00 AM. Prins Christian Sund is a channel between the mainland of Greenland and the island Sanmisoq. The Greenlandic name is Ikerasassuaq meaning the long channel. There are many islands, large and small, in this area with a complex network of narrow channels and fjords.
From a handout ©Jon Vidar Sigurdsson 2007 provided on the ship: "The southern tip of Greenland is Cape Farewell on the island Itivdleq. The Greenlandic name is Nunaap Isua meaning 'the lands end.' Instead of sailing past Cape Farewell it is possible to make a shortcut through the channels. This is however only possible from midsummer until late autumn because the sea is blocked with pack-ice at other times. Sailing through this remote wonderland of steep granite mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and icebergs is a privilege that few people get to enjoy. The rugged landscape was formed by carving glaciers during the Ice age."
At its most narrow point the Sund is only 1570 feet wide. Grand Princess has a breadth of 118 feet so we had room to spare, but it sure looked tighter than that at a couple of spots. The mountains on either side of the channel are up to 5000 feet high. We spent most of the day slowly sailing through some 66 miles of channel and fjords.
Carol had determined it would be too chilly to enjoy the view from anywhere outside so she and Joyce staked out a spot in Skywalker's Lounge, high atop the rear of the ship. From there they/we would have a good view of both sides looking aft down our wake. Jim and I joined them until we got into the Sund whereupon we headed for the open decks in order to get better pictures than we would get through the dirty, tinted glass in Skywalker's. Carol and Joyce held their place all day, fighting off attacks from latecomers who wanted to horn in. Jim and I occasionally returned to rest and warm up from our time on deck.
It was cool and windy during most of our passage. After we had been out awhile Jim and I both returned to our rooms to add some clothes. He also loaned me a pair of gloves as I had forgotten to bring any on the trip. I had started the day in a t-shirt, flannel shirt, hooded sweatshirt, and light jacket. I added another sweatshirt and a nylon hooded windbreaker. I also slipped some nylon athletic pants over my blue jeans. After that I stayed reasonably warm while I was outside, but Joyce said I looked like the Michelin Man.
As we entered the Sund we saw the Ikearasassuaq weather station on our port side. Five people stay there year round and they were all out on the rocks to watch us and take some pictures as we passed them. The station was established in WW2.
After our long, fairly straight passage through Prins Christian Sund we had to make some hard turns into various other passages to make our way through to the west. We passed by Aappilattoq, the only settlement in the network of fjords and channels. Surrounded by steep rock walls and water it is impossible to walk more than 1.2 miles from the village without coming to a dead end. It is one of the most remote villages in Greenland and has about 150 residents. The only way in or out is by boat or by helicopter and the boats can only make it from July until late autumn. When we paused off the village shore several of the residents came out by boat to circle the ship and wave at us. Many others were watching from the rocks around the village.
We spent the day from 8 AM until 6 PM cruising slowly through these channels and fjords. At times when we were abreast of a glacier or the one village along our route we came to a full stop for short periods. The scenery throughout our passage was beautiful and we experience rain, mist, overcast, and partly cloudy skies at various times throughout the day. As we emerged on the west side the skies cleared and it was beautiful.