West Greenland - Day 13
The next morning the water was a bit calmer. I decided to first try out the sheltered bay, and only if that felt safe venture into the open water. After that also felt safe I continued my trip. The water wasn’t super calm but it was safe. The wind was also blowing me away from the glaciers which meant the water kept getting calmer. Within the span of half an hour I went from high winds to nearly no wind at all, it was really surprising how much the landscape affected the currents and winds.
In the calm water and with the rear wind I quickly covered many kilometers. I needed to cross the fjord today, which I managed at a narrow and calm section. This was still about 1.5 kilometer wide. Closer to the other shore I saw the first person in 11 days. It was an Inuit in a canoe, taking a rest on the shore. With my camera on full zoom he is just visible in the 2nd photograph below, I don’t know if he saw me. I think he was about 300-400 meters away. A while later I saw a fishing boat, again far away.
The first person I saw in 11 days
I was now approaching another section of the fjord were several smaller fjords and glaciers combined. The wind was not as high as before, but as I was getting closer to the open sea the current and waves were definitely picking up. At the first place where I could get out of the water I did, but it still took about half an hour to reach it. I took a long break and contemplated what to do.
It was still about 11 km to the place where I intended to leave the fjord, of which 4 km were in a large bay where the water would likely be calm. At my current pace it would nonetheless take a while to paddle the first 7 km which, just wouldn’t be safe under these conditions. Instead, I found an area on the map where I might be able to get out of the water sooner and then walk to the bay over a plateau in the surrounding mountains.
This was still about 2.5 kilometers away, but seemed the best option as waiting the required 3 or 4 days for the weather to get better wasn’t really an option. Because of the glacial winds I don't think the water is ever fully calm there. Back in my packraft the waves were high and paddling went slow, but by staying close to the shore I didn't feel too unsafe. After an hour I reached my target area and was happy to get off the water. In many places the cliffs ran up to the water, but there was a small level area and a way to climb uphill. On top, I reached a swampy plateau in between higher peaks, there was way more green this close to the sea and also many more mosquitoes.
About two thirds over the plateau I found a place to camp near a small lake. I was glad I finished paddling the fjord. The landscapes during the past few days had been very pretty, and on the sunny days it was really relaxing to be on the water, but the sections with bad weather had been more dangerous than I intended. The next few days I would be traveling by foot again.