West Greenland - Day 16
While packing my tent the next morning I heard a loud splash. I was surprised as the weather was nice and there weren’t any large waves. Not thinking much of it I continued packing, but then discovered what had been making the noise. There was a whale swimming close to the shore. By the time I had my camera ready it was too far away to take a good photo, but I was still very happy to have seen it.
Later I continued paddling along the shore. It was very foggy and there were jellyfish everywhere. It felt nice to be secluded by the fog. A bit later the sun came out and I was closer to the open sea, although I kept close to the shoreline. Suddenly I noticed several whales diving in the distance. For about half an hour they would occasionally come up at various places. I am pretty sure it were humpback whales, as I could see their huge tail fins when they dove.
It was difficult to take nice pictures from my packraft while going up and down the waves, so I only have a few black spots to show for it. Nonetheless, I felt really privileged to paddle among whales all by myself. About an hour later I passed a cabin, but there was nobody there. I was getting closer to Maniitsoq and there were likely more boats around.
I passed another huge fjord and could see the glacier leading into it. At the other shore I decided to try to take a nice picture of me paddling, as that was usually near impossible to do. After only 20+ attempts I succeeded. From there I continued by foot. The terrain was pretty open and level, with fortunately not too many scrubs.
I ended up in a bay with several rivers running into it. The rivers were too large to cross by foot so I ended up inflating my packraft again. On several days I used it 4 times. I got out after the first river to take some photos of the nearby lake. It was a narrow mountain lake hidden in between two long mountains.
Later I paddled to the second river. As I still had a few days left, I had planned to hike up this river’s valley and attempt to cross over the adjacent mountain. If that turned out to be impossible I would use my packraft to follow the shore. The river was spread out into a huge swampy tidal area with many rivers that I crossed by foot. During my Iceland hike I usually took my shoes off when crossing rivers, but this trip I always kept them on. Partly out of fear of losing my shoes or getting hurt, but also because my feet didn’t seem to be bothered by walking in wet shoes. It always took 1-2 days to fully dry them afterwards.
It was clear that this valley wouldn’t be easy to cross. The river was about waist deep and very slowly flowing, but everything was covered in a fine mud and there were many sandbanks. The shores were steep and covered in loose rocks. Due to the steep mountains the valley was also continuously blocked from the sun and relatively cold. After about an hour I had still only travelled half a kilometer and decided this would be too risky, even if I could reach the end of the river by struggling through mud for hours there would be too many loose rocks to safely climb the mountain. Instead, I walked along the shore and camped on top of a large hill with a nice view over the nearby islands. I could also see the one with Maniitsoq, but not the village itself.