Saturday, August 01, 2009

Lifelong goals

It has been one of my lifelong goals to see a glacier in action, and I got to do just that today. That I got to witness a glacier from the deck of Precipice is a bonus.

Last night I had Deb call the Danish Naval base and ask if we could use their dock. They not only let us use the dock, but they also gave me a weather briefing, and ice report, and to top it off they let us use a shower! We went for a walk near the housing by the base and got invited in for a drink. The people who live near the base should be in a movie. One of them, John, used to be in the Navy thirty years ago but he married a local gal and never left. He is apparently famous for his rock collecting ability. He is also most certainly a little crazy. He spent about an hour showing the girls rocks by having them smash them apart to see what is inside. We enjoyed getting to know another group of very friendly people who don't get many visitors. The Danish base here was originally built by the Americans during WWII to protect the nearby chrysolite mine. Chrysolite is a mineral that is used in the production of aluminum. During the war it was the sole source of chrysolite for the allies without which anything aluminum (mostly airplanes) could not be built. The US stationed 4000 troops here. After the war the base was given to the Danes who turned it into their central naval station. The mine continued to be used until 1987 when it was mined out and closed down.

Today we sailed to the end of the fjord and spent about an hour watching chunks of ice fall off the face of the glacier and explode from the force of the compressed bubbles inside. While we were watching a semi trailer size piece of ice popped up from underneath the glacier. We were a little surprised, but half the glacier is under the water.

On our way back down the fjord, a pair of research scientists studying the nearby river and glacier invited us over for coffee. Their small hut was on the shore of the fjord. We would have loved to, but there was no place to anchor or tie up our boat near them because the walls of the fjord were nearly vertical, and the water 30 meters (90ft) deep. We had to turn down the offer. We did learn though that the glacier used to be several miles further down the fjord 20 years ago. I am sure Al Gore has this in his notebook already.

For the afternoon, we went and tied up at the old mining town and went snooping around the old buildings that are still in pretty good shape. When I was a kid, my dad took me to an abandoned mining town on our way to Alaska. It was good to take my girls on a little exploring adventure into old mining buildings with old equipment rusting away in silence. We walked about 10k around the town. We then sailed a couple of hours to a little anchorage in the next fjord over where we plan to spend the night before making the next jump north.

Rolland for the Trowbridge Family

No comments: