On the eastern side of the entrance to Sermilik fjord on the Greenland east coast, there is a small deserted Inuit village called Ikateq. Population: zero.
The trip there took about 4 hours, from Amassalik. Getting into the small bay that would be our harbour took almost 2 hours more. There are no useful maps in Greenland so we had to do everything oldschool. That means sending in the dinghy first with a weight and a bit of string, to measure the depth all the way into the harbour. Besides depth worries there was a lot of Ice around, three major glaciers feed into the Sermilik Fjord
While we would have appreciated better maps we also strangely appreciated the fact that there were none. It all adds to the feeling of achievment or exploration – “we will do it not because it is easy – but because it is hard” as one great man once said about a similar trip.
Having safely anchored in a small sheltered bay we went on land and explored the deserted village. It seemed as if the scheduled desertion of the place had come as a great surprise. People had left their dishes , clothes, candles ready to be lit – even guns and ammo ready to be used. The church organ was still fully functional and there were schoolbooks on the desks in the small school. A weird experience indeed, as if a mini-Tschernobyl had happened here and we had never heard about it.
Arriving to Amassalik, our first stop in Greenland never felt like a special thing – it is another small city with a supermarket, a bar, a tourist information and omnipresent alcoholism. It is a charming place, but not what we came for.
In Ikateq, there is no mobile reception, no people, no electric light to be seen anywhere – just the steady stream of massively huge icebergs flowing through the fjord, the occasional deep thunder when one of them break into several.
If someone had asked me about my hopes and expectations before I went to Greenland, I would surely have described a scene not too different from what we got.
Safely moored in Amassalik.
Landfall Iktaeq, armed in case of hungry polar bears!
The very reason we came to Greenland. Alone surrounded by nature!