Hirbilung Fjord in Alexander Bay
The intercom system has just announced that wake-up tomorrow has been postponed by half an hour to 8am. Everyone cheered. We have a happy, but very tired, shipful of folk today. It was a wonderful day, awe-some, in its true sense. In the morning we glided down Hirbilung Fjord, sheer cliffs on both sides, glaciers and waterfalls pouring off them. It was almost too much to take in, to process. For the first half hour on deck everyone milled, took photos, chatted, gaped… but what to do after that? How to take this in? Spontaneous groups of painters, writers, singers, players gradually filled the decks… a singsong on the back-deck, group games on the very top, somehow laughter and fun was the magic missing ingredient that made it all digestible again.
In the afternoon we were taken out in zodiacs, through the fog, to land near the mouth of the fjord, in Alexander Bay. A mystical inukshuk greeted us, sign of previous occupation by humans. Sign, as it turns out, of occupation a long time ago. Ancient graves, caches, playgrounds, houses, an old hunting ground and after that a whaling station. Sacred grounds. The fog was somehow appropriate. Small groups took in the surroundings, looked at rocks, peered in rock-pools, discovered birds and polar bear scat… but mostly felt connected to the long ago past.
Rhian is part of the Education Team on the IPY Students On Ice Arctic 08 expedition. To read stories by the students and watch them on video, please visit www.studentsonice.com. Photos by Lee Narraway unless otherwise stated.