Tuesday, August 28, 2012
In The Red Sea. A Difficult Decision.
It used to never rain here. Ot at least, that’s what the elders in Qaanaaq have told us. It used to be a desert, an Arctic one. But now we are in the seventh day of rain, and it seems to not surprise anyone anymore. June was rainy, and July was too. The rain goes on and off, almost like a tropical one, in the rain forest, except for the fact that it is still no forest here.
Rain is not an anomality here now. It has become a norm. This morning we were lucky enough to receive an sms with a weather forecast from Searoute – a small French company that specializes on detailed weather forecasts for expeditions. Thanks to Searoute we were able to find out everything we need to know e.g. wind, waves height, but we also learned that it will be rain, rain and more rain in the days to come.
Aalibarti is still at sea. He tried to hunt a narwhale this morning, following him all the way along the fjord, but he did not succeed to kill him after all. And now is trying to tell us something, but his voice sinks in the roar of waves and moving rocks.
Now we are seriously concerned about our Irridium Extreme. If the Sun does not come up, the battery will be gone in a day. At the same time we are anxious to receive a message from Uummannaq, but each time we check the inbox we find only emptiness inside.
So, in the absence of news, we are anxiously looking towards horizon as if we could see someone or somewhat that could define our fate.
The only thing we can see now is that the storm intersifies. And so does the rain.
And this is how quantity turns into quality. Yesterday we still could drink water from the stream running from the mountain. Even though it had sand and little rocks in it, it it was usable. But today as we wake up we find no water. Instread, there is a souplike mesh of mud and dirt mixed with rain. We are filling the bottle – a sample for further analysis since through this water we can learn so much about this land and all the treasures hidden in it. Greenland’s water should be the purest on Earth and its source should be endless, but here and now we experience thirst again. This is what rain does to us.
Fog, rain and storm, and no news from home – this is our reality now. Do you hear us, Ann? We miss you and we love you!
Another day and another night go by. Aalibarti is still at sea while we are still on land. He was not able to find a seal or a norwhale, but the rain and storm were so hard last night that we almost lost our boat to the waves. Miracolously Aalibarti woke up in the middle of the night and save the boat. I say “miraculously” because in the middle of the night Else – Aalibarti’s wife has come to him (in his dream) and woke him up. “Wake up Aalibarti, she said. The boat is sinking.” And sinking it was. Aalibarti worked the rest of thei night taking the water out of i. When we finally met he choose to tell us nothing about it. We found out about by accident. But again, this is a purely Greenlandic way to deal with this type of issues.
We don’t have an alarm clock. Aalibarti’s gun is our alarm clock, and also the main means of communication. Whenever he needs to talk to us, he reaches us by a gunshot. But not only. Once as we are out in the field collecting data for the future research he spots several polar foxes trying to penetrate our tent and steal our scarce food. He tries to scare them away and after few shots they not very willingly disappear on the other side of the slope.
Aalibarti is exhausted. And the boats are too. It seems that one of the engines is slightly damaged by a rough landing attempt. And the other boat is leaking. So, we are about to take a difficult decision: instead of going to Etah, return to Siorapaluk and recover while the Sila is still showing her temper.
We are back on sea. We are leaving our paradise behind not knowing whether we have a chance to return here again. But it really does not matter. We have been here, we have lived these moments through, and they will stay with us no matter what comes next. We own them, through the paperless ownership, the “Greenlandic way”.
As we about to leave for Siorapaluk, the sun comes up after 7 days of rain. And everything again changes in a moment. The sea turns dark red; it now seems that we are floating in narwhale’s blood.
Red, blue and green – these are the colors Neqip Akia Fjord is saluting us with as we are leaving it after five days on water and land. And these are the colors of Avannaa as we know it now.
As we are heading to the corner the wind intesifies again. And the waves are getting bigger than they were just couple hours ago. Will we make it?
Aalibarti and Ole Jorgen are thoroughly scanning the horizon. Can they read what I can’t read? Can they see is awaiting for us on the way?
Firece splashes cover our boats again. The Red Sea is boiling. And we are in the middle of it. Now we can’t land anymore even if we wanted to.