- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

Aug 16.Prinz Christians Sund

It takes two days with a speed of 15 knots to get from Reykjavik to Narsaq on the West coast of Greenland. On the second day, the afternoon gives the chance to go through Prinz Christians Sund, a fjord on the south side of Greenland. It is not always possible to get through as the current sometimes brings icebergs to the entrance and the larger ones can block the entrance completely. The Sund has an average width of about 3500 feet so it does not even take a very large iceberg to make the ship go around the Southern point of Greenland instead of providing a scenic afternoon for the guests.

The icepilot on board calls in the morning the ice patrol. This is an organisation set up not too long after the sinking of the Titanic that tracks the icebergs that are floating south in the summer time. It warns shipping in the area and it can also tell the ice pilot on the Ocean Majesty whether the Sund is clear. At both sides of course as it would not be nice to have sailed all the way through and then to find out that the Sund is blocked at the exit. Ice Patrol advised that both sides where clear and so the OM headed for the Eastern entrance passing quite a few big ice bergs on the way. Icebergs with dark blue colors, which indicate thick and compressed ice, and those are the guys that you really do not want to hit.

We were blessed with spectacular weather all day and had glorious sunshine while sailing through. The whole passage reminded me a bit about College fjord in Alaska with its hanging glaciers. Only the Sund is a lot more narrow and the mountains higher, similar to the Norwegian fjords. We could see that a few icebergs had been stranded in the Sund in the past week, as remnants, pieces of ice from collapsed bergs, where still floating around. In a way Greenland is comparable to Alaska, except that the ice bergs are much larger here and that there are signs of volcanic activity.

About three quarters through the Sund there is a little village tucked away behind a rocky ridge and under the Fjord Walls that rise up to Greenlands ice shelve. I did not catch the name of the village, but its claim to fame is, that in the past, they would invite the crew of passing ships to spend the night in the village and encourage the better specimen among the crew to have a short affair with the women of the settlement. This to avoid inbreeding in the colony. I do not know how they regulated the visiting of passing ships but I assume that going through the Sund in those days must have been a very popular route with the male crew on board the ships. Maybe the regular blocking of the Sund by the icebergs regulated traffic a little bit.

It takes approx. 5 hours to get through and when arriving at the other side fog descended upon the water, not un-expected with the sun shining all day.
Tonight was informal, which, this being a ships with British tourist, meant at least jacket and tie. Most Gents wear a three piece suit, or blue blazer, with regimental badge and tie. I do love it, when everybody applies a bit of style to their daily life and somehow, with everybody being spruced up, it makes my pre dinner pint taste even better.

I had a long conversation with the bar manager about selling wine in the dining room and the arguments for and against selling half bottles or not. We do not sell half bottles on Holland America ships and I am just wondering if it would not be an extra source of revenue. I will have to talk to the Hotelmanager when I get back on board. Tomorrow we are in our first port of call in Greenland. Narsaq

1 Comment

  1. Goeie middag (althans hier) Kapitein Schoonderbeek. Wou u even laten weten dat uw ‘blog’ zoals gewoonlijk erg interessant is. Het zit stok vol met allerlei leuke dingetjes voor de mensen zoals Wim Zonneveld vroeger zei. Hartstikke bedankt om ook op u vakantie de tijd te nemen om elke dag achter de pen (bedoel het keyboard) te klimmen!

    Enjoy your cruise on Ocean Majesty!

    Torrance, California

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