Made it to Narsarsuaq, stunning flight in over the ice fields, glaciers and fjords. The landing was beautiful considering the landing strip is considered as one of the top 10 worst landing sites in the world! Immediately a literal cloud of mosquitoes greeted us, and we thought to ourselves… Alaska might not be so bad! We found the hostel, unloaded gear and immediately set out to find the village store to stock up on supplies. $110 for two days of basic food, it is not cheap out here in the beautiful wilderness!
On the 19th July we set out on our first hike to find the toe of Kuussup Sermia (the local land terminating glacier) by foot. It’s approximately 8 Km to the sample site, but as we had never been here before, and following the trail, we ended up summiting a very steep 300 m climb using a combination of ropes, bouldering and sheer determination, only to find that when we reached the top we wouldn’t be able to approach the toe from this direction anyway, sigh. So a pack of very weary scientists descended back down the rocky decline and chose a new route to the toe. We finally found our sampling site around 400m from the single outlet and began our work. We collected aprox. 24L (~24 Kg or 52.8 lbs) of water for various measurements and since we had no field pump at the time lugged it back the 8 km hostel, taking turns carrying the 20L carboy.
We have just returned from our third trip from the toe and hot sunny weather, clouds of mosquitoes, blisters and lack of sleep is starting to affect us but coming back to a youth hostel with sturdy walls and a great kitchen beats living in the dome tents like last year. While we are exhausted we are improving our hiking times and soon our bodies should be chiseled from the rocks we are sampling! We are also meeting a lot of interesting and diverse people. From tourist groups, odd couples, and scouts to other academics from the University of Bristol! Tomorrow brings another day of sampling this time from the surface of the glacier! So check back for updates and pictures from the beautiful yet endangered ice field!