For my third and last collection of photographs of this fascinating small coastal town in Greenland, I have eleven miscellaneous photographs from the town and nearby. The first two are of icebergs and a glacier high up in the mountains viewed on the approach to the town from the sea. The remaining photographs show views of the town, its harbour, its backdrop of saw-tooth mountains, its proud displaying of the national flag, and of a reconstructed turf house, showing the original homes in which the townsfolk lived . . .
More of my photographs on the subject of NANORTALIK, that small isolated community in south-west Greenland. Because of the long hours of darkness during the northern winters and the stark roughness of the surrounding scrub-land and mountains, the people choose to paint their houses in bright colours. This adds a great charm to the views as well as making sure they stand out against the often dull and grey background.
A small village at the foot of the mountains, just a mile inland from Nanortalik.
Greenland is the world’s largest island – excluding the island-continent of Australia. The majority of the island – well over 1,000 miles from North to South, is covered in ice. Human settlements are confined to the coast. I was lucky enough to be in Greenland in September 2008, when, unusually, the weather was beautiful – the sky clear blue, the temperature just like a British early summer. I have already published, on March 30th this year, some of my photographs of the icebergs and ice floes in the Ice Fiord. See: ‘Ancient Ice’ . The views were dramatic, but the place which captivated me most was the small town of Nanortalik on the South-West coast of the country. It is an isolated community, without road connection to other settlements or to the Greenland capital of Nuuk. Over the next three weeks I shall publish, on Thursdays, some of the photographs which I took in and around NANORTALIK . . .
Map of Greenland showing NANORTALIK in the South West of the island
Local inhabitants wearing traditional costume – for the tourists!
The ‘Head Stone’
Local children atop the Head Stone
View of part of the town looking inland to the mountains behind
Approaching the village and its church
No trees, but plenty of grasses and wild flowers
Getting nearer to the church
The town’s Danish Lutheran Church
Cannon – early town defences
Setting out on a rowing boat – sunlight shining through the seal-skin hull
ancient ice increasingly encircles as we move silently with stealth into the ice fiord hesitantly making a zig-zag passage towards the unstable terminus of the glacier as it erodes into the ocean’s edge
increasingly smotheringly enclosed by walls of white and blue immense ridge-flanked jagged-backed menacingly still a maze through which the miniscule craft threads a passage towards the minotaur the glacier’s lowering face as it crumbles tumbles its fronting phalanx fragmenting with the occasional sudden grinding cracking turmoil of yet another frozen offshoot adding to the welter the crowded pack of new-born creatures as the ice mass breaks and calves to join the myriad of off-spring in the ice ocean
The poem above and the photographs below are based on my visit in 2008 to an ice fiord (where a glacier meets the sea and gradually deposits its ice) on the south-west coast of Greenland near to the settlement of Narsasuaq . . .
In a previous blog, ‘Anthropomorphic Ice’ , I used the following two of my photographs from a visit, by cruise ship, to the southern and western shores of Greenland in 2008. These two photographs were of floating ice, one of which appeared to take the form of a polar bear floating on its back, and the other of a seal hitching a ride on a passing ice floe …
Icebergs can be seen in many of the world’s oceans, but the western reaches of the North Atlantic are perhaps where they are the most prolific. It is here, where the multitude of icebergs meet the major transatlantic shipping routes, that the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in 1912.
I now include below a gallery of photographs, all of which I took on this same trip, along the south west coast of Greenland, travelling north as far as Greenland’s capital, Nuuk. All are of the extensive ice floes and icebergs which dot the seas around Greenland, after breaking away from the numerous glaciers which deposit their ice into these coastal waters . . .
Prince Christian Sound is a fjord in Southern Greenland. It separates the mainland from the islands of the Cape Farewell Archipelago near the southernmost tip of Greenland. surrounded by steep mountains reaching over 1200 m height. Many glaciers empty into it from the North, calving into many icebergs and smaller ice floes. It is in places no more than 500 yards wide and approximately 60 miles in length.
One of the highlights, for me, of a cruise through these narrow waters in 2008, was when I came across a polar bear floating lazily by on its back . . .
. . . a seal taking time out to rest on a small ice floe . . .
The only settlement along this sound is Aappilattoq, which has about 140 inhabitants . . .
. . . it’s not my own video, but a good example of what prince Christian Sound is like can be viewed on this YouTube video . . .