Diary notes from "R/V Porsild" - 1. August

Today, we sailed out from Qeqartarsuaq, starting our 5 days trip around Disko Island. The aim of the trip is to collect water samples and different measurements, which is part of the MarineBasis programme that Martin is in charge of. We couldn’t have wished for better weather. The sea is like a mirror today and you easily see your own reflection – really calming. The calm sea and the small movements of the boat quickly made us dose off. In a matter of seconds this was, however, replaced by our captain running at a pace we had never seen before! The crew had spotted some harbour porpoise, a small whale, which apparently is a delicacy. The hunt began. Over the next twenty minutes one shot after the another was fired in their direction as the boat continually chased the pack. Somewhat to our relief, the crew never succeed in hitting any animals and they retreated to follow the planned direction of our survey.

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Back on track for several hours, where we finished all the water samples at the three stations in today’s transect. When the job was done we changed direction towards Mellemfjord. In Mellemfjord, we laid anchor and took our small boat to the stony beach. Birgitte took a few soil samples in a peaty-clayey area covered by willow and mosses. Afterwards we all went up streams to catch todays dinner – trout. The crew used fishing net, however, we were stubborn and only used fishing rods. Using the fishing net was so easy and the crew caught so many many many trouts in no time… We also caught trout with our rods, however somehow the “magic” was gone…

Birgitte arctic char 7

Now it is almost 00 o’clock and we just had a delicious dinner with three of the trout. We are very tried and after drinking this hot ginger tea we will be going to bed.

Diary notes from "R/V Porsild" - 2. August

Today, has been a long day! The crew started out at 6.20 am, however we got to sleep until 9 o’clock. Around 12 o’ clock we reached the first destination: Hareø. On Hareø, Birgitte went into this very stony area to collect soil samples and Martin went fossil hunting. Unfortunately, it is very hard to look for fossils, when you do not know what you’re looking for or the age of the varies stones. Our captain went hunting for Eider ducks, but complained about the plastic bullets. No Eider ducks for dinner today. With soil samples in the house, we quickly moved on to the first station of todays transect. The station of todays transect was far from each other and we had to sail for two hours between the stations. We managed to do four stations and will start with the last one tomorrow morning. Waiting is hard.. The crewmembers and us switch between sailing the vessel and napping downstairs. I can tell you that the crewmembers are way better at accepting the long waiting between stations than we are. 

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Diary notes from "R/V Porsild" - 3. August

Today, was yet another long day. We woke up in Saqqaq, a small fishermen town, and went for a quick walk before we started out todays transect. The entire day has been foggy and without sight. We did four stations with water sampling and ended up here in Ilulissat. It felt good to get of the boat and go for a walk in town. Instead of eating at the boat, we went for the small café and had a small dinner before returning to the ship where we watch the movie “the hundred year old that climbed out the window and disappeared”. A movie just for Martins liking. Our crew ceased the moment and almost from the moment we hit Ilulissat harbour they disappeared into town. Apparently they were invited for “danse-mik” somewhere in town. We woke up in the middle of night with the spectacle of one of our crew members walking around, crashing on the couch almost next to us and snoring like a dinosaur. Danse-mik had obviously been a really good party.   

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Diary notes from "R/V Porsild" - 4. August

Dispite the long wet night for our crew they did not hesitate to get up, start the ship and prepare our course towards the last stations and then finally setting sail towards Qeqertarsuaq again. We had planned for the trip to be longer but our crew was eager to get back home and we sure didn't mind either. Of course we had been blessed with nice weather for the entire trip and then for the very last station, the weather turned bad, and we had to cancel the work - missing just one station. Typical. That will have to wait for better weather. All in all the trip around Disko island has been amazing. A great and long experince and we are now looking forward to a long nice sleep back in our own bed. In May 2020 we will do the trip once again. At that time we hope to see bowhead whales and other marine mammals which are known to accur this time a year.

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/ Martin & Birgitte