Blog (page 3 of 5)

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Home away from home

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Coming to Greenland has been insightful and very enriching. We’ve been introduced to a whole new perspective of this vast and remote country. Before it seemed so far away, it was something out of a biology or history book. The ice, When landing in Narsarsuaq we were introduced to a landscape of mountains covered with bushes and trees. Sailing across the fjord at full speed, in between melting icebergs, gave the first real impression of how massive this place actually is, these incomprehensible horizons revealed their true nature while we still went 40 knots across the fjord, now towards the village that seemed only a short trip away from the airport. This village is called Qassiarsuk, now feeling like a second home I have developed a stronger sense of responsibility towards protecting this land. The consequences of carbon dioxide emissions has become a more realistic and urgent issue to me now, rather then a distant and irrelevant problem as i am watching and learning that this landscape is experiencing many negative changes regarding the climate.

 

Capturing Greenland

catching fish

The river, Kuuk, divides two parts of the village in Qassiarsuk. Before it meets the fjord, it intertwines through the farm land, providing the locals with water and food. On the river, I was guided by a local inuit as he taught me how to capture the trout in a traditional way. Although fishing is familiar to me, the experience of catching the trout with my bare hands was a new adventure. The excitement of actually catching an Arctic fish over ruled the cold temperature of the water, and this direct contact influenced me to develop a stronger connection with the water here in Greenland. I often find myself comparing the inuit culture with my own aboriginal culture back in Australia. Surprisingly a few factors of the landscape remind me of my home in the Kimberlies, Western Australia. In contrast, the cultures are different but the importance of fishing remains constant and vital as these rivers feed the local people.

Agricultural hazard in Greenland

photo credits: kevin hendrawan

Sheep farming is the main occupation in the little town of Qarssiasuk. Although in recent years, climate change has causes several problems to the farmers. Droughts are getting more common than ever and it’s been causing a surplus in the quantity of grass for the sheeps to feed on. This results in the farmers having to kill their sheeps and a decline in their income for the next season. Due to temperature rise, the heat has been causing heat stroke to the animals as well.

Ice is white – no? The Black Ice Story

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We are here with Prof Jason Box who has been monitoring changes on the Greenland icesheet to try and tell people what’s happening in this remote but important location.
Yesterday we took a helicopter ride to Kiagtût Sermiat Glacier which was really cool where Jason Box is recording how fast this glacier is melting.
I noticed all this black stuff on the ice, and was really surprised and sad to find out it was soot from our industrial world which seems so far away.
The glaciers and ice are covered in this really black soot like substance. Jason calls it Cryocynite which is making the glaciers melt even faster as they are absorbing more sun not reflect it.
I wanted to know where it was coming from. Jason said as far away as bushfires in Canada, the US, Europe, and from big business who are polluting the air that we breathe.

“It is a vast natural laboratory.” – Jason Box (geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS)

“It is a vast natural laboratory.” – Jason Box (geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS)

Nørsk and Northern Lights

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Yesterday the team and I were visiting the Nørsk reconstruction area in Qassiarsuk, Greenland. From what I heard, this area is the best reconsruction zone in the world. This is a place where the Nørsk (Viking) came and settled in Greenland for several hundred years. In that reconstruction zone, we went to a church of Erik the Red. I am amazed with the church, because this Church is really small, only around 2 x 4 meter. Eventhough it is small, I feel it cozy and it has kind of sauna room smell, so it is familiar for me 😀 church

In that reconstruction zone, we met local boy named David, who lives in that place for summer, and he works as a “keykeeper“ in that area. He explained about the history of the place, where the Viking turned in Christianity back in 892 AD. The ruins were really amazing, I can not imagine how they moved such big stones around that era.

After some talks and discussion, we introduced our team and he is interested in the project, and he is willing to help us. So we had a dinner together and I asked about the Greenlandic cultrure. After the dinner, we continued our chat until somebody said “Hey, there is a Northren light“. We were so excited and decided to climb up the hill and spent 2 hours just enjoying the scenery.

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The northren light (Aurora Borealis) that we saw last night was so different, it was just so beautiful and so clear, we were lucky to have such a good weather! After spending 2 hours, taking pictures, enjoying scenery up in the hill, freezing, I managed to capture some great photos of the northern light!

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The melting of the glacier

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We took a helicopter ride to Kiagtût Sermiat Glacier with world renowned Glaciologist, Prof. Jason Box. It was an amazing experience as it was the first time we all get to go on a helicopter ride. especially to get a view of the glacier from above with our own eyes.

 

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Helicopter view of the glacier

 

When we landed, the youths were escorted off the helicopter and we were left with survival gear for safety reason, whilst the crew flew off with the helicopter to get an aerial shot of us. We were told to not roam off anywhere as there was the possibility of the glacier cracking and dropping a hundred meters down.

 

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After a few shots, we were reunited with the crew and the youths set off to get some footages of our own. Prof. Jason Box brought a 6-8 m pole, which can be dismantled into several ones. He was trying to show us how much ice has melted in a one year period. It dawned on us on how tall the pole was and that we could be 8 m higher on the surface just a year ago. With the current global warming rate, the pole could double in height by mid century and THAT will cause a tremendous effect on the whole global climate.

 

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As Prof. Jason Box said, ” We are at turning point; my generation fully documented the climate crisis, now it’s the current generation’s job to get cracking on solution ”

 

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From Nuuk to Nuuk

I’ve had the most interesting flight journey of my life today . We rushed to the airport for our 9 am fight to Nasarssuaq. The plane was so small that we had to be weighed along with our baggages.

Entering the flight we noticed why so,it was completely packed. The journey was planned to take around 45 mins for a stopover before Narsassuaq. But due to the weather system not cooperating with the plane, we had to fly around Paamiut for an extra hour or two. There are certain requirements for planes to be allowed to land, which was pilots need to be able to see the runway at certain distance before landing. Our pilots did not meet the requirement so they decided to head back to Nuuk. On the way back, we saw the most breathtaking scenery, the greenland ice sheet. We were constantly on our cameras throughout the whole trip. We even had the opportunity to go into the cockpit and take shots of the scenery Air greenland is definitely one of the most friendliest airlines I’ve ever been on. The pilots were even willing to do a short interview whilst flying the plane. I took the opportunity to take a sneaky selfie with them as well.

After 45 mins, mother nature basically did not allow us to land in Nuuk. So we ended up flying back to the city of Kangerlussuaq, the original city where we first landed in Greenland on our first day. As the flight attendant said, “When in Greenland, time is not important, weather is”. After a short stopover at Kangerlussuaq, we headed back to Nuuk for another night and hope for a better weather the next day.

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Icebergs up ahead!

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Finally arriving at Nasarssuaq, we noticed how the bay is completely packed with icebergs from the fjords. The locals mentioned that they never had so many icebergs during this time of year in the last few decades.

As we were crossing the bay to reach our hostel, the Lief Kensington hostel, we passed a few giant icebergs along the way. The group’s impression on it started of with more excitement than worry, since all of us have never seen this sort of sightings before.

After settling in our hostel, we decided to head to the nearest fjord/valley, where the icebergs were born, to document the whole situation on camera. Towering to about 10m in the air, we were overwhelmed by the gigantic size of these bergs. We began to noticed how difficult it was to navigate through the icebergs. not only did the captain had to watched out for normal icebergs, there were black ice half submerged in the water as well, which is transparent ice that are hard to spot and can easily be hit.

This unusual event was simply due to the amount of rain they had this season, which is cause by an increase in the warming of the ocean. Rain causes the glacials to have cracks in their structure, which in turn produces more icebergs.

Hearing about this, I remembered my flight attendant mentioning that Nuuk had 8 months of snow this year. Climate change has caused the areas in Greenland to have much severe winter and warmer summer. In other words, a colder winter and more icebergs to navigate through in the summer.

Arctic!! ( Finally )

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After 5 days going from Indonesia, with all the obstacles ( 2x flight delayed, 1x cancel flight, bad weather, super foggy, rain, wind) finally we made it to the Arctic! Actually it was out of my expectation, because i thought Arctic will be a place covered by ice and snow, but what i see here is different. It’s a wonderful place, very peaceful, cold and there are a lot of icebergs here.

It is weird that this place has so many icebergs since autumn is just starting here. We were kind of lucky because yesterday the weather was just perfect! So we decided to shoot some scenes.

We went by a boat to a place where there are so many icebergs! It was kind of scary because there were so many icebergs along the way, but lucky we have a super professional driver, so we made it easily.

In that remote place where we shot the scenes, the view is just breathtaking! The place is very quiet, there was literary just us (the team) in that place. We took 4 hours to shoot the scene, it was very cold since we have to stand on the hill, but it was amazing to have this opportunity!

After the shooting done, we went back to our hostel in Qarsiarsuk, had a wonderful dinner and went to bed for another activities the next day.

“It is a new expierience. It is a new world.” – Kevin (Indonesia)

“It is a new expierience. It is a new world.” – Kevin (Indonesia)

Do not let this culture melt

old man watchingEven in the coldest, most isolated places a rich culture can be found. The Greenlandic Inuits have lived on the ice for over 45,000 years. During our travels we were gifted an insight into this ancient yet adapted life style of residents in Nuuk. Young children played soccer in the playgrounds as old man watch over their streets and oceans.

The first Greenlandic man I spoke to told me “the word Inuit means hunters, we are hunters” he said smiling up at the ice. With that I realised that living among these frozen oceans and hunting such well adapted animals requires a great depth of learning and teaching. Wisdom seems to be as apparent as the ice here. have a lot to learn and a lot to see.

There is strong pride in the hearts of the the indigenous people here, and their identities reflect their skilled hunting practices and traditions. The landscape provides a sort of freedom I’ve never felt before, distracting my mind from the unnecessary pressures and expectations of modern society that just last week I held so closely.

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