IAT Europe Vice Chair Visits IAT Greenland
In June 2013, IAT Europe Vice Chair Magne Haugseng traveled to Greenland where he met with IAT Greenland representatives, including Birgitte Pedersen of Blue Ice Explorer in Narsarsuaq, South Greenland. (See also Greenland's IAT Crosses Erik The Red Land.)
"Our meetings in Greenland were good. Really useful. But there are concerns around the future of Narsarsuaq airport. If it closes or is downgraded to a helicopter landing pad, the place will probably die. The Norwegians are starting to look at the viability of seeking UNESCO status for the Brattahlid Viking site across the fjord. The Vinland site at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland is listed, which should help.
Viking Site at Brattahlid
Jacky Simoud and Birgitte are going from strength to strength at Blue Ice. They seem to be the prime movers in Narsarsuaq with their tours, boats, café and hostel, and the coffee at the café is as good as ever! A great team and a real asset to the IAT in Greenland. I left them with some of the smaller vinyl IAT stickers, similar to those we have issued in Norway.
Blue Ice's Birgitte Pedersen holding an IAT Greenland Blaze
The walking around Narsarsuaq is great. There is a good walk up to the glacier, and another day or two easily taken up with a trip over from the famous Viking Site at Brattalid (Qassiarsuk) to the Sermilik fjord to see all the ice floating past. From a helicopter it is really spectacular!
Flying into Narsarsuaq, with glacier in background
Then using the Blue Ice folk to arrange, you can take a boat down to Itilleq and walk over the hills and down to Igaliku, the Viking "Gardar", where they built the Greenland cathedral. It is possible to spend a few days walking here, where interestingly, the landscape around the Viking settlements is one of lower, more rounded mountains, far easier to walk.
Blue Ice Explorer's Puttut at Itilleq
History buffs may want to prepare by reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse, and Kirsten A. Seaver’s The Last Vikings. Both deal with the Greenland settlements in detail.
As regards the weather, South Greenland is currently experiencing a drought, and the last four or five years have seen very little rainfall. A lot of the 1200 trees Coast Alive planted just outside Narsarsuaq are dried out, dead. On the other hand, the dry weather may keep the midgets to a minimum!"