Narsaq was the location of an extensive Norse settlement. The location is one of the few in Greenland where more-or-less extensive farming is possible. There have recently been discoveries of rare-earth minerals in the area and extensive mining is forecast. As is often the case, however, the benefit/problem ratio of mining has been controversial. Much of the controversy focuses on radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium.


Narsaq, Greenland

Like other Greenland towns, Narsaq is filled with colorful houses.


Narsaq Slaughterhouse

One of the mainstays of the economy is this slaughterhouse, the largest in Greenland.


Greenland Minerals & Energy

This company is seeking to develop the mining potential.

Our geologist Tom was beside himself with excitement over the potential to find unusual rocks along the beach.


School

The new school is close to completion.


Narsaq

I was startled by the industrial street lighting in this residential neighborhood until I realized ... it is dark much of the day for much of the year! Lighting is essential.

It is Sunday and it seemed that many folks were out enjoying the warm weather.


Narsaq farm

The plain outside of the town was home to some intensively farmed fields.

We had seen fields in Qassiarsuk, but they were primarily to grow hay for the stock. These looked like they were set up for other crops.


Icebergs

The long walk for the day was ostensibly to visit an unexcavated Viking site. The length of the walk meant that we would not have time to return to town to meet the Zodiacs, so we were to be picked up on the other side of this ice-choked inlet.

The varying expectations of the individual walkers, however, caused confusion. Some people signed up for the walk, but decided to stay behind in town. Others had in mind a brisk four mile walk on a flat road to the ruins with a major goal of simply stretching our legs (count me in this group). Others, including Tom, our leader, had a notion of exploring along the beach for varied and potentially rare geologic specimens.

The divergent goals meant that the group quickly splintered. I hope everyone had as satisfying time as I did -- it was a pleasure to step along without worry of falling over a rock or tripping over a dwarf tree of some kind or the other.


Mystery plant

I have pictures of several life stages of this plant, but I've been unable to identify it. Like it though.


Bicycles

While on the way these youngsters went screaming by with their dog. They seem to be having a great time.

We didn't get close enough to the buildings up the valley to figure out what they were.


Stream

This was probably the most expansive region of flat-ish and presumably arable land that we saw in Greenland.


Saxifraga aizoides

I'm pretty sure this is yellow mountain saxifrage.


Viking ruins

The area of the ruins, which is certainly unexcavated and poorly marked, has been identified with Dyrnæs Church. Haven't been able to find out much about it, though.

This would have been prime sheep country for the Norse.


Rock hounds

Those of us who were primarily interested in stretching our legs far outpaced the rock-hounds, who came slowly along the beach examining and even collecting geological specimens. They are the itty-bitty dots in front of the gully to the left of the image.

Tom said that he had never had so many professional geologists on a trip before, so I'm sure he was delighted to be among kindred spirits.


Zodiac landing

But it was time for us all to be headed back to the ship. The team had selected a landing point where we could meet our Zodiacs without having to return to Narsaq. It was under this massive rock.

The only place that expedition leader Russ could communicate with the ship was atop the rock, so whenever he had to make contact, he had a scramble up.


Zodiacs

The ship is out of sight behind the spit of land in the distance. To get there, the Zodiacs will have to negotiate the ice-choked inlet. It made for a beautiful ride.


Landing site

It was actually a harrowing scramble down to the landing site. Trust me, this slope was a lot steeper than it looks from here! Staff people were stationed at strategic points to help us over the worst spots.

I mentioned earlier that some of the folks who had said they would take the long walk decided to stay in town after all. This caused some difficulty with life jackets. Since we were returning from this different location, the walkers' life jackets were collected separately at the disembarkation point. That meant that there weren't enough at the Zodiac landing in Narsaq. The staff had to juggle a bit to get the right number of life jackets to the right places. Jim, who had decided to remain on board, said that there was quite a bit of buzzing around looking for spares.


White-tailed eagle

While waiting to depart, I got this image of a white-tailed eagle. They are closely related to our bald eagle. As a cross-word buff I have been acquainted with the "erne" for many years and now I've seen one.

The population in southern Greenland is distinct but not considered a separate species.

There is a long-term friendly rivalry between Tom Sharpe our geologist and Jim Wilson our ornithologist. Tom will occasionally make a snarky comment about "just another bird" and Jim will come back with "just another rock."

Jim was as excited about the eagles as Tom was about the rare-earth specimens.


Russ Evans. Expedition Leader

Russ Evans was our very excellent expedition leader. He must be one of the hardest working folks I've ever met. I'm not sure when he got any sleep on this trip, if in fact he ever did. He and the rest of the team did a great job.

Note the polar bear deterrent in the bow of the Zodiac.


Iceberg

As noted above, our trip back to the ship was through the ice. We enjoyed the bergs immensely.

This is my second-favorite iceberg of the trip. (Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of my most favorite.)

It glowed with glacial blue and was gem-like in its clarity.


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