This Zodiac expedition was scheduled before breakfast! And they call it a vacation? No, they call it an expedition!

The expected attraction here was an area of geological wonders in Ikka Fjord. (Check out a breathtaking underwater video.) We needed a local guide to visit the site and had a prearranged meeting place and time.


Zodiac train

The following day our weather luck ran out. We had been blessed with sunny skies and mild temperatures throughout the trip, but this day dawned grey and dank. Soon it began to drizzle. Undaunted a hearty group disembarked into the Zodiacs for our expedition.

While waiting for our guide we watched a muskox or three hanging out on the hills, but soon our guide appeared.

We were enjoined to follow the guide boat in an evenly spaced line to avoid inadvertently damaging the underwater marvels we were to visit. We were also informed that this was a "no wake" zone, so our speed had to be controlled.


Location

Soon our guide arrived at the spot. It doesn't look like much in this photo, but you can just see the area of relatively calmer water with a lighter color.


Limestone column, Ikka Fjord

The Zodiacs are clustered around the column that the guide had indicated above.

Tom told us that the material making up these columns was known as ikaite (ICK-a-ite) for this specific location. It can only exist in water. Once removed from its environment it rapidly decomposes.


Ikaite

It would have been nice to have a polarized lens or an underwater camera, which some of our group did have.

The collections were very diverse and some had fanciful names like "Manhattan," presumably because of its resemblance to the skyline of New York City.

The height of the columns is limited by the low tide level.


Ikka Fjord surroundings

We had other goals, however, so eventually we left the eerie columns to proceed to the head of the fjord. There had been thought of a landing to explore.


Muskoxen, Ikka Fjord

But first we saw this small family of muskoxen. They are native to northern Greenland, but were introduced into southern Greenland only in the 20th century.


Muskoxen, Ikka Fjord, Greenland

Not far away we saw a larger group of animals hanging out by a low waterfall.


Bye-bye

We hung around for quite a while watching the critters. They were equally curious about us ... for a while.

Finally something startled them and they decamped en masse.

There were also muskox herds on the other side of the fjord, so our shore landing was scratched and we proceeded back to the ship at a pace that was respectful of the underwater columns.

We had an entire day and night to reach Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and our next-to-last stop. It was clear that our excursion was drawing to an end by the "last call" notices: last call for laundry service, last call to settle shipboard accounts, etc.

The afternoon entertainment included watching the early documentary Nanook of the North. I had heard of this all my life, but never seen it. It was a product of its era, but was informative nonetheless.


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