Hiding from storm

Hiding from storm

East Greenlandic weather has taken turn to worse as the summer is drawing to an end. Aurora has been hiding in Nordfjord for three nights now from strong winds. North Easterly storms – locally called Naquajaq – are common in autumn and winter, so it looks like we’ll need to bid farewells to calm, dry and sunny summer days.

The weather has definitely changed since Aurora arrived a month ago. It has been mainly calm and sunny until last week, when we experienced a spell of puanngaq, katabatic Föhn winds falling from the ice cap. Puanngaq is weaker than piteraq, and so the air warms up while rushing through fjords. It was a very peculiar feeling to peek over the spray hood and feel warm blast of air like a hairdryer pointed to your face. Puanngaq was clearly different from piteraq: exactly a year ago we were sheltering in this very same anchorage from a mini-piteraq that was much more violent and cooler in temperature.

Legendary polar explorer Nansen valued patience, when he chose men to join his expeditions. Patience is also a virtue onboard a yacht in Greenland. This lifestyle would not be a good match for someone who has difficulties in staying still, reading a book, catching up sleep or doing own projects for many days in a row. We are sitting out the storm one book, film and experimental meal at a time. It is very easy to slip into rest mode even though the boat is bucking now and then around her anchor chain.

Only weather can tell when we will be able to move on. Meanwhile it’s been interesting to see lots of golden orange jellyfish in the Nordfjord anchorage. Their colour contrasts beautifully with dark green water surrounding us.

About Riikka

Riikka Puustinen is a freelance sailor with digital media education and long international career in UX design and project management. Fond of sun, snow, sled dogs, icebergs, mountains and creative thinking. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in the UK.