Suspended twenty five meters above the deck of the Donna Wood, a two- masted gaff ketch built in 1918, the surrounding view is astounding, otherworldly. Icebergs as far as the eye can see, immense glaciers winding their way downward before calving loudly into the ocean, snow-capped mountains in all directions. The ship lists from side to side, the movement intensified by my elevated position, but I'm able to time my shots accordingly with the swell, photographing between rigging lines as the ship circles a spectacular, pyramidal-shaped iceberg just fifteen meters off the starboard side. From above I can see well it's shape below the surface, the vibrant turquoise hues surrounding the ice helping to define the depths. More than eighty percent of this iceberg rests underwater, leaving around thirty meters jutting high into the sky. For now at least. Each day this iceberg will continue to melt and eventually roll over, generating powerful and ominous sounds as nature changes its shape again and again.
Sailing on a 100-year old ship through the largest fjord in the world is a visceral experience. Towering icebergs formed into bizarre alien shapes, impossible to imagine. Northern lights streaking across the sky in vibrant multicolor. All on a scale so immense that one feels small and insignificant yet very much connected to the landscape. Breathing in deeply the cold, unpolluted Greenland air somehow feels different, as if it fills my lungs much more than usual. A cold breeze from the southwest adds to the intensity of my position above, and I pause often to take in the 360° panorama. We're now in Ofjord near the Bear Islands, without question one of the highlights of the week, and I don't doubt that this voyage was tailored with this in mind, like an orchestral crescendo. Granite spires including the dramatic Grundtvigskirken rise directly out of the sea nearly two thousand meters, most never touched by human hands.
Greenland is a timeless place, where the sounds we hear most often are the primal sounds of nature – ice creaking, avalanches crashing, wind and snow and water. A place where even silence has it's own sound. The landscape continually speaks to us here, and it's impossible to not feel connected. And by journey’s end, replenished.