In the snow
The temperature can rise by more than 10 degrees in the course of the night. A breeze is coming up from the south. It brings tight snow and low visibility. Now is the time for seal skin jackets with fur collars! During the 15 kilometres back over the Sikuiuitsoq Fjord we can see the glimpse of the catchers’ sleds, but mainly we only have a view of the 17 dogs that trot ahead, seemingly unimpressed by the weather.
After lunch, it is getting a little clearer. We get some view over the Icefjord, while the sleds are working their way up through the mountains heading north to the settlement Oqaatsut. This route is used by the fishermen of the settlement on their way to the Icefjord. However, in the snowdrift there is no trace to see. It got a rough day for dogs, coachmen and guests. In the late afternoon we light up the petroleum oven in a comfortable hut.
Visiting the settlement
A long day on the sled is waiting for us. We’re heading towards the settlement, about 7 kilometres away from the hut. Oqaatsut has a population of about 40. It is located in about 15 kilometres air-line distance from Ilulissat. Despite the small number of residents, it has a church, a school, a medical supply center, a shop, waterworks, a power station and even a small and cozy restaurant, which is driven by a married couple. A cup of coffee in a private home is a miraculous treatment. The walls are decorated with children’s and grandchildren’s school certificates and several home-made crafts.
Ilulissat is located about 300 kilometres north of the Polar Circle and the population is only just above 4.500 inhabitants. Anyway, it feels like coming back to a big city after 4 good days on the sled. It is easy to get addicted to dog sledding rides!