Day 14 – Cape Tobin, Cape Sweinson and a polar bear:
I load the two thermos into the already packed camera bag and we hit for Nanu Travel to pick up a foul weather suit for the open boat ride. Jumping into these makes both of us realise that one piece foul weather suits really does nothing good for ones looks:)
From there we walk to the small harbour and wait for Marius, Theracie’s son in law, to pick us up in his 19 foot (115 hp) open motorboat. Once onboard we roar out towards Cape Tobin. A closed down settlement now used as a summer house area by some of the wealthier locals.
The pier at Cape Tobin is heavily damaged, an old crane only held in place by supportive strings rests on the battered up pier. We jump to shore and enjoy a longish walk in this ghost town, it is a scary mix of summer residences and weathered down ghost houses no long used by anyone.
Junk, bones from hunted animals and garbage are all over the place, and if it was not for all the junk and Garbage, this closed down settlement would be a pearl of a place.
It has a location to die for at the mouth of the world largest fiord, with an astonishing view to the glacier cut mountains on the south shore of the fiord. I can even imagine that it still looks absolutely amazing during winter where all the junk and garbage are hidden in the snow.
Cape Tobin is still an interesting place I think and it will be on my list for the next visit too.
Cape Swainson is really nothing more than two Hunter cabins sitting on a pebbled beach of the weather worn east Greenlandic Shore, the location is rough, perhaps the roughest I have seen. The hardwearing mountain coast looks battered by iceand water as does the huts, but the area is surprisingly enough clean, save for a huge amount of bones from hunted and cooked animals.
I can imagine this as a most amazing dogsledding location during winter. When we come back during winter, we will definitely be visiting Cape Swainson again, it has a very promising winter location.
From here we continued the tour of the ocean shore line the hard wearing mountains looks battered and bruised from battling the tough arctic climate, but it makes for a start impression of how tough this environment really is and how tough the locals must be to live here all year.
We hunt for seals for a while, but our boat driver and local hunting chairman miss the two seals we see, shooting seals from a moving boat in moderate high waves is difficult I can imagine, thus we decide to sail into the fiord where the water is calmer.
We do not see more seals save for one diving on us way before we even get close. All the sudden we see something else though…
It is a white blob of wet fur swimming surprisingly fast towards Cape Tobin…
It is our first sight of the ever present Polar Bear, In this case a youngish male bear…
We are in awe and I switch between studying the animal and shooting images as we move in, we are practically within petting distance of this king of the arctic. It seems rather stressed by our appearance and we break of following it a short while after, but seeing this incredible animal in its natural environment is absolutely amazing and very different from visiting a zoo. All of the sudden one realises that we are guest in the Kingdom of the Polar Bear and not the other way around.
Everybody is high on adrenaline after the encounter and when getting back we talk Polar Bear all the way to the guest house.
At the guest house we grab a shower, a cup of sweet chilli tea and a change of clothes, before walking over to Therecie an Eric’s house for dinner. Musk ox and homemade blueberry pie on the menu, both of which can only mean that no one will go hungry from the table.
During dinner Therecie and Eric entertains with stories from the area and their own life, including stories from the family and their life. There are extremely openhearted and some of the kindest people I have met on this Journey. Lea (Therecie’s daughter) and her soon to be Husband and our boat driver Marius is here too, as we talk Polar Bear again, Marius and Lea shows us a beautiful winter fur from a Polar Bear. The strong and uniform white fur, with perfect paws, claws and everything is amazing.
So is the story about it being shot by Marius to save his own life on the day Lea gave birth to their second child.
What is more surprising is that we are offered to buy the fur from them. It is a special fur and they wanted it to have a special home. While money would be exchanged should we decide to agree on it, it was an offer among friends and we are most grateful to be calling this family our friends.
We go to the local bar that night and celebrate a most amazing day with a single beer, a Heineken of course.
We spend the beer time discussion back and forth whether we would be able to accept to buy a Polar Bear fur.
The financial side was easy, but the moral aspects of buying it much more complex and we ended up agreeing to sleep on things and make a decision the following day.
When we hit the pillows on this day neither of us can believe what a day it has been. It has probably one of the most adventurous and surprising days for years.