Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Greenland (Sailing from Qaqortoq to New Places - Day 2) August 28th - August 30th 2012

Wednesday August 29, 2012 (Photographs will follow)

When we went to bed the night before the weather had already started deteriorating to the point that it was moving the ship even though it was anchored and tied to the docks. It made sleeping difficult because the side to side movement was causing my stomach to become rather ill. It wasn't helping pain levels either because it was pushing me back and forth against Nikolaj as well as the side of the ship where the bunk is attached.
We ended up getting early and decided to take Ichi out for a walk in the rain so that she could do her business. The weather was just producing a light misty rain but it was a bit windy so it wasn't bad enough to make walking bad. I even managed to get some photographs of Nanortalik while we were at it before we set sail. So we walked down to the older part of this town and I took a few photographs. Their old church is totally amazing with how it looks. I think it's very beautiful.
The whole town looked really nice too and there is water nearly surrounding it. This town wasn't to much different than Narsaq or Qaqortoq in relationship to how people live. The same brightly painted houses were here in this small town too. An iceberg or two could even been seen from the town this time of the year as well. It had that same peaceful and yummy feeling to it too.
We set sail around 11:30am from Nanortalik to start our journey back to Qaqortoq. We were probably doing about six knots once we were outside of the harbor and into open waters away from any areas that would prevent us from going at that speed. Of course by then the weather had become downright bad too. I had tried to take a few photographs along with trying to sit in the captains chair because I was feeling queasy and dizzy at the same time. I couldn't eat a thing due to the way the fishing vessel was being knocked around by the wind. When it made the side to side movement it would just make me want to barf big time.
I ended up going down below deck to try and lay on my stomach hoping that would help but of course it didn't but I stayed in the bed just the same. A while later I heard the ship pick up speed and I thought to myself what is the darn hurry with this bad weather. A few minutes later there was this high pitched screech from down below me and it sure didn't sound good the noise coming from below. It made a second high pitch sound and after that the ship came to a screeching halt and died.

We had secondary motor that kept things like heat and electricity running but as far as propulsion was concerned, that was history. We were a dead stick in raging water driven by nasty weather. So the ship was being knocked around like a cork. Back and forth, side to side while the wind continued to move the ship as well. There were rocks and the side of the mountain visually close and that was a concern apparently.

I was still laying in the bed on my stomach and I could hear what sounded like the engineer working on the motor but a few minutes later Nikolaj came into the room and told me I needed to get up. I'm laying there asking him why because I just didn't feel well at all. He told me that the ship was dead and I knew that of course and that we might have to get off the ship. I hadn't really comprehended the current state we were in and still didn't because I just wanted to lay down and not move. He had to tell me twice to get up and so I did with a little grumbling.
I followed my husband up to the bridge and sat in the captains chair and watched four people running around like something big time was wrong. I still didn't understand the situation we were in. They were pulling out emergency equipment and suits and things and at some point the captain told me I had to put an immersion suit on but I didn't know what for at the time. His English is rather limited.

Nikolaj told me that the captain had to issue a distress call so that we could get help due to the fact that the storm was pushing the ship around. I had watched them drop the anchor and they were waiting on it to catch in hopes that it would slow the ship from being rammed into rocks or the side of a mountain. Again I'm still sitting there feeling sick and not realizing how much danger we are in. I'm just sitting there taking it all in watching all of them running around doing things and securing things and doing stuff out on the back side of the ship. I didn't know they had already put a rescue raft with a beacon on it outside on the water attached to the ship. Nikolaj had been downstairs packing out things and getting them ready to be transported to the rescue raft as well.

At some point Niko came to me and told me I had to put the immersion suit on and he helped me get it on. It was very difficult to get on. So it took a few minutes to do that as well but once I had it on, he had me sit on a bench and Ichi sat in my lap. I started noticing the captains face and it seemed like fear I saw on his face and Niko's face took on a more serious look as well. Still I didn't feel unsafe or in danger. Ichi however seemed to notice it and was very much taking it all in and had taken on a more sensitive attitude as well.

When I finally did notice the time while sitting it was around 1:30pm and still no help had arrived. The captain along with the rest of the men on board continued on with getting things ready for evacuation.

At some point I was told to move outside on the deck to sit and wait. I'm not sure how long I sat there trying to keep balance as the ship rocked side ways back and forth while watching Nikolaj and the captain get the dingy ready to drop into the water with its boat motor attached. Nikolaj shot off flairs three times due to a rescue boat getting close enough to see the flairs. They sure are loud like fireworks are. Finally one of the other men told me it was time and came to take Ichi from me which caused me to get a little upset because I didn't want to get separated from her at all. She had no leash on so my holding her was the best thing with the current situation.

I'm not sure how I got onto the dingy without falling down with the heavy suit I was wearing but I did and Ichi was given back to me. One of the crew members also got in the dingy with me. Nikolaj was the driver of the dingy so away from the ship he took us. Apparently there was a boat approaching us and we had to meet them in a different spot that was supposed to be less choppy but it was bad none the less. The place where the ship stranded us is called Takissoq. The waves were washing over the top of us getting us all wet. Poor Ichi was soaked but she didn't panic and try to get away or anything. She sat in my lap while I hung onto her.

When the boat finally got to us, the water was really knocking all of us around and they were trying to secure the dingy enough to get me and Ichi and the crew member off it and onto the boat. The rescue people took Ichi from me and then they started to help me onto the boat but some how my hand got stuck between the boat and a metal safety rail so while they were pulling me onto the boat, my arm was being pulled backwards because my hand was stuck, bending my hand backwards along with my arms and that had me screeching in pain telling them that my hand is caught and I can't let go. Needless to say they had to get my hand out which had me in total pain and I thought they might have broken my arm or my hand one.

So they had me elevate my arm and went back to dealing with getting the crew member on and then they waited for Niko to bring the next group to get on board. The captain was supposed to be in the boat with the next group but he didn't come. So Nikolaj left the next crew member on board the rescue ship and returned back to the fishing vessel.

So the rescue boat with us on board waited and waited for some time for my husband and the skipper to return to be get on board the rescue boat before the fishing vessel became to much more of a danger but they didn't come. The rescue boat decided that maybe they should just go ahead and take me to Nanortalik while waiting on my husband and Nikolaj to get off the ship. The anchor on the fishing vessel had caught and the rescue people thought that it should hold long enough to get me some help with my arm.

We were halfway to Nanortalik when a call came in that we had to return back to the fishing ship because the anchor was no longer holding and the ship was being dragged by the waves and wind closer to the rocks and the mountain and would possibly sink if they couldn't stop this process. While we waited on them to get off the ship I noticed there was a hunting camp on the little island parallel to where we were waiting. The island is called Kangerupqava. There seemed to be a small cabin, with what looked like storage buildings along with a drying rack. I later found out that those drying racks were probably for seal being processed. ;)

We finally brought the captain and Nikolaj on board along with all our belongings and then we set sail back to Nanortalik. So the ship was on it's own from that time on and all were hoping that the anchor which had restored it's keeping the ship in spot would hold till help to get it towed in arrived.

We arrived in Nanortalik wet and tired and I wondered what would happen next. I was already wondering where we'd be spending the night and everything. First thing they did though was have an ambulance come and pick me up to take me to the hospital to have my arm/hand checked. I didn't know what the rest would doing while I was there. The doctor came in and examined me and of course everything she did hurt but she said she didn't feel anything was broken however, I'd have a nasty hematoma for awhile on my hand.

So the doctor told me that they had been in touch with my husband and that somebody would be coming to pick me up and take me to wherever it was we would be spending the night. The company that Nikolaj works for got us put up in a nice place for the night. It had a small kitchenette and a full sized bathroom with a nice hot shower in it along with a large bed for me and Nikolaj and Ichi to snuggle in.

I was so glad to be able to lay on a bed without motion moving it. My tummy had started feeling better and that is when I realized I was hungry but due to the lateness we didn't get to have any meal that night. That sucked big time but at least we were in a nice dry and warm place and we could go to sleep together without any issues.

So the three of us did exactly that, fell asleep to a movie we were watching and this is where I will close this particular blog. Stay tuned for part one and three of this. I started in the middle because I wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind.

We have been talking about this for the past few days and we have realized that the peril we were in has not hit me yet. I guess it will at some point but right now it still hasn't hit me. I know that we were in real danger and that things were very bad but it just seems like I was on the outside looking in watching what was going on. It seemed so surreal and I'm not sure how I feel about any of it yet.

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