Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cruising Amongst Icebergs Under the Midnight Sun in Greenland

The hour before sunset has always been my favourite part of the day, even before I got interested in photography and found out that there actually is a term for it: the Golden Hour.

It refers to either the period just before sunset or after sunrise, when a magical warm glow encases the world and makes everything more beautiful.

In the Greenlandic summer the two Golden Hours melt into each other at midnight, when the sun flirts with the horizon, before it rises yet again into morning.

The cruise begins at 10pm. Even at this hour it is bright enough that the glare of sunlight reflecting off the icebergs can hurt your eyes. 

We motor our way lazily through the chunks of ice dotting the bay. As we get further from shore and nearer to the mouth of the ice fiord, the size of the bergs become progressively bigger, until they tower way above us. It's hard to believe that these behemoths are moving, though surely they are, inch by inch, every fingerbreadth a testament to Mother Nature's impossible artistry.

Occasionally you hear a crack or a splash as an iceberg breaks into smaller pieces; otherwise you might catch, out of the corner of your eye, one flipping over momentarily to reveal a side normally hidden underwater, before it settles slowly back into position.

Eventually the sun goes behind a distant iceberg, and in that moment the sea is awash in shades of pink, orange and reds. We soak in these last glorious moments as the boat starts to turn back --

-- though not before a humpback whale breaks the surface with a distinctive whoosh, a giant dwarfed only by the vastness of the Ilulissat Icefiord.

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