Today we woke up to breathtaking West Greenland scenery: the morning sky was overcast with high clouds, and National Geographic Explorer was surrounded by many large icebergs. Uummannaq is the northernmost point in our “Edge of the Arctic” journey, and our morning approach was a spectacle to remember. It felt like the icebergs were on parade to welcome us to the town. With 1,407 inhabitants, Uummannaq is the eighth largest town in Greenland. Uummannaq Mountain rises very sharply to a height of 3,838 feet, towering over the town and offering an excellent, postcard-like photo opportunity to its visitors. We anchored and took our Zodiacs ashore to explore this quaint little town on foot with our naturalist staff. Some of us opted for a longer walk in and around town towards Uummannaq Mountain to stretch our legs, while others preferred to stay around the harbor and pay a visit to the town museum. We have been carrying an unusual donation for the museum. While visiting Uummannaq, a guest from a previous voyage recognized her great grandfather in a photo in the museum collection. She sent a wonderful collection of books, photos, and old artifacts from her great grandfather to Lindblad’s New York office with the request that they be donated to the museum. We had the pleasure of delivering the memorabilia to its new home.
After our morning activity, we repositioned across the fjord to our afternoon landing site in Qilakitsoq. In 1972, eight mummified Inuit corpses were found by Hans and Jokum Gronvold, two local hunters from Uummannaq. We saw three of the mummies in Nuuk National Museum earlier in our voyage, and visiting the site where they were excavated was an emotional experience. They were buried high up in the rocks, 700 feet from the old winter settlement of Qilakitsoq. The scientist who studied the mummies and artifacts dated them to the late 15th century. One of the mummies, known as mummy number one, was determined to be an infant boy who died at the age of six months. Archaeologists involved in the excavations mistook the boy as a doll at first since his corpse was so well-preserved. Further research on the mummies revealed many insights about Inuit lifestyles.
Tired but happy, we reluctantly bid farewell to this unique place and took our Zodiacs back to National Geographic Explorer. On board, we had a special teatime with delicious Swedish pancakes. For dinner, Filipino chefs Jeff, Danilo, Conrado, Randy, and Adrian delighted us with a wonderful selection of dishes from the Phillipines.