So we’re in Kangerlussuaq, west Greenland. Tomorrow we head upon to the icecap in a massive old helicopter. Pretty smooth journey considering our rather meaty 250kgs of excess baggage. Must hand it to former accountant Bruce for his airtight logistics including lengthy print out of detailed email correspondence with airlines regarding items, weight, dimensional weight etc which made check in staffs job easy and our journey painless.
Kangerlousak airport has the longest runway in west Greenland so serves as a hub for international flights to many communities where wide bodied jets meet propeller aircraft and helicopters of all shapes and sizes. This is a Dash 8.
Built as a strategic air base by the US during in World War II there was no Greenlandic community here before. Through the Cold War there was much activity in Greenland. Nuclear warhead carrying long range bombers were stationed here and a network of early warning missile attack radar stations were built on the ice.
The USAF still have a presence. These ski equipped C130 Hercules train for ice / snow landings up on the ice cap not far from our start point and help to service a network of science stations scattered around the vast emptiness.
We are sharing the costly Heli charter with 2 other teams from Norway. They are a great bunch that I know from trips to the snow kite Mecca of the Hardangervidda. No Scott / Amundsen rivalry here – we hope to share Musk Ox steaks and wine at some point on the journey.
Bruce, Ronny, Rolf & Johan cross check our route plans for the complicated descent from the ice cap at the end of our kite journey 1000 miles North from here. And decide who’s bringing what to the ice cap party.
We have had a couple of days here rounding up the final items. Fuel, cheese and a polar bear gun. All available in the local supermarket although they had sold out of suitable rifles so a kind local chap invited us to rent his.
Bruce was actually here to conduct some covert business… I really hope we don’t have to use this but if an ‘ice bear’ wants some Englishman for dinner we have a last resort. Mind you it’ll have to be point blank range for either of us incompetent marksmen to hit it.
The final out sort – looks a lot like my childhood bedroom actually.