Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Day 5/day 6 Greenland - Camp Eqi

Day 5. Trip to Camp Eqi to record the ice calving.

My alarm goes off at 5.30 – luckily I’ve not adjusted to local time yet. So I board the boat at 7 and set off on a 5 hr journey to the gletcher at Equp Sermia. The boat winds its way through a stunning array of icebergs – natures art, beautiful majestic sculptures, glistening white tinged with a vivid glacial blue. As we get nearer to the gletcher we pass through more sea ice – a sort of slush puppy consistency for those who remember the eighties! I get my recording equipment and sit in the bow ready to record the sound of ice hitting metal, this scenario reminds me that the iceberg that the titanic hit was supposedly from these parts. But this ice is more like lumpy soup, so I think we’re safe!

So I’m sitting in the front of the boat, before me the magnificent sight of the gletcher. What a sight! A huge wall of ice stretching back as far as the eye can see, sandwiched between mountainous rocky terrain. The ice looks like it’s been whipped into jagged peaks, but the edge that meets the sea looks like a solid cliff of ice. The boat engine cuts out and we wait…. And then it happens.. a rumble of what seems like thunder rips across the air and splash! Part of the ice wall cracks off and splashes into the sea. We stay for 2 hours and I record everything. I ask the crew for permissions to dip the hydraphone over board whilst we’re stationary – it’s fizzy in there – ancient air releasing from ancient ice. .

The engine starts up again and we cross to the other side of the bay, here I disembark and make the steep climb laden down with stuff to Camp Eqi. Exhausted I am directed to my hut – right opposite the gletcher! What a view, and all the while the intermittent rumble and crash of ice cracking and splashing into the water. I set my recording equipment up and experiment with every microphone I have with me. I battle with the mosquitos, - they are everywhere. But my hut is very nice, and quite luxurious considering where we are. I sleep so well – even though I keep the curtains open, I wake at one point to hear a skirmish outside – 2 arctic fox cubs are having a scrap just outside. I didn’t get a picture, they ran away too quickly, but they were very sweet.

Day 6. Up early – again! I’m going to try and walk into the moraine to get closer to hear the ice calving. I’ve been told it’s a relatively easy hike – although it apparently involves some climbing and leaping over rivers! After several wrong turns and deciding the river is impassable with the recording equipment on my back I turn back. I am totally alone at this point but totally immersed. I strike up an interesting dialogue with a bird. I’m standing there singing to this bird and it’s singing back – I record it, I’m glad no-one can see me! But this may find it’s way into the composition element of the project. The bird accompanies me almost all the way until I can see the camp again.

I go back to camp and after lunch spend the last hour before the boat comes to pick us up recording as much of the booming ice as I can. I think I have now used every microphone and every item of clothing I have bought with me!