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Day 10: Hunt. Dance. Eat.

GREENLAND | Monday, 21 October 2013 | Views [1013]

Fishing in Greenland

This morning the sky was clear and I was up at 7 am, to see an already ready Simon walking out with his camera bag for a morning stroll around the village. Quick shower and packing later, we met our hunters, Peter and Betalt, at Breakfast. Quick loading of our gear into their respective boats and we set off for the controversial but essential to life in Greenland, Seal Hunting.

Jetting through the open seas, we were greeted by now familiar landscapes. Peter, our skipper, shoots seals with a rifle from his open boat when the day is good. Jason was with Aputsiaq and Betalt on the other boat. We spent over three hours in the hope of catching something, and I was getting disappointed with nothing much happening. As if in answer to my disappointment, Jason mocked a shot of the hunter on his boat shooting a seal (for reference purposes) and then did a crazy stunt.  Standing at the bow with arms stretched out (Picture Kate Winslet from Titanic minus Leonardo) and shouting in an adrenaline rush as the boat gushed past. The guys got it on film, perfectly.    

Another half hour of hoping for a catch, or just spotting a seal, we decided to have Lunch and our boats pulled up close near one of the many islands and we chatted munching on food thoughtful Apu had packed for us. Some great music (Our Skipper had an interesting collection of local artists with nice notes), sunlight and food, the day felt warm and wonderful.

Fisherman driving Boat Greenland

The minute we reached back, we headed off to the local school where Kristeen teaches. The school was a colorful and soulful place, but sadly the school time was over and the kids were back home. The guys wanted to interview Kristeen for the series and I wandered around the place. I bumped into Kasper and he shared his apprehensions about his upcoming trip to Iceland, his first time out of Greenland. An adventure in the unknown keeps us all going, I told him, and he became eager to discuss more.

Seal Skin Leather SouvenierRed Shoes Seal Skin

The guys came back and our next stop was community seal skin workshop where women were making beautiful designs from leather, some of which takes almost two years to complete.  All of us bought brooches and bookmarks that were for sale- the funds supporting the women and their families.  Happy with our new souvenirs, we headed to Peter’s house for kaffemik-Coffee and Cake; it was his Son’s Birthday. We had bought candies for the birthday boy assuming him to be 6-8 years old, but we’re sure a 29 year old won’t mind candies either, as we found out later.

Finally, we settled for dinner at Kristeen’s place with a sumptuous spread of Musk Ox meatballs, roast bacon, and suaasat- soup with rice and tuttu. Making our way through our plates we heard faint music playing in the background. Kristen had left a little before, and suddenly she came back to tell us what that music was- the weekly community dance! We did not need to hear more and ran to the village hall, abandoning our forks and knives, grabbing the nearest camera body.   

Community Dancing, Couple Dancing, Dreamy

The place was abuzz with everyone from the village as an old friendly face changed music from a podium; a couple swayed by, three girls twirled to the next track and with every song, the number of people kept increasing. The carefree laughter, general cheer and catchy music, I wanted to dance. I asked Dan, and he chickened out saying he did not want to dance in front of so many people, so in turn he framed Richard saying, and she wants to dance with you. Richard agreed thinking obviously that Dan was joking but when I nodded in agreement, he suddenly got up, saying he needs a lens, and bolted out!

However hard we tried to evade dancing, all of us did when towards the end, one of the locals grabbed us by our hands for the last dance and we partnered with our Greenlandic friends. And we swayed left at every right turn. A giggle of girls was snorting their heads off at a video they had made of us ‘dancing’. We’d be laughing stock for this village for weeks to come. 

We got back and over drinks, Jason screened ‘The Edwards go to Africa’, his personal video from his last trip, and an excellent compilation by his assistant Katie. Tired from the day and lulled by our daily supplies, I dozed off dreaming of this adventure and the next one to come, sometime Africa.

Laundry drying on Yellow Wall

Tags: hunting, kaffemik, manitsoq, seal, workshop

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