The restored 56ft 1926-built traditional ketch Ilen lingered in the southwest Greenland port of Paamuit for the past couple of days while a vicious southerly gale blew itself out in the Labrador Sea writes W M Nixon. It was an opportunity to make do and mend on board, while onshore the crew of ten continued in their exploration of Greenland and the lives of the people who live in its more remote small ports. The opportunity was taken to re-stock the ship's stores. Ten hungry sailors can get through a prodigious amount of food, though unfortunately, it was impossible to find a local supply of potatoes to match their very best Irish spuds put aboard in Limerick, which the ship’s company had finished in a celebratory feast once Greenland waters were reached.
Project Leader Gary Mac Mahon posted his thoughts as Ilen prepared to depart for her main objective on this Salmons Wake Educational Voyage: "It's time to depart the town and harbour of Paamiut. Simply; a sailor's longing for new places grows exponentially to the length of time spent holed-up at port - regardless of its charms.
Nuuk is next, approximately 150nm downwind and north from Paamiut. Today's southeasterly breeze will be at our backs, so all augurs well for a respectable ship’s speed as Ilen pushes onward north.
Yesterday's low cloud and rain has given way to sporadic sunshine, but the Ilen crew remain wrapped up while moving about the deck or bare streets of Paamiut.
Ilen has seen her Gardner engine enjoy a full service this morning - Mantas and Mike were the men for that vital task. Meanwhile, preparations for the coming run to Nuuk continue - food make-ready, rigging work and the stowing of Ilen's tender and outboard. Also, the anchor will see more robust deck lines embrace it, as we anticipate a rolling run north up the Labrador Sea - with decks awash from time to time.
And so, away we go.”
We wish them the best of luck. And in Nuuk, they will find a different world. Most of Greenland’s population lives in this bustling port town of many amenities provided by generous Danish Government support. Apart from hotels and restaurants, it claims to have three night clubs and there are bars where’s the musicianship of Ilen’s crew will be much appreciated, while they in turn - if seeking a total change - may welcome the fact that Nuuk is particularly proud of its 9–hole golf course……