Our home for the next week would be the “Hondius” of the 170 passengers on board there were 7 crazy divers of 5 different nationalities being looked after by Henrik and Catherine.
After a day of steaming north we finally arrived at Scorseby Sund on the south eastern corner of Greenland.
It was now time to put on several layers of undersuit, climb into the Zodiac and find somewhere suitable for the check out dive. This turned out to be on a rocky slope, covered in little Queen scallops and brittle stars. We also spotted some big feather stars and huge common starfish. The water was also so full of comb jellies and sea gooseberries it was a bit like swimming through jellyfish soup!
There isn’t much wildlife in Greenland (Don’t be fooled into going there on a wildlife spotting trip – there isn’t any!) underwater is different, what we saw was similar to what you could see in the UK (well in the North anyway) scallops, starfish, anenomies and jellyfish.
Our next dives were what we were hoping to do, dive an iceberg! Firstly choose your iceberg carefully, we are looking for one that’s quite flat, a tall one will be less stable and is likely to have big chunks fall off it. We are also looking for a smooth surface, this indicates our iceberg has more recently rolled over so is less likely to do it again whilst we are underneath (this would be a deeply unpleasant experience). As a final check we can dive, a quick whizz around our chosen ‘berg in the zodiac just to make sure the wake doesn’t cause it to roll. All stable? good! off we go!
We dived 2 icebergs, the first had grounded the second floating. For both dives we slowly circled the ‘berg looking at the different shapes, patterns and colours in the ice. Yes I did say colours, most of the ice is white but where it has melted and re-frozen the ice is clear and the sun shines through as the most beautiful shades of deep blue.
Although the surface is scalloped its really smooth (yes the first thing we did was to touch it – well you have to don’t you?) Swimming that close to a big lump of ice has its own hazards, melting ice produces fresh water so with the changing salinity of the water this can affect your buoyancy and with some of the fjords being 800m deep you do need to be careful!
Our second ‘berg had a surprising amount of life surrounding it. As well as the ever present jellies there were sea butterflies (black blobs with cillia “wings”) tiny shrimp like creatures living in cracks in the ice and something yet to be identified (a transparent thimble with a “skirt” around the base).
Our first ever dive on an iceberg finished with hot chocolate (Gerard – take note) on the zodiac and a landing on our chosen piece of ice.
All too soon it came to our last dive, this was in Turner Sund, an area never dived before. Once below the kelp line we found the usual colourful algae, starfish, anenomies and sea squirts. Again there were unidentified things including what looked like a round orange sea squirt on a stalk – just weird!
It was an amazing week of diving, stunning scenery, good food and Northern lights which I can highly recommend to anyone not afraid of the cold!