The sun shone, and the water was calm and shimmering. Of the handful of days I spent in Nuuk, this was by far the most pristine. It was on this gorgeously perfect Greenlandic morning that Piitaaraq and Theresa, of Nuuk Tourism, took us out sailing on the Spar 5, captained by Michael and unofficially co-captained by Maria, a young Greenlandic artist.
The six of us departed from Nuuk’s Atlantic harbour, excited to be on a boat – if only T-Pain were there. From the deck we took in sweeping views of Nuuk’s peninsula. Blocks of apartments and colourful wooden homes staggered over the rocky seashore, shrinking to specks and then to nothing as we sailed away from civilization, deeper into fjords. Soon we were surrounded by capped mountains, their grandeur putting into perspective just how small we are and how vast the world. The sun continued to shine as our ship and packs of playful seals created the only waves on the glassy surface.
Showing off the goods
After sailing for little over an hour we dropped anchor and, three at a time, clamoured onto the floor of a small rowboat to go ashore. One of the many exciting tourist packages that Nuuk Tourism offers is Fly-fishing Camp, a week-long excursion for avid fly-fishers to a pair of cabins set on the shore of an inlet, a short walking distance from three prime fishing rivers. This package, and the alternative that ferries fishers back to a Nuuk hotel each night, is geared toward those with their own equipment and experience fly-fishing. I would spring for my own equipment if it meant enjoying a week at such a serene and pristine natural haven. Piitaaraq said it best when, walking between the cabin and river, he sighed “time stands still here.” This piece of land – remote, secluded, and expansive – was like heaven.
Here’s a fun little anecdote: the execs of the now bankrupt Glitnir bank enjoyed a week of fly-fishing with Nuuk Tourism in the summer of 2008. However, unlike other fly-fishing enthusiasts and run of the mill tourists, these guys solicited the company to pimp their fishing trip with a swank helicopter to shuttle them and their buddies around at will. You know, because money is no object.
Fishing and Village Life
Back on the boat, we sailed mere minutes from the site of the cabins, dropped anchor again and set about fishing in the 60+ metre deep waters. Within seconds of dropping my line I felt a bite. I gave the rod a tug and started to reel the line in. After what seemed like hours of reeling and pulling back, watching the long rod bend and curve from the weight of whatever was on the end of the line, I peered down below the surface of the water. Two large orange fish – ocean perch, I later learned – snared on the hooks of my fishing line struggled as I reeled in the remainder of the line and hoisted them above the surface. The speed at which we were catching fish over the next hour was almost comical, prompting the Grapevine photographer to joke that our hosts had hired divers to put fish on our hooks so that we tourists would be impressed with the experience. In any case, we were.
Before heading back to Nuuk we visited the small village of Kapisillit. This tiny collection of colourful wooden homes climbing the steep hill away from the seashore was surprisingly lively for a population of only 70. Children ran and laughed and screamed, young mothers pushed their babies around in prams with puppies bouncing along behind them, soaked from a swim in the chilly water. It was idyllic, really, and to stay in the small town’s hostel or hotel (because they run one of each) would surely be a worthy and pure experience.
Nuuk Tourism will show you a good time
So, this superb day I have described here isn’t actually a tour that you, an enthusiastic tourist in Greenland, can take part in (unless you can convince some locals to take you for a ride). It was set up by Piitaaraq and Theresa so that my companion and I could see the goods in the (sadly) limited time we had at our disposal. That being said, the good people of Nuuk Tourism do offer a range of seemingly wicked activities that you can participate in, from hours-long city tours to weeklong camping and fly-fishing packages mentioned earlier, whale-watching safaris and sea-angling excursions.