Blog: LAC project at Disko 4 – mosquitoes and icebergs

Published: 9 Aug 2013

After returning from Blæsedalen we had a couple of days of cloudy damp weather so we used the time to explore the local area and recover from mosquito bites, waiting for the weather to improve.

A grey day, but we did manage to spot a whale so it turned out rather well!

Through the fog and mist we managed to spot a Fin whale in the Disko Bay near the Arktisk Station. Fin whale, the second largest whale species, are an endangered species, so it was an amazing sight.

We walked along the black basalt beach which is so dark as the upper layers of rocks on Disko Island are primarily volcanic. Mark could not resist picking up a lump of iceberg! This ice will have likely been deposited as snow possibly hundreds, or even thousands of years on the Greenland ice sheet. It most probably entered the sea in the Ilulissat Ice fjord 100km to the East of Disko Bay.

The weather cleared up on Wednesday and the rough sea became much calmer so with the station logistics leader Akaaraq we went by speed boat west around the coast to the bay Laksebugt.

We spotted an iceberg beached by the coast in contrast to the dark blue sea and the basaltic cliffs.

The journey was very exciting and fast with such a powerful speedboat. We saw many ice burgs and were joined by Tim from Durham University and Kathryn who is based at Queen Mary in the University of London. When I was here in April Tim and Kathryn were also visiting Artksik station so it is amazing that they have chosen to return at the same time. Tim and Kathryn are researching the seasonal variations in Glacial Geomorphology here on Disko Island. You can find out more about their work here.

We reached Laksebugt after about 45 minutes on the boat and promptly set off for the lake, which is at about 350m above sea level through quite boggy terrain. It was well worth the hike though, because, despite the persistent mosquitoes, the lake was beautiful and we were lucky enough to have blue skies for much of the day. The fieldwork went well and all samples were collected without incident over the course of around 5 hours before we began the hike by down to the beach. The views on the decent were fantastic.

For more from the LAKES project blog click here.

Image credits: Mark Stevenson and Suzanne McGowan.