Today we woke up just outside the town of Uummannaq, which means “heart-shaped” due to the heart-shaped mountain that towers over the town on clear days. We woke up to a low-lying cover of fog typical to the region, but the colorfully painted buildings of the town brightened the scene immediately. Upon coming to shore, there were a number of key points of interest to take in.
In the museum, we were treated to a viewing of one of the original anoraks found in a burial site from over 500 years ago just across the bay from the town. We happened to be visiting the town on a Sunday, and many guests were able to witness a Sunday mass in the church on a particularly special day that included a baptism, with many women in traditional dress for the occasion. Another part of town that drew the eye was a giant-sized mailbox on a hill. For many people in Greenland and Denmark, just nearby this town is the home of Santa Claus. Children from around Greenland and Denmark write letters to Santa that end up here in the mailbox–if the correct postage is provided.
In the afternoon, we sailed about five miles across the bay to visit Qilakitsoq, which means “that which has very little sky” or “where there is low sky.” It is a very apt name for the day we visited with low fog hanging everywhere in view. This site is especially unique due to the eight mummies found in a gravesite in 1972. Due to the location of the burial site, eight bodies were mummified by the low temperatures and dry air, leaving them in incredible condition over 500 years later. Some guests chose to get out on shore and take a short scrambling walk up to the gravesite where the mummies were found. Other guests opted to take a Zodiac cruise of the incredibly scenic area and the stunning icebergs that dot the sea.
It was an incredible day full of unique cultural history, natural history, and beautiful landscapes. The day was capped off with a wonderful presentation about the people of the Arctic by naturalist, Jim Coyer.