Greetings from Narsaq on the west coast of Greenland.

Yesterday at 3:30 a.m. the ship entered Prince Christian Sound, the eastern entrance to a maze of fjords that zig zag through the southern tip of Greenland and join the east and west coasts.

The other option for getting to the west coast was via open water around the tip of Cape Farewell. Much like Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego, Cape Farewell is the confluence of three or four currents and some other nautical nastiness that I know nothing about, the bottom line being the conditions are really bad on a good day and utterly horrendous on a bad day.

Needless to say I'm glad Arne (captain) opted for the inside passage route which proved to be quite an excellent adventure, especially given it was Sunday and most of us had the luxury to gawk at the surroundings.

At any rate, we entered the sound when it was still dark. Now that we are below the Arctic Circle and are getting on into August it gets dark for a few hours every night (you would think this is a welcome occurrence but to me it just signals that the short Arctic summer is coming to a close).

The wind topped 30 knots as Peter and Texas maneuvered the ship into the entrance of the Sound. The ship heeled a few degrees to port because of the wind and that's no small feat since the ship weighs SOMETHING LIKE 900 tons. It was a full-on squall with sideways rain which can be lovely if you're tucked inside a strong, capable ship, warming your hands over a heater as you look out the window at the snotty weather.

I couldn't help thinking about the explorers who first entered the fjord 1100 years ago. They had no charts, no idea of where the route would take them, no radar or depth finder to show where the icebergs or rocks were located. Crazy stuff, especially in the harsh weather we were encountering. It's certainly inhospitable here and I tend to forget that when I look out at the world from the comfort and safety of this ship.

As the sun rose it became easier to see the dramatic cliffs on either side of the fjord. Huge waterfalls spilled from the cliffs, often the wind was so strong that it blew the raging streams back up, turning them from "waterfalls" into "waterups." Likewise, from a distance we saw a big tabular iceberg in the channel with what looked like four water spouts jetting out of its top. We couldn't figure out what was going on, but as we came alongside the berg we figured it out: channels of rain and melt water running down the sides of the berg were being blown back up by the wind, which at this point was gusting to 50 knots. Nick snapped plenty of pictures so hopefully you'll get a peak at what I'm trying to describe.

The entire fjord system was spectacular, lined by jagged peaks draped with glaciers and waterfalls. The water in the fjord was a gorgeous turquoise blue-green, and later in the morning the rain stopped, making it a lot easier to spend longer chunks of time outside. At one point we circumnavigated an island in the fjord system, which added another beautiful hour or so to the transit.

Later in the morning I huddled with some other folks on a small deck below the bridge where the life rafts and survival suits are stored. It's a great place to hang out because you're outside yet shielded from the wind (unless it's coming from the bow) and have a perfect vantage point for taking in the scenery. I feel like such a halfwit because it's taken me years to figure out that this "sweet spot" exists on the ship. Duh.

After six hours we got to the end of the fjord system and were on the west coast of Greenland. Lots of big bergs in striking shapes were floating around, the sky turned dark and the wind starting whipping up again, painting a very surreal picture. The sun poked through the dark sky here and there, casting a shiny veneer on the icebergs, some blue and some white, making them look even more stark against the black sky.

We reached Narsaq last night at 9:30 and I was already in bed when the anchor dropped. The early bedtime had nothing to do with waking up at 3:30 a.m. and everything to do with a major food coma brought on after dinner. Hughie had the bright idea of melting Mars bars (like a Milky Way bar in the U.S.) and pouring the resulting warm goo over ice cream. I'm not usually a big ice cream person, in fact, in the world of nutritionally devoid foods, I prefer salty bad things to sweet bad things any day of the week. But something happened last night and I gobbled down three bowls, which was lovely, but the after effects were anything but. Hughie also had three bowls full, but I guess that's more routine for him coming from Scotland where they deep-fry their Mars bars before eating them. Even so, as he waddled off to his cabin to sleep it off, he muttered, "I feel like a python that's swallowed a donkey."

- Melanie