A blue house in a sea of white snow in the pretty Inuit settlement of Oqaatsut (Formerly Rodebay).
Oqaatsut is a tiny Inuit settlement on the edge of Disko Bay, in West Greenland, where the people still live largely by hunting and fishing, traditions that are rapidly being swept away by modern life. The settlement has only about 40 inhabitants and is a trekking destination during the summer months from May to September, but we were amongst the first winter visitors. Oqaatsut has a restaurant, but that only opens in the summer, plus a supermarket where you can buy everything from beer to sticky tape! Amazingly for a village full of dogs, they even sold cat food! But the locals did seem genuinely pleased to see us, as we were bringing some much-needed income. Most of the colourful houses are built on outcrops of pink granite. It’s interesting that they don’t have our ideas of individual land ownership in these small settlements.
While we were there the sun set at 6pm and rose again around 7 am, so we were able to keep some reasonably social hours.
Getting about the settlement was interesting, there were no roads or pathways. The snow was quite hard packed and had a hard crust which most of the time you could walk on with no problem, but every now and again the crust would give way and you could be knee deep or more in snow. Extricating yourself from these holes was quite difficult at times! Also we had temperatures ranging from minus 10 to minus 34 degrees Celsius, so many layers were required. Battery life wasn’t an issue but tripods and the mirrors in the DSLR’s seized up if left out in the cold for too long.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor