6/10- Sondre Stromfjord Greenland to Reykjavik Iceland
We planned on departing Wednesday morning for Kulusuk Greenland, which is on the east coast of the island. The flight takes about 2 hours. The weather wasn't forecast to be bad in Kulusuk, but after a visit to the Weather Bureau in Sonde Stromfjord it looked like Kulusuk would get some fog. On the other hand, Reykjavik had excellent weather and it was forecast to remain so. We therefore decided to file with Kulusuk as our destination and Reykjavik as our alternate. The flight from Kulusuk to Reykjavik would be about another 3 hours. We had plenty of fuel for the trip. At 70% power at 9,000 feet we would have about a seven hour range. The view of the Greenland Ice Cap was unimaginable. We were told about it but it is hard to believe. It is a total white-out. See the first picture which shows the ice cap. It looks just white. But it is also undefined in its altitude. The wind over the cap blows the snow and you really can't tell where the ground is. (Of course you know what altitude you should be.) By the way, the prop is not stopped. The camera just froze it there.
As you approach the coast, the ice cap takes on real definition. See the second picture at right. After about an hour out of Sondre Stromfjord we checked the weather at Kulusuk and it "went down." The weather was 100 feet few, 500 feet overcast. This was below their minimums of 776 feet. In the third picture, you can see a picture of the invisible Kulusuk airport. It is under the fog that you see. We therefore changed our destination to Reykjavik. We were at 13,000 feet and reduced power a little. This slowed us down about 10 knots but added an hour to our range. We landed at Reykjavik 5 hours 12 minutes after take off with three hours of fuel in reserve. There are two airports here. The larger one, Keflavik is about 45 minutes out of town. The other airport, seen in the picture, is right next to town. We are staying at a hotel at the airport, walking distance from both the airplane and downtown Reykjavik. We are probably staying here until Friday.
We walked to a recommended seafood restaurant and had a very nice meal. It looked like Sharon was getting ahead of me. She was the first to have Caribou and Arctic Char (in Iqaluit) and Reindeer in Sondre Stromfjord. Not to be outdone, I had Whale Meat (Japanese style - raw with wasabi and soy sauce.) I can prove it. See picture at right!! It was actually quite good. It tastes a lot like Tuna Japanese Style.
Now were are going to sleep (I think). It is around midnight here, four hours later than EDT (the zone we were in 2 days ago) and 2 hours later than Greenland, where we were this morning. It's also quite light out, with the sun barely at the horizon.
(Aviation) The biggest asset you can have on a trip like this is range. Going to your alternate, three hours from your planned destination, and getting there with 3 hours of fuel left, is quite a luxury. Get comfortable with giving IFR position reports, particularly using Lat-Lon. If you have been flying long enough (I guess I have), in the '60's you had to give position reports because there was so little enroute radar. VHF is fine, although you may have to use airlines for position report relays. (Thanks British Air.)
We have boots, alcohol props, and heated windshield. But even with that, a nice coating of ICEX is invaluable. We had a little light rime ice from Iqaluit to Sonde Stromfjord, but after adding ICEX we had nary a trace on this last leg.
Tomorrow we DO REYKJAVIK!! We will probably leave Friday for the Faroe Islands for fuel and then Wick Scotland. Well, we are 2/3 the way across the Atlantic. A real "rush"!!