18-Oct-2011 -- Encouraged by my friend Ihor Klyufas’ recent successful confluence visit in Nepal, I am finally posting this – four years after the fact!
I was working as a geologist on the Isua iron-ore deposit, which London Mining was evaluating by drilling for the third field season in a row (the project has since been abandoned due to the sharp fall in iron prices). The confluence point lay very close to the flight-path between our camp, and the deposit (a distance of approximately 60 km); we would fly back and forth on a daily basis by helicopter.
As mentioned by Peter Scharfenberg in his description of his ‘incomplete’ visit in 2014 (a flight several km to the west), the confluence is located on a lake, which is adjacent to the main Greenland ice-sheet. For almost the entire time I was there in 2011 the lake was either open water or not frozen hard enough to walk on safely. This was a little frustrating. One time I asked the helicopter pilot to hover directly over the confluence, but I was unable to obtain the zeroes on my GPS. Another time, due to high winds, we happened to land briefly on the western shore of the lake, and I took a photo of the confluence area (Sept. 2).
A cold snap in mid-October put an abrupt halt to our drilling activities. And on the very last flight to the work-site I saw that the confluence lake was frozen solid. As we were flying back to camp I asked the pilot and three other passengers if they would mind stopping for a few minutes near the confluence. The pilot was naturally hesitant to land on the ice without having checked it first, so he set down on an island roughly 500 m away. After making sure the ice was thick enough to walk on (using an axe I had brought with me), I stepped onto the lake and ran towards the confluence point. When I got to it I looked around and saw that my Greenlandic work-mate Seth Nielsen (who was always up for an adventure) had followed me.
I was in a state of euphoria – one, because thanks to Mother Nature I was able to visit the confluence at the very last moment; two, because I was finally going home after a gruelling four months of work in a remote (albeit beautiful) location. Plus it was great fun running and sliding over the ice!
As we ran back, the helicopter lifted off and met us halfway.