A kayak trip in Greenland's Nuuk fjords through an area of amazing beauty
Turreted fairytale peaks, glistening snowfields, waterfalls plunging over immense cliffs into the sea, a million tons of ice capsizing - this is the setting for Fallen Pieces of the Moon, an account of a kayak trip along the west coast of Greenland, paddling about 150 miles of coastline in the Nuuk fjords area.
Into the day-to-day account of contending with unsettled weather such as fog, unstable icebergs, midges and bugs by the billion, are woven insights into Inuit culture - their language, their shamanic practices, their hunting and navigation techniques and much more. On the way, the reader learns a great deal about the Arctic animals, pollution and the Arctic environment. Information on the early Arctic whalers, when whole fleets were beset and crushed by ice, is included; and an appreciation will be gained of the hardships endured by the Viking settlers and explorers such as Frobisher and Franklin who suffered scurvy, frostbite and starvation.
Told with humour, the book is endlessly informative and entertaining on topics ranging from cannibalism, kayak rolling and Inuit string games to cargo cults or how the invention of bully beef influenced naval tactics. Fallen Pieces of the Moon is a celebration of a sparse, billion-year-old landscape where the roots of things, both physical and human, seem less hidden. It conveys something of the wonder and awe that Greenland inspires in all who have been there. It describes days of absolute stillness, sliding though shoals of waxing suns; ephemeral cloudscapes on broad-winged breezes; a high corrie where jet black ravens float in a crystal bowl of Alpine air; and the ever-present icebergs like cathedrals of glass, like floating jewels, like fallen pieces of the moon.