My travels have taken me all over the world, but remarkably, the expedition to Greenland was the first time I’d ever found myself in a boat. As I had spent my entire life with my feet planted firmly on the ground, I had nothing with which to compare the yacht, but my traveling companions — five photographers, including Daniel, and four crew members — assured me that it was a boat like no other. Designed for safety and security in the formidable conditions of the Arctic, the Peter I featured a complete absence of comfort for its passengers.
I expected adventure on the trip, but I didn’t expect the adventures to begin before the trip commenced. We arrived at the yacht in the afternoon and our journey was to begin that night. As we prepared to set out, however, the crew discovered that the engine would not start. On a boat like this, the crew must be self-sufficient, and it was quite a spectacle, watching them open the floors and work on the engine throughout the night.
Calls were made to St. Petersburg and eventually someone from another yacht in Narssarssuaq was brought in to help with repairs. The crew worked through the night, and while they worked, the photographers slept — or tried to. We quickly learned that as long as the engine was not working, neither was the heating. And if you ever find yourself in a boat in the Arctic with no working heat, I assure you that it gets very cold!
I put on all the clothes I brought for the trip, then wrapped myself in two blankets and attempted to sleep. It was a mostly sleepless night, but at some point in the early morning hours, I drifted off into an uneasy rest.