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Lichtenau, Unartoq Hot Springs and Vagar

Lichtenau, Unartoq Hot Springs and Vagar

We sailed through the night and in the morning we woke to a foggy day close to the small settlement of Lichtenau. After breakfast we took the zodiacs and landed on a sandy beach right in front of the settlement.

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The village was founded  by Moravian missionaries in 1744 and the origional church is still intact and open to visitors.

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The area had been previously occupied by Thule inuits and a small Norse community. Today Lichtenau is home to just 5 people – there are more houses than people! In Summer the small population of this settlement increases in numbers due to visitors from other towns coming and staying to help with the turnip and potato plantations or simply to visit family. We met up with two sisters who had come to look after their Grandmothers house. Whilst they were sisters one of them was Greenlandic and the other Danish. Thirty years previously the father of the Danish sister had arrived into Lichtenau as he worked as a sailor. He had an affair with a local woman and the Greenlandic sister was conceived. He returned to Denmark not knowing that he had a daughter. When the Greenlandic sister was in her twenties she went looking for her father and found out that she had a sister. They now visit each other regularly travelling to both Greenland and Denmark.

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After visiting the church and walking around the settlement the fog and had lifted and the sun shining so we decided to explore the surrounding area. We climbed to the top of the hill dominating the area, where there are remains of a norse settlement. As well as seeming some beautifully coloured vegetation we also came across a couple of sheep.

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We continued to explore the beautiful surroundings strolling along the rocky beach where you could see the most beautiful view of Lichtenau Fjord. Some of us climbed up to the top of the hill overlooking the settlement were we were treated to some stunning views over Lichtenau, the Fjord and the lakes on the other side of the hill. Having built up a very healthy appetite we returned to Rembrandt and due to the improved weather conditions we were treated to lunch on deck. It was so special to be eating a BBQ lunch of salad and burgers on deck whilst sailing from Lichtenau Fjord to Unartoq Fjord.

Late in the afternoon we have a short briefing before heading out in the Zodiacs. We land on a small beach on the East side of Unartoq island. From there we take an easy 20 minute walk to the famous hot springs.

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As we approached the hot springs I could see a small changing room next to the first and largest pool. The pool itself was full of locals from the nearby settlements who were enjoying the hot springs.

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Further downstream lay a second pool, which was deserted so we all headed there.

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Tentatively I stepped into the warm waters of the pool. The contrast in temperatures was quite startling and once inside the soothing, warm waters of the spring I really didn’t want to get out! Reluctantly after half an hour we all decided that it was time to leave the pools and return to the ship. I have never got dressed so quickly – not even bothering to remove my swimming costume I quickly got dressed. Struggling to put on my clothes whilst shivering in the cold air. Thankfully I soon warmed up on the walk back to the ship and within minutes was enjoying a hot shower.