Eagles, whales, fishermen, by Marc Givry

  • 0529 Aigle sur iceberg Narsarsuaq©EB
  • 0754 Baleine a bosse Narsarsuaq©EB
  • 1721 France peche la morue pres de Qassiarsuk©EB
  • 0746 Jacky France et Laurent©EB

16 July 2023, Narsarsuaq,

I won't hide it from you, we're in Greenland.

Nonchalantly anchored at the end of a fjord. Below the waterline, cod, lots of cod. Above our heads, eagles, quite a few eagles.

We say "eagle", but to be specific we should say "White-tailed Eagle" (or Haliaeetus albicilla). But, for simplicity's sake, we'll just say eagles to refer to these white-tailed birds. Whilst their tails are of course white, the rest of their plumage is dark brown and spotted, at least for the larger ones. The smallest have a mottled brown plumage on top, and are creamy brown with stripes on the underside and a whitish tail. Scientific treatises explain that the large dark ones are adults and the lighter ones are juveniles, but instead of "juveniles" the treatises say "immatures". As I don't think our beautiful young people, so mature these days, would like to be called immature, I'll avoid using that word from now on.

But mature or not, if we're here, it's because someone gave us the information: you have to be there, at the end of the fjord when tide is rising, good fishing guaranteed, with eagles to boot. We'd already caught a few nice cod when a fisherman we'd been talking to offered us one twice as big as those we'd already caught. Fair play (or were we tempted by a insatiable appetite for cod), we accepted the gift and from now on our future consumption of iodised proteins is assured.

The information on the cod and eagles was good, but there was still one ingredient missing from the day's show: the two humpback whales who performed their act, blowing their powerful jets, breathing two or three times, then diving to sound by putting their tails straight up out the water.

By the way, come to think of it, I haven't told you who gave us that tip about being at the end of the fjord between eagles and cod at the end of the rising tide. He's a "good guy", as we say in Savoie. And I can say that because Jacky is a native from Savoie, better a native from Maurienne and even better a Modanais, a resident of Modane! Trained as an electrician, he has been in Greenland for a long time, first in the north towards Disko Island and then here around Narsaq where he created and developed a fine transport and logistics company called Blue Ice. Although he has now handed over the reins and sold the business, he and his Danish partner Birgitte continue to travel actively in this region. So, thank you Jacky, thank you Birgitte, Savoie is very grateful to you!

But let's put an end to this nostalgia for mountain pastures.

I won't hide it from you, we are in Greenland.