Week 07 A Taste of Greenland

Date Posted: 4.5.2010
Location: 77º47'N 70º45'W Siorapaluk, Greenland
and 44º54'N 92º47'W Expedition Basecamp, Minnesota, USA
Weather Conditions: Sunny, 4°F (-16°C) and Sunny, 49°F (9°C)
We are still awaiting word on our final permission to enter Greenland with the Polar Huskies. “We are really shielding ourselves with patience, but I admit it’s nerve-wrecking” says Mille. We all really wish we were already in Greenland along with Christine. While most of our team is not in Greenland yet, we can still have a little taste of Greenland too! That is, once we succeeded in our Greenlandic Shrimp Mission. The shrimp from Greenland is called coldwater, or deep water shrimp. They are
supposed to be particularly sweet! So, we set out to the local store
on a hunt for some shrimp from Greenland. Frankly, we were blown away
by all the fish and sea food there from far-away places. It seemed there
were fish from every corner of the Earth... Including the wildest looking,
enormous octopus from the depths of the ocean outside the Philippines!

  Watch the Greenlandic Shrimp Mission – shrimp from Greenland in Minnesota, USA

  Watch the making of a Greenlandic Shrimp Salad!

Greenlandic Shrimp Salad  

Besides cooking up a delicious salad with the shrimp from Greenland once we returned to Expedition Basecamp, we also did a little research online. The Philippines, a group of islands just north of Australia, is almost 8000 miles (about 12,500 km) away from the store we went shopping at in Minnesota! Imagine the journey of that Octopus! The fact is the sale sign read “fresh!” The community of Siorapaluk in Greenland, where Christine is located, is in comparison only about 2400 miles (about 3500 km) away! So that delicious shrimp from Greenland is almost local in comparison to a lot of the other shrimp we came across—from the Philippines to Vietnam—and actually even closer than the American shrimp from Alaska!


[image right: Seafood soup with narwhale and seal in Siorapaluk! ]

Shrimp is the largest export from Greenland. In fact, fish is more than 90 percent of what Greenlanders sell to send out of Greenland, and more than half of that is shrimp! “Growing up in Denmark I have had lots of shrimp from Greenland in my life” says Mille, “but this year I realized I only knew half the story about shrimp! They are really pretty fascinating.” For example, did you know that all shrimps are born male, and then later turn into females? On Friday at 11 AM, we will have a chat with biologists Nikoline Ziemer and Nanette Hammeken from Greenland about World Resources. Nikoline is a biologist who works with shrimp in Greenland so she should be able to answer every
possible question on shrimp!


  Explore Siorapaluk – How many sled
  dogs can you find? Do they look like
  the Polar Huskies?

  Watch students in Siorapaluk
  sharing Greenland words!



[image left: A pair of polar bear pants for a kid hanging to dry in Siorapaluk – kids here go out to hunt and fish with their family]

We are actually having two chats this week! The first one, on Tuesday, April 6th at 10 AM is with Fernando Ugarte who heads up the Department of Marine Birds and Mammals at the Greenlandic Nature Institute. Fernando is one of our really cool scientists! Have you ever heard of the Disney movie “Free Willy”? Well, Fernando was part of the team that worked to release the Hollywood Star Keiko, a male orca whale, into the wild after the famous movie production ended. Today Fernando is more about counting and understanding Greenland’s walrus, polar bears, seals, birds and narwhales! (One question we want to ask Fernando is if he has ever seen a Greenladic Shark!?) Much of Fernando’s work is done in the area where Christine is at around the community of Siorapaluk.

It’s been a busy week in Siorapaluk- molding and painting polar bears; cutting glistening paper snow flakes and a team of powerful sled dogs; building a sled; and the writing of the story “Minik – the Little Hunter.” All the students and teachers in Siorapaluk are working with Christine on a book. Christine explains “It’s about a boy, Minik, who really wants his father to take him hunting for seal out on the sea ice. But, his father will not take him because the ice is so unpredictable that it is too dangerous for Minik to come along. Very upset, Minik sets out on a journey filled with sled dogs, polar bears, hare, seal and walrus! We can’t wait to share the story with you all once we get it done!”

         Minik – The Little Hunter
Right now the sea ice is in good shape around Siorapaluk and the hunters can get out on the ice, but the way the ice acts over a year has been changing they say, which creates problems when planning for hunting. Siorapaluk is known to be located in a great place for hunting, surrounded by bird cliffs and not too far to hunt seal and go fishing. Though, not for shrimp! That’s in the southern part of Greenland and not in the northern region where Siorapaluk is located. There is one store in Siorapaluk. Of course it was one of the first things Christine checked out: “It opens at 10 in the morning and closes at 3 in the afternoon. It has some fresh produce like potatoes, apples, onions and oranges. Everything else is canned, dried or frozen. There are lots of socks! As well as tobacco, bullets and beads to craft with. The post office is next door and it also doubles as the bank.”



[image left: What the price of butter where you live? Share it with the rest of us in the Earth Zone! ]

Everything that is brought into the store during the 10 months of the year when there is ice on the ocean arrives by helicopter. That means it’s expensive! So to live in Siorapaluk it is very important to be good at hunting, fishing and even the gathering of berries and eggs! To give you an idea of just how expensive things are that are not local, Christine ran down to the store to get a price on a pound (a little less than 1/2 kilo) of butter! Unfortunately the store was closed for Easter! But while on the shrimp mission in Minnesota, we were able to get a price to compare with - $3.69. Now, that’s of butter made locally. What we think is really wild is that we found butter that is produced on the other side of the globe, in Denmark for example, is the same price!!! Go figure. Now, help us out on our butter mission: what is the cost of butter where you are living? Then, post it to the Earth Zone! And while you are there, make sure you calculate your Human Footprint and share your result on that too. This week all us team members going out on the expedition are going to try to post our Human Footprint as well!


This week’s first Polar Husky Superstar, Jupiter, has one of he largest paw prints in the kennel! Jupiter is a big fun-loving guy. Very affectionate and relaxed, Jupiter loves to play and hang out with others – dogs or people and especially kids.  As a puppy, Jupiter spent several months going to an Elementary school in Pennsylvania almost every day and we have a hunch that it's from hanging out under the desks and in the school yard during recess that Jupiter really developed his laid-back playful personality.

[image right: Polar Husky Superstar Jupiter]


  Watch Sunny spinning both before and after getting
  her (smelly) salmon kibble!

Polar Husky Superstar Sunrise

Sunrise, this week’s second Polar Husky Superstar is just as playful, but not quite as laid back – and a whoooole lot smaller than Jupiter. Sunrise and Jupiter have actually been running together the last couple of weeks. With temperatures this week getting summer hot (70’s?F / 20’s?C) there are no more training runs as it is. That keeps Sunrise spinning! As much as she is a really concentrated, no-fuss, no-drama worker-bee when in harness, Sunrise likes to rev it up and fly around in circles with her endless bounces of energy when not on the go. Sunrise actually earned her nickname, Sunny, for her way of shining up a day – but Jupiter’s fiery good moods doesn’t fall far behind her.

  Watch a water break from
  one of the last training runs
  while it was cool enough


Both of this week’s Polar Husky Superstars get in particularly fantastic mood when its time for some crunch! The food the Polar Huskies eat right now, is the same they will be eating when they are hopefully soon running in Greenland, and it too is actually made with treasures from the sea - its made with salmon! We have no idea where in the world’s ocean the salmon is from, but we have no doubt that even the Polar Huskies will love the seafood taste even better once they hopefully soon will be running under the sky in Greenland surrounded by snow and ice!