Northern Journal, Greenland. Days 6 and 7: The Brown Fox and the “Eskimos, the Serene and Smiling People”

Rareș Beșliu, a photographer in love with nature and animal life, starts the photographic project North of words, a parallel between the Arctic regions and the impact of climate change felt in Romania. He went on a series of expeditions to the coldest areas of the planet – Svalbard, Greenland, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago – and his stories and photos, gathered under the Jurnal de Nord hat, will be constantly published on and in ” Weekend Truth”. More information can be found on and

The polar fox, captured by Rareș Beșliu

DAY 6. Saturday, August 12

Good luck with the diary, because that's how I realize what day we are in and how this lazy time passes. It seems that today is the last day here in Ilulissat, the most beautiful place I have ever been.

As before, on the usual boat tour I was accompanied by fog. If I hadn't seen with my own eyes how the atmosphere changes, I would have said that you have nothing to do for so many days in such a capricious weather. What can you see? It's just that, along with the fog, the light also changes, and the landscape looks different every day. Even today, after 5 days here, the landscape stole me so much that I didn't realize when I met a professor of climate change at New York University. We introduced ourselves, exchanged a few lines and went back to shooting. It was only when I got off the boat, calm, that I realized that I had by my side one of the most important people I could ever meet, and I left without asking him any important question, and, especially without asking for his contact details. I went to sleep with regret.

Fog and pollution.  PHOTO Rareș Beșliu

Fog and pollution. PHOTO Rareș Beșliu

Tomorrow I will board a ship that will take me back to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. I'm going to say goodbye to the Eskimos, the most serene and smiling people I've had the opportunity to meet. I will look back and miss the red of the Instagrammable boats and the icebergs the size of a mountain with a thousand faces. I also gave names to some of them and made stories for them. I remember the Sydney opera house looking 'meringue cake' with a thick layer of pink whipped cream on top. It's like I'm not looking at a huge chunk of ice, but at a sweet cookie that melts easily if the fridge stops working the way it once did.

DAY 7. Sunday, August 13

What could I do on my last day in Ilulissat, if not to go shopping for books and photo albums again? It's my must-have souvenir from every country, but I don't know how it's done, because the most interesting books are also the heaviest, so it's a terrible stress when I pack my luggage. Now not only did I find a 3 kilo book about ice, but I also got one about the South Pole, I don't know if I'll be lucky enough to find one elsewhere.

The “mall” where we bought them is called “Icefjord center” and is where history meets science and culture here. It's a kind of museum with a special architecture, one with nature, inspired by the beat of a polar owl's wing. We went to the wooden roof with a view towards Disko Bay, where we saw the icebergs flowing through the bay from above. I understood how the ice is an open book and how we can read through it the past, the present, and it also shows us the future.

The small silent houses of Greenland.  PHOTO: Rareș Beșliu

The small silent houses of Greenland. PHOTO: Rareș Beșliu

At lunch, I ate once more (and I hope not for the last time) halibut, the fish I discovered here and with which I almost made a cure. It's incredibly tasty and combined with their paprika sauce, it's addictive. It's the only treat I discovered here, but I didn't need too many either.

Today I was in the 13th, but I believe that superstition does not reach the Arctic Circle. Not only was I unlucky, but I was lucky enough to photograph an arctic fox (brown, how else?). I was in Iceland when I first saw an arctic fox. The moment was short, I was driving and I pulled to the right to check on the internet if I had spotted her correctly. I expected it to be white and then I realized that during the summer it is a different color. The ones I saw last month in Svalbard were also brown. I was far from them and was looking for them with the zodiac binoculars. They were climbing the rocks, looking for eggs and birds. Now the fox was jumping from one piece of ice to another and had no place in the landscape. It was as if I was watching an espresso mixed with cappuccino trying to camouflage itself in the white and turquoise blue ice.

When nature mixes espresso with cappuccino.  PHOTO: Rareș Beșliu

When nature mixes espresso with cappuccino. PHOTO: Rareș Beșliu

In the evening, on the way to the ship, we passed the Greenland dogs, who pull the sleds when there is snow. Now it's summer, so I found them lined up to tan. I found out they are a purebred husky, found only here. Their number is decreasing from year to year, and with it, the tradition, which is over 5000 years old, will be lost. Because of the climate, the sea no longer freezes and sledges are useless. Moreover, the cost of caring for dogs is much higher than that of maintaining boats or snowmobiles (plus gas is incredibly cheap). But, what can I say… I think that the custom will be kept at least out of the desire to offer more “entertainment” to the thousands of American tourists who will probably flock from next year. That only three new airports are being built in Greenland, which will have direct flights to and from America. I don't understand why I'm surprised, after seeing the coal mine still open in Svalbard…

I boarded the ship that takes me to Nuuk so that I can take the plane to Kangerlussuaq and then to Denmark, but from 2024 I will probably fly direct from here, once the new terminals are built. My thoughts run away and spoil my mood, so I better go to sleep. Tomorrow!