Exploring Oqaatsut Part II

Not long after abandoning the guided tour of the remote Greenlandic settlement of Oqaatsut to say hello to a trio of gorgeous husky puppies, I was discovered by my new friend Shachaf. Soon after more and more puppies arrived to say hello!

If you have been following this blog for more than a few weeks you may be all too aware of my love for huskies, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that I ended up being far more interested in meeting all these furry puppers than in seeing the scenery.

The next photograph is my favourite photo of me EVER.

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

So many husky pups!

There were all so excitable and so eager to give kisses…

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

…to steal my beanie…

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

…to jump all over me…

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

…and to pose like little models on my legs!

Look at that face!
Look at that face!

This little guy laying on my legs was smaller than a lot of the other pups and I don’t know why, but he was instantly my favourite. I was then encouraged to leave my new furry friends so that I could make the most of my time and explore the small settlement. With a heavy heart I said goodbye to my furry babies, but knew that I would see them again before the day was through.

I must admit, once I finally dragged myself away I was really able to appreciate the beauty of the settlement. With only 33 inhabitants at the time of visiting, the word peaceful doesn’t even begin to describe the quiet and serenity. Many of the buildings and homes don’t have running water and lack many amenities that as an Australian I have always been accustomed to having – but each local I met seemed incredibly happy. More proof that money and modern amenities cannot buy happiness!

Many of the buildings appeared to be abandoned, but this is not uncommon in Greenland. It is often cheaper to simply abandon a property than to attempt to sell it or to knock it down.

The homes were so bright and colourful. The whole area looks too beautiful to be real. I can’t imagine how wonderful it must be to wake up and open your front door to see icebergs every day!

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

The settlement has barely any buildings and infrastructure, but it does boast a small playground and on it were gorgeous Inuit children playing under the watchful eye of a bunch of baby huskies.

I wish I could say that I spent every single second of my free time in Oqaatsut exploring all the hidden nooks and crannies in the gorgeous settlement, but that would be a flat out lie.

What really happened was that my favourite little husky puppy found his way back to me and I spent the rest of my afternoon giving him as many cuddles as possible!

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

He was also a perfect little model and was all too happy to pose perfectly until I got the desired photo!

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

He was so small, so fluffy, so affectionate. If there was no airport security he would’ve been coming home with me! I decided to name him Archie – which I think suited him perfectly.

Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron
Photo courtesy of Shachaf Gidron

Archie and Shachaf
Archie and Shachaf

After at least 45 minutes of photos and cuddles, I noticed that Archie had become stiff and seemed to be watching something intently.

I looked in the direction of his gaze and there it was – the reason for a change in his demeanor – a medium sized arctic wolf was lurking about 25m away, underneath one of the houses.

I immediately became nervous, my only experience with wolves was what I had seen on Animal Planet documentaries and not a great deal of it portrayed wolves as not being vicious animals.

As soon as the wolf saw us looking at it, it began to approach us slowly.

I was pretty freaked and quickly jumped to my feet and shoved my camera in my backpack with the thought that if the wolf tried anything, my beloved DSLR was the only thing I had on me that was heavy enough to cast a decent blow. I didn’t want to run because I thought that would make things worse.

The wolf kept coming closer and closer until it stood only a few metres in front of myself, Shachaf and Archie.

My precious little Archie then moved from next to my legs to place himself right front of me and began barking (or the puppy version of barking) at the wolf. The wolf at no point appeared aggressive, it didn’t growl or bare its teeth or make any indication that it would strike; and after about thirty seconds of looking at us and Archie, it simply turned around and walked away!

I know absolutely nothing about the behaviour of arctic wolves so whether or not there was any real danger I do not know. What I do know is that a husky puppy I had met less than a few hours before put himself between me and the wolf, potentially endangering himself in order to protect a strange human. If you didn’t love huskies before reading this post I hope you do now!

T H E Β  L O W D O W N
Getting to Ilulissat: Air Iceland has direct flights from Reykjavik to Ilulissat twice weekly in the summer months
Boat Trip to Oqaatsut: Trips to this settlement run all year and are run by World of Greenland – a day trip will set you back approximately $160 AUD
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm lens
Remember: To makeΒ friends with a protective husky pup in the unlikely event that you see an arctic wolf

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

70 thoughts on “Exploring Oqaatsut Part II

  1. I love how the houses are scattered around without any order or scheme. And you HAD to do it again, how is it fair that you’ve got dozens of huskies for yourself? πŸ˜‰

  2. How awful it must have been to be swarmed by those pups. Not really. You must give off good vibes to them.

    The houses are perfect little patches of color on the landscape of the village. It must be a very hard life where one is on the verge of making a living, or just surviving. Did you get a chance to talk to people about their existence?

    1. Oh yep it was a horrid experience πŸ˜‰

      I was able to speak to an older Unuit woman and some small children – they all seemed incredibly happy! The woman told me she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else πŸ™‚

  3. I’m voting Archie for President! I’m glad you’re safe, and made wonderful friends, and a wonderful memory! Thank you for sharing!

  4. You were right… I absolutely loved this post πŸ™‚ such beautiful puppies!!! I’m gonna share this post with someone who is absolutely in love with huskies if you don’t mind πŸ™‚ Love, Kathleen

  5. I’m dyingggg hahaha This is the heaven I’ve been dreaming of! ;D And the town looks very pretty like always. Ugh, huskies. So lovely!

  6. Oqaatsut seems like a beautiful place. I’ve heard many times that wolf attacks on humans are exceedingly rare. But the fact that this wolf approached you is also unusual, since wolves are supposed to be afraid of people. Perhaps this wolf had been scavenging around the village, and was hoping you had food on you? I hope not.

    At any rate, thanks for sharing your photos and experiences.

  7. Love the houses of different colors spread out in such a random placement. Adds even more charm. As for Archie… What a brave Lil guy. I think you should convinced Greenland that he needs you and vice versa so you’d have been allowed to take him home! !!

      1. Someone that commented on one of my instagrams has a post of a bunch of husky puppies. Apparently some market area in Mexico was selling them for cheap. I think she posted $20. It’s my Archie, but a fun trip complete with a Husky pup?

      2. Ohhhhh just wait!!! If you check out the blog later today….there MAY be some huskies on it from events over the weekend!!!!! πŸ˜€

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