Monday, 10 March 2014

Oqaatsut (Rodebay), Greenland: an idyllic hamlet housing H8 restaurant

Oqaatsut (danish: Rodebay) is a fishing settlement 22  Km north of Ilulissat, in western Greenland. 

There are certainly few settlements known basically only by having a good restaurant. Rodebay is H8, and H8 is Rodebay ( or was, till recently its name changed to Oqaatsut, meaning 'Cormoran' ).

That would be common in Italy or France, even in central Germany or maybe Norway. But no - this is central west Greenland.

Oqaatsut is located on a small peninsula jutting off the mainland into eastern DiskoBay. Some bright colourful houses around compose an idyllic scenery.

Population    ~ 50
Coordinates  69°20′ N, 51°00′ W

The small village was founded by Dutch whalers as a trading post in the 1600s; they called it Red Bay, and it was in use though the 17th and 18th centuries. Whalers pulled whales ashore on the flat rocks along the coast.

The main activities presently are fishing with long line, seal and whale hunt, and tourism. There is small hotel, a shop, a church and a boat-cruise office.

Oqaatsut in spring

Sled dogs are probably outnumber humans

The small but very good Nordlys Hotel

Restaurant H8

The H8 is located in a red long cabin by the bay at Oqaatsut.

It was a fishermen's storehouse, converted into a restaurant and inaugurated in 1998. A German couple has been running restaurant and cabins since 2003.

Somehow they manage to have arctic plants decorating the front window.

Greenlandic specialties are served, made from ingredients purchased at the parish hunters and fishermen, others imported from Denmark.

Fresh reindeer, musk ox, fresh cod, halibut, shrimp and whale... the vegetables are danish imports.

Apple crumb cake, H8 styled.

You can eat while looking outside at drifting icebergs from glacier calving at Ilulissat icefjord:

Quoting the writer Nancy Campbell :

' I watched the icebergs gleaming faintly out on the horizon, and noted their progress south. In silhouette, the varied forms—domes and pinnacles, and a few great tabular bergs—looked like a new typography, a slow communication unspooling from the Pole.'

[from an essay at MIEL blog]