Decked out in polar bear fur trousers and wearing animal claws on a string around his neck, Marti Suulutsun certainly makes for an impressive sight as I pull up towards the remote island of Uummannaq off west Greenland.
It’s a fairly warm day – as the Arctic summer goes – with an air temperature of around 10 degrees Celsius and I say to Marti that he must be feeling a little hot as I hop off a speed boat on to a wooden jetty.
Luckily the 33-year-old can speak good English and he laughs in response before taking me on a walk to meet his pack of 11 dogs, which he keeps just outside of the main town on the rocky isle.
Decked out in polar bear fur trousers and wearing animal claws on a string around his neck, Marti Suulutsun certainly makes for an impressive sight. The 35-year-old lives on the remote island of Uummannaq in Greenland
Uummannaq is the eleventh-largest town in Greenland with around 1,280 residents – and it is home to the country’s most northerly ferry terminal
Pictured are houses in Uummannaq overlooking an iceberg-laden bay
‘They are quite warm,’ he continues on the subject of his trousers, as we stroll along the quiet, winding tarmac roads.
He goes on to explain that the fur came from a bear his uncle shot three years ago and that they ate the creature’s nutritious meat, too.
Hunting polar bears is commonplace in Greenland – and the locals use all parts of the animal as a means of survival in the brutal cold.
The Government enforces strict quotas on the number of bears that can be killed to keep the population stable.
Hunting, Marti explains, is one of his favourite pastimes and one of the reasons he left mainland Denmark for the remote wilds.
Marti has 11 dogs, which he keeps in an area just outside of the main town
On the subject of love, Marti says it’s not difficult to meet someone as the community is so small but he hasn’t looked much. For now, the only family Marti needs is his pack of dogs
Courtesy of Uummannaq Fjord Tours
He muses: ‘I like to be in the nature. The best time of year for me is winter when it’s cold and I can go out with my dogs and see the Northern Lights dancing overhead.’
Marti says he was always intrigued about Greenland, with his interest in the island intensified by his adoption by a Greenlandic woman as a teenager after his mother died.
He decided to move from the city of Viborg in Denmark to Greenland – where he had a scattering of family – around ten years ago and first settled in the coastal town of Ilulissat, which has a population of around 4,800.
But that wasn’t quiet enough.
So he moved to Uummannaq, where just 1,280 people reside.
He’s a trained electrician and had first gone to the island settlement to carry out some wiring work and instantly felt at home there.
After hiking up a small hill and over some flat, rocky terrain we eventually get to Marti’s pride and joy – his pack of 11 dogs.
Along with hunting, the native Dane makes money through tourism and takes visitors out on dog sled tours. He also owns two houses in the area and rents one out
The hounds howl wildly as a cold breeze blows and Marti tries to calm them down by talking to them and giving them cuddles.
So what is life in Uummannaq like, with 24hr-daylight in the summer and perpetual darkness in the winter with temperatures dipping below minus 30 degrees Celsius?
Marti has a think and responds, while sitting down on a sled to give his dogs some more attention: ‘I don’t have a TV but we have electricity and water. We can get Netflix, too, and they’ve improved the internet.
‘I have a boat. I go to the pub sometimes but they don’t have good beers here. Greenland people are so open. We all help each other here.’
On the food front, Marti says he loves Christmas time because he has a sweet tooth and candy and cream cakes are his favourite treats.
In Uummannaq it stays light in the summer for 24 hours. Meanwhile, in the winter it stays dark for months at a time and the temperatures can dip below minus 30 degrees Celsius
But on a typical day, he likes to eat oatmeal in the morning and dried musk ox, fish and whale for lunch or dinner.
Soup and rice are other staple dishes he enjoys.
On the subject of ‘finding love’ Marti says it’s not difficult to meet someone, as the community is so small, but he hasn’t looked much.
For now, the only family Marti needs is his pack of dogs.
Along with hunting, the native Dane makes money through tourism and when winter hits he takes visitors out on dog sled tours.
He also owns two houses in the area and rents one out.
On our walk back to town I notice that Marti says hello to everyone we pass.
I see that for him, this wild place is his island paradise, with icebergs instead of palm trees; pooches instead of parakeets and cream cakes at Christmas instead of coconuts.
What more could a man want?
- MailOnline Travel ventured to Uummannaq during a voyage with expedition cruise company Hurtigruten on its 17-day Midnight Sun Exploration itinerary