The author was on board the Fram courtesy of Hurtigruten and 50 Degrees North
AN AUSSIE IN GREENLAND
It was the sort of day that brought to mind an Australian summer: a deep blue sky, a gentle breeze, an infinite ocean. It was June, and our cruising expedition on Hurtigruten’s ice-hardened MS Fram along the inlets and fjords of Greenland’s west coast around Disko Bay was bathing in its eighth straight day of clear skies courtesy of a high pressure system that simply refused to budge.
In 10 days I’d seen just one other cruise ship, visited tiny settlements along a mountainous snow-capped coastline, and kayaked amongst icebergs. I was amongst passengers who days earlier were strangers – and now were friends. But nothing prepared me for what came next – my first and very likely only encounter with the Northern Hemisphere’s most productive glacier.
A CIVILISED RUSH TO DISEMBARK
Being Australian I’d never seen anything like it, though I’d seen pictures of course. I didn’t want my experience of the Ilulissat Icefjord to be marred by noisy Polarcirkel Boat or a helicopter’s rotor, or the camera shutters of my fellow expeditioners.
Everyone had made plans to cross the last few kilometres to see it, and you’ve never seen such frenzied anticipation. On-shore taxis, bicycles, local boats, and the Fram’s own Polarcirkel Boats all were poised.
One friend I made, Peter, a Danish retiree who was in Ilulissat 30 years ago and wanted to see how things have changed, chartered a helicopter. The rush to disembark only barely kept within the boundaries of civilised behaviour!