Shore excursion

WHAT

Up close encounters with wildlife and icebergs in Greenland.

WHERE

The remote east coast of Greenland, north-west of Norway.

THE SHIP

Robyn cruised on a 14-day Jewels of the Arctic itinerary on Aurora Expeditions' Polar Pioneer (auroraexpeditions.com.au). The cruise began in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, an island in the Svalbard archipelago of Norway, and took passengers to Iceland via Greenland.

THE EXPERIENCE

"People probably think icebergs are just white, but when you get up close to them in a Zodiac you realise the colours vary enormously.

"They're very beautiful and include various shades of blue and turquoise, due to areas with decreased air bubbles.

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"The most impressive was a huge ice arch; some people wanted to go through it in the Zodiac, but you're not allowed to do that.

"Having previously been to Antarctica, where everything is largely white, I was surprised by how much colour there was in the landscapes of Greenland, from various hues of brown in the rocks to the greens of the vegetation and the blues in the sky and the water.

"The temperature was up to 12 degrees during the day, so it was quite mild and some people were down to T-shirts in the afternoons.

"One of the big highlights of the shore excursion was getting up close to musk ox, which were less than 30 metres away at times.

"A big part of the experience is the anticipation of what you might see next, because no one ever knows what wildlife is going to be in a particular spot.

"We also saw the remains of some Inuit huts and graveyards.

"Nearly all of the area we visited is uninhabited."

VALUE FOR MONEY

Robyn says while Arctic cruises are not cheap, starting at about $8000 a person for 14 days, it is important to remember it is a remote location and all landings, accommodation, meals and guides are included.

"They also have experts on each cruise who give lectures and escort shore excursions - we had a geologist and a naturalist on ours - and each ship has a doctor. I definitely think it is good value."

As told to Jane E. Fraser

SUBMIT YOUR STORY

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

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