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Iceland & Greenland Adventures - Part I

Author: Linda V. (More Trip Reviews by Linda V.)
Date of Trip: July 2005

Had dinner with Jane and Michael (our favorite English couple) and Sarah from New Zealand. Renee made me take pictures of our appetizer - sliced mozzarella and tomato and the dessert - cream puffs shaped like swans with Chantilly cream and whipped cream. Great stuff!

Hung out in the lounge, and the chef found us at 10:45 for our kitchen tour. We had to sneak out just as Captain Paul began playing some really nice music on the piano. He's Mr. Multi-talented. Ranier took us into all parts of the kitchen and showed where the food was prepared, how they thaw the fish, showed us the pantry, the refrigerator, freezers, etc. It was so interesting, and they still have a ton of food! They get much of it from Germany. (Food in Iceland would be soooo expensive!) We climbed into the bowels of the ship to get down to the pantry. He warned us that the ship is very old, so the kitchen is not dirty - just worn. Tomorrow night they do a deep cleaning. We chatted with the chef for a very long time. He told us it is so difficult to get a good paying job as a chef in Portugal. That's why he'd been doing the ship thing. His next gig is a few months cruising the rivers of Europe. (He likes the Arctic better.) He's a lot of fun.

The sunset didn't quite happen tonight. The sky was blue in parts, but the sun went into a big cloud bed. The mountains of the fjord were amazing with color throughout. Just gorgeous. Now it's beddy bye...

July 10, 2005 Sunday; 5:10 p.m. The Explorer - Day 10; Vacation - Day 12 Westfjords, Iceland

"It looks like the world turns inside out, like a part of the surface of the moon transplanted onto the surface of the sea. So it is perhaps not surprising that only a quarter of a million people live here, on the Rorschach blot-shaped pile of black and still warm volcanic rock that has been known over the centuries as Thule, Snowland, Butterland, but which is now officially called by its Norse name, Iceland." -- Simon Winchester

We're relaxing in the lounge enjoying tea (or in my case diet coke). They ran out of cookies before I got here - bummer! I had to settle for cake.

Today was another great day. It rained all day long, but that didn't stop us! After breakfast we did our first landing in Dynjandavogur Fjord. It was such a beautiful place. There was a wonderful waterfall cascading down the mountain in multiple tiers. There were lovely rock formations and a multitude of wild flowers including a few purple orchids. We made it all the way to the base of the highest cascade. The spray flew through the air swirling all around us. I was surprised to find that the wall of rock was actually orange in color. Amazing.

I was so surprised when we first landed at the waterfall site. A bus pulled up as we were getting off the zodiacs. The road is narrow and unpaved - we didn't expect to see anyone this far out. As we were leaving, 4 or 5 cars had parked at the trail head. Quite the popular spot!

We were soaked and hung our things up to dry. I managed to stay pretty dry under my rain pants and rain jacket. Lunch was good - I especially enjoyed the Hungarian Goulash. The ship moved on down the fjords, and our next stop was Sudurfirdir Fjord. We did the landing at about 2:30. I felt bad for Michael (the 85-year old English gentleman). He really wanted to do the landings today, but the terrain was too uneven, and we don't want him to fall and break a hip or something.

Nina and I opted for the longer hike. This area was completely deserted. However, there were a few uninhabited log cabins and an old house in the area. The beach was covered with yellow and orange kelp - gave it kind of an autumn feel. There was a forest of spruce trees growing as well as other bushes and tons of wildflowers. We waded across the river and hiked up the hill to a beautiful overlook. (I huffed and puffed and had to watch my footing.) There were a number of uneven rocks and mud to contend with. At the top were petroglyphs - not ancient - they were from 1930. Nina found two abandoned bird eggs. The area had a ton of pesky mosquitoes. I had to keep smacking them out of the way and breathe carefully and blow out my mouth. All in all a great little hike.

Now we're heading on down the coast. Not sure what's in store for us next.

-- later -- 11:10 p.m.

Had our briefing at 7PM. Looks like we'll get one more landing before we return to Reykjavik. Yeah! We're stopping tomorrow morning at Flatey. It's supposed to be a good place for seabirds and a cute little island. Sabeana kind of put Helena and the Inuit guys on the spot. She asked them to explain why it's good for them to hunt whales. Then she and Jacky disagreed with Helena's response and were citing studies, etc. We found the whole thing a bit inappropriate. It was unfair to have environmentalists ganging up on them for their traditional ways (even though we don't agree with those ways). They are our hostages...I mean guests on the ship, and we should be more sensitive.

Dinner was another great affair. Afterwards, we passed by the cliffs of Latrabjarg. Roger says this is the best place to view seabirds. We saw guillemots, razor bills, puffins and more. The sky was just full of the birds. They would dart by in large flocks, pairs or just on their own. Quite a sight.

I used the ship's MAC computer to copy my photos onto CD. It's a great service - we copy them ourselves and pay $1 for the CD. Hopefully they'll be viewable on my PC.

Continue reading Part II of this trip report.

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