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Iceland & Greenland Adventures - Part II

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

Continued from Part I

Monday; July 11, 2005 The Explorer - Day 11; Vacation - Day 13 Flatey Island, Breidafjordur and Snaefells Peninsula

"A bird of comic solemnity, the Atlantic Puffin's cuteness belies a resilience demanded by its unforgiving territory." -- Kenneth Taylor

Today is our last full day on the boat. Boo hoo! The day remained gray and rainy. But, as always, that did not stop us! After breakfast, we visited the island of Flatey - a very small, flat island with just a few houses, a coffee shop, and a church. It is known for the highest concentration of snipe in Western Europe (and I thought snipes didn't exist & snipe hunting anyone?). Flatey supposedly was a major cultural center between the 12th and 18th centuries. The island seemed to belong to the birds, and we were just visitors. We went into the little church. The walls inside were painted in interesting scenes. Jesus was at the altar wearing an Icelandic wool sweater. Someone else was using the puffin catching net. The cemetery outside was also small and dated back to the 1800's.

We walked through town, admiring the cute houses, and headed to the cliffs to see birds nesting below. It was a great little island. Nina and I bought Scooby a cup of coffee at the little café. We headed back on the zodiac with Morten for a quick cruise around the nearby rock islands. We got to see puffins, shags and kittiwakes up pretty close.

We returned to the ship in time for lunch and set sail for Reykjavik. Spent the day relaxing. The ship has a nice book containing drawings and poems created by passengers and expedition staff. We have a few really good artists on the boat. A few days ago, Nina and I sketched little re-enactment drawings of the whole iceberg-hitting-me-in-the back episode. Nina's version shows me lying on the bottom of the boat, with a big "BAM" sign, and I'm surrounded by smiling faces. Mine has tackily drawn cartoon characters riding in the boat with the iceberg sailing toward my back. We giggled and taped them into the book accompanied by all the fine art work. Today we found a pack of colored pencils and had to give the drawings some final touches (with help from Clea).

Caught Morten's talk on "Whales - part deux". Unfortunately I nodded off through most of it. I think, basically, his presentation was against the taking of whales.

We all got to enjoy Frank's slideshow at 5:45 p.m. He did a fantastic job capturing the whole trip - it took about 45 minutes for the whole thing to play. We were also given the opportunity to purchase a CD containing the slideshow and the individual photos for $35. This money will go to charity - to Planterra's Scoresbysund project.

The expedition staff offered to order us a taxi tomorrow since the ship won't be docking in the downtown area - we'll be way across town. I let Kim know that we had reserved a rental car with Avis. Kim had Helena contact Avis, and they will bring our car to us tomorrow at 8:30. Getting the rental car means we can skip the $30 cab fare. It's so sad we have to leave.

Dinner was quite an affair. We girls were invited to join Rolf, the Chief Engineer, for a special farewell dinner. The poor guy didn't know what hit him! We ate, talked and drank the evening away and enjoyed Chateaubriand. Rolf hightailed it out of there the moment we saw land. Kim, the expedition leader, put us at his table so that we could draw him out (he's shy).

Darlene ended up drinking way too much wine and had to be escorted down the stairs by Nina and Clea and put to bed. We went into our cabin and heard a big thud. Darlene had fallen out of bed and they tried helping her back to bed (twice). Poor Darlene. Lucky I was there to capture it all with my camera! (Just kidding!)

At 12:30 a.m. or so, Nina and I tried packing all of our junk together and put our large suitcases in the hall. We have a 7:00 a.m. wakeup call tomorrow.

One of our waiters - Jovan - nicknamed us the "spice girls". Early on he asked Nina and I at breakfast - where are the other spice girls? We told Darlene and Renee about our nicknames and just laughed and laughed. We started picking our spice girl names. Renee is Ginger Spice; Nina is Tabasco Spice; Darlene is Cinnamon Spice; and Renee named me Old Spice. Hey! Jovan came back a few days later and told me I'm Paprika Spice - much better.

July 12, 2005 Tuesday; 11:55 p.m. The Explorer - Day 12; Vacation - Day 14
Disembarking, Reykjavik & Golden Circle

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." --Lao Tsu

We are now in our beautiful, large, one room apartment at Room With a View.

We were awakened for the last time by Kim with the bing bong announcement at 7:00. We showered, packed up our remaining things and grabbed breakfast. I noticed that Darlene's suitcase was not in the hall and knocked on her door. No answer. I went in and shook her awake and told her she needed to get packed because we had to leave the ship. Talk about a hangover. Poor Darlene. Will she ever learn? Her roommate, MJ, ended up sleeping on the couch in the lounge because Darlene was making loud noises.

We said our goodbyes to everyone again. Avis was supposed to pick us up at 8:30, but didn't show up until 9:30. Helena was on the phone making sure they got us. (I think the staff just wanted to finally get rid of us.) Helena advised us never to use Avis again! We walked down the gangplank and waited & and waited. Kim invited us to come back in to stay warm. On this cruise, our group was the loudest, most fun and obnoxious bunch on the ship. I'm surprised she allowed us back on the boat!

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