*Photo’s courtesy of Chris Lambert
Day 1 – Joining Day
Most of the crew arrived on board by 6 pm.
After a delicious dinner, captain Richard told us the plan for the next few days and first mate Trevor gave us an abbreviated safety briefing for the night.
We were then free to go ashore. As it happens this was the last day of the annual summer festival, so the city was full of thousands of people enjoying the live bands that were playing everywhere.
Once it got dark, we were treated to an intense fireworks display, for which our berth provided the best seats.
By morning, the weather forecast had changed, requiring a new plan.
We spent the morning with briefings, sail setting training and helm / lookout training, then left port before lunch in hopes of avoiding the bad weather.
We headed around the Snæfells peninsula towards Stykkisholmúr. We were partially successful in avoiding the bad weather, though the bumpy sea made for an uncomfortable night.
After some lively sailing, we arrived in Stykkisholmúr in the late afternoon, observed by many residents out for an evening stroll and escorted by a drone taking pictures.
Many voyage crew climbed the hill of Stykkis, which guards the harbour and gives great views of the town. Others explored the geothermal baths, which were warm and lovely.
The weather forecast had changed again, so the new plan was to sail to the historic island of Flately the next day.
We sailed north from Stykkisholmúr towards Flatey, where we would find shelter from the incoming rough weather. After a few hours on an excited sea, we arrived at Flatey and anchored. The lovely permanent crew ferried us ashore in the DOTI boat.
Flatey used to be an important regional trade centre but now it has only 10 permanent residents, and a very friendly Eider duck, and a few dozen summer homes. The houses are pretty and painted in shades of red, green and blue. They have been used as film sets in the past.
After a nice walk around the island – unfortunately the puffins had already gone south for the winter – we returned to the ship.
Yesterday after dinner, we weighed anchor and went alongside the quay we had been anchored off. We locked up ship, which allowed everybody to get a good night’s sleep.
The Downside was that we had to leave the berth at 7 am to make way for the ferry.
In what is rapidly becoming the theme of this voyage, the weather forecast had changed, so we needed a new plan.
We are heading around Bjargtunyar, the western-most point in Europe (according to the locals) and into Talknafjördur – a small village with incredibly friendly inhabitants. One family let us use their car, another lady came to the ship to talk to us about the area and its history. The people where delightful.
The news of the wheelchair-friendly ship spread and locals were keen to ask if the 13-year old boy in a wheelchair could visit the ship. Captain Richard invited him and his teacher aboard for the next morning.
The first of two days in port, hiding from the storm. Thanks to the shape of the fjord, it was nice and calm for us.
In the morning we did hands aloft and assisted climbs, which included giving our young visitor a trip to the fighting top.
In the afternoon we explored the village. The local hot spring quickly became crew favourite.
The voyage crew went out for dinner en masse to a local family restaurant. Even though the restaurant was winding down at the end of the season, they provided delicious meals for all of us.
They even arranged for their neighbour to bring down some Icelandic horses for us to admire and to demonstrate the special gait that only they have.
Today the voyage crew went on a coach tour the captain had arranged for us. We visited another hot spring and the impressive Dynjadi waterfalls and drove through the stark and beautiful landscape. Cook Fred put together a grand picnic, which we enjoyed while exploring the waterfall.
Meanwhile the permanent crew received the local school on board and gave the students and their teachers a tour. Afterwards, they carried out some maintenance without having to worry about us being underfoot.
All hands were called at 0630 this morning because it was time to leave hospitable Talknafjördur.
Harbour stations went smoothly but then the engineers got busy as a freshwater pump broke just before breakfast, leading to lamentations in the lower mess as coffee became a rare and rationed commodity.
No sooner was the water situation resolved, than the lift to the lower mess broke, causing traffic chaos as six wheelchair users had to use the bar lift only for moving from one deck to the other.
The lift has now been repaired and we are motoring north in hopes setting sail later today.
This watch has been quite pleasant, it has stayed dry and we even spotted some humpback whales.
As I finish writing this, the captain just announced that we have crossed the arctic circle.
Forward Port (Marion, Jane, JC, Mislav, Nick, Andre and Steve)