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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

26th September, 2018

Traversing the north coast of Iceland overnight heading west, in the middle of the night we passed an unexpected cast-off from Greenland’s coast in the form of a large iceberg. These large lumps are much more commonly seen in spring & summertime when the ice begins to melt & they drift away from the coast, but the occasional one can still be seen at this time of year too. Our radars picked it up many miles away, so that we were able to steer safely away from it nicely in time – radar being a piece of technology the Officers aboard the ill-fated Titanic unfortunately did not have available to them back in 1912.

The following morning dawned a crisp, cool one as we entered one of Iceland’s former main trading ports, sheltered by mountains on 3 sides. Isafjordur remains the largest settlement in the Wesfjords region and offer spectacular scenery, with rock formations that apparently date to 14 million years ago. Now if that’s not old, what is?

We were docked alongside the small harbour jetty at 08:30, and the skies were clear with only a little wind today, but the temperature remained at just 3 degrees – not bad for mid-September… The harsh environment here is home to an interesting array of wildlife including the Arctic Fox, seals, whales, and huge colonies of seabirds.

The abundance of sea life here was also on my mind, as I prepared one of the ship’s zodiacs for an epic fishing expedition. I would head off to sea with Ivar our Hotel Director, to try and actually catch my own cod for our upcoming Captain’s Fish & Chip shop lunch event. We had asked some locals for advice on the best spots for fishing, and they each had pointed vaguely out towards the sea and muttered something in their local lingo, so we just thought we’d try various spots until we were lucky. In any case, if we caught nothing there were some prosperous looking fish farms nearby we could pass on the way back, to save returning empty-handed.

As soon as we lowered our hand lines though, fish started biting. We started with some smaller Pollack before finding the larger codfish soon after, further out of the fjord. It was a stunning day by now too: the sun had come out and clouds had lifted off the snowy mountain tops. No guessing as to which one of us caught the bigger fish, either! A good 25kg worth of fish was landed before we decided to head back, heads held high. As we returned, we witnessed how quickly the environment can change here, as a sudden freshening breeze started whipping up the cold seas just as we neared the ship.

In the meantime, our Chief Officer Emmeline had donned her hiking boots and climbed a nearby mountain, as far as she could go at least before reaching the snow & ice and took some wonderful photographs of the bay & ship. She too had certainly earned a piece of fish, which the chef cooked up later that evening – well, we had to test it before serving it to passengers, didn’t we…?

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.