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28th July, 2016

Akureyri. Iceland

The run into Akureyri is up a very long fjord which is very popular for whale ‘spotters’, so we proceeded relatively slowly and were in luck, as two humpbacks came fairly close down the starboard side, one breaching as it passed the bridge wing. There was much ‘whooping’and the minor thunder of feet above our heads as the folks rushed to the starboard side.

Docking in Iceland’s second city was completed in time for lunch so Mrs R and I managed to join the tour which went first up to Godafoss waterfall some half an hour away. The journey took us across a high pass, often blocked by snow in winter, but the road will soon be replaced by a tunnel. Difficulties have been had in the construction however, as they came across water at a temperature of 50 degrees. The workers could spend only 30 minutes at a time at the rock face, now there is a steaming little river which can be seen coming from the tunnel mouth before dropping down into the fjord.

The ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, was named after an event in the year 1000 AD when Thorgeir, the Chieftain, made a public declaration in favour of Christianity. Icons of pagan gods were apparently thrown into the roaring waters which are most impressive. It was rather chilly on the high plain, but striding out to see the spectacle from both sides of the river served not only to maintain the inner warmth, but also to spend minimum amount of time in the inevitable ‘gift’shop. Even so, Mrs R is now in possession of an ‘Iceland Puffin’patch which the tailor will have to add to that big red jacket. (I do believe the patches are now worth more than the jacket itself).

The return journey took us for a short drive around the town and also stopped at the Botanical Gardens. Indeed, one may be surprised to hear there is such a place in these climes, but I can assure you that it is remarkably well stocked with some very fine blooming flora, alpine and otherwise.

Captain Philip Rentell

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