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29th July, 2016

Seydisfjordur. Iceland

The weather was on the change, and sadly not for the better. By the time we entered the Seydisfjord a fresh breeze was coming down from the north. Fortunately the town itself is some seven miles or so inland and, to a certain degree, protected. Less than a mile from the berth a buoy marked a substantial wreck and I found out later in the day that it was the tanker ‘El Grillo’that had been torpedoed in 1944 when attacked by a German plane. On the shore side, just ahead of our berth, a 4 inch gun had been raised and proudly stood as a memorial to the event.

For those who may have seen the Icelandic drama ‘Trapped’on BBC 4, I can confirm that the ferry berth was the very same as ours, but the town scenes were filmed in the north of the country. Many folks went off on a variety of tours, including what looked to be an arduous hike up to, yes, a waterfall. The Hengifoss falls around 400 feet and has nearby basalt columns reaching up to 100 feet.

Mrs R and I decided to be somewhat less adventurous and took a stroll into the small town. It was very pretty and a number of what were called ‘Catalogue Houses’were evident. These were houses, apparently chosen from a catalogue, and shipped over from Norway in the latter part of the 19th century. With just two small rooms downstairs, one was open for the sale of local handicrafts and ‘take-away’coffee (I presume because there was no room to sit down inside). The owner told us that it was his summer home and it had probably been built in 1870. Other similarly metal clad buildings were bigger and probably from a much later period as they were relatively ornate. The powder blue painted church was a delight while another building, a boutique of sorts, was painted in a rather garish black and white, pseudo modern art style. You couldn’t miss it.

We found the town’s waterfall so took a short hike up to feel the spray and admire the view, then wondered down to see the smartly painted gun. A little further, a dilapidated fishing boat was high and dry by the side of what looked to be a disused ship repair yard. Mrs R was not amused when I suggested it could be my retirement project.

Captain Philip Rentell

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