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August 15th 2019
Published: August 15th 2019
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August 11, 2019 – Akureyri, Iceland – Weather: 39°F/4°C, heavy cloud cover all day, passing bands driving rain throughout the day, wind 40.3 mph, humidity 81°; Overnight the wind increased to 45 knots and the waves were running at 7 to 7.5 meters

This area has been nicknamed “the Capital of North Iceland” and was originally settled in the 9thcentury and officially recognized as a city in 1562. Today Akureyri is a thriving port town with an economy largely based on its booming fishing industry, though tourism as in other parts of Iceland is slowly overtaking this position.

Today our all-day tour encompassed visits to the Godafoss Waterfalls, the Lava Labyrinth & Hot Springs and included a stop for a hot lunch. After leaving the harbour area we drove along Iceland’s longest fiord, Eyjafjörður, which would have provided us an excellent view of the surrounding mountains had the weather been a little more cooperative.

At Godafoss Waterfalls, the waterfall of heathen gods and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, we were given the opportunity to walk down into the gorge for photographic purposes. Rugged solid soled waterproof footwear was a must. Following our time there we drove on to the Lake Myvatn area to explore the Skutustadir Craters, which were formed when rapidly moving molten lava covered lake water, which then boiled off through vents. The cooling lava then collapsed and formed large craters. The wind and rain were brutal as we explored the site and the lunch of home-made tomato soup, broiled salmon, boiled potatoes and slaw, was a pleasant repast.

After lunch we drove to another geological formation known as the Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth, referred to by the locals as “The Dark Town” home to Trolls. The area was formed when lava flowed over marshes and formed a lava lake on top. The surface layer of lava cooled quickly trapping the wet marsh land below. The water from the marsh then started to boil and needed to escape. As the steam rose lava chimneys formed allowing the vapor to vent through the lava lake’s crust. Eventually the water in the marsh was exhausted and the crust of the lava lake crumbled leaving behind the lava chimneys and a great deal of volcanic debris.

The last stop of the day brought us to Námafjall a high temperature geothermal field and hot springs area. There was a great deal of steam venting thru open fissures and several large mud ponds. There was a pronounced rotten egg smell from the sulphur in the steam but with the strong winds swirling around us it did not linger.

On our return to the ship all our outer wear, our jeans and B’s shoes had to be set out for a complete drying. But that is the joy of being travellers – you take whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

As we entered the sound after leaving the pier the Captain announced that the bridge crew had spotted three whales directly ahead of the ship. Unfortunately, whale watching from a cruise ship is usually a chance encounter and unless you are in the right spot on deck at the right moment the sighting usually passes you by before you can grab your camera.

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