Isafjordur & Westfjords

Jul 02, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


We arrived this morning at the beautiful town of Isafjordur, with a number of options for activities.  Long hikers walked the one and a quarter mile trail in the stunning Valagil valley, over rickety bridges to a dramatic finale at a deep waterfall-carved gorge. The tour then visited the Arctic Fox Center where we got an informative tour and insight into this charismatic species. We also had some cake. Other groups took the “flowers and fjords” bus tour with beautiful photo stops and visited the small, but perfectly formed, botanical garden at Skrudur with its impressive whalebone arch and the cafe at Flateyri for some cake. There was also an option for a town walk and museum visit which was enjoyed by many along with—that’s right—some cake at the fabulous local bakery!

In proper expedition style the afternoon was left open for some investigation of other fjords in the area, although plans for Zodiac cruising and kayaking were rudely interrupted by the impromptu appearance of a group of at least 10 humpback whales!  The animals gave terrific views within a stone’s throw of the vessel prompting loud choruses of exclamations and the thunder of clicking camera shutters. One animal in particular performed a vigorous display of flipper and tail slapping with a finale of tail breaches. Even the rain didn’t prevent a small horde of guests gathering at the bow to soak up the spectacle along with the rain. No spirits were dampened however, as testified by the loud chattering and laughing in evidence all over the ship afterwards!

Our global perspectives guest speaker, Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir showed her wonderful and thought-provoking film InSight about the role of intuition and nature in the modern world.  This was followed by a vigorous Q&A session, where many of thoughts and themes of the movie were teased out. And yes, then we had some more cake.

Later on, an afternoon of Zodiac cruising amongst puffins and kayaking in the fjord was prelude to another fantastic meal and finally more cake!

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About the Author

Ciaran Cronin

Naturalist

Since developing an interest in wildlife as a young teenager Ciaran has devoted most of his waking hours (and many of his sleeping ones too!) to the study of nature, and has found many devious ways of marrying his love for wildlife with other aspects of his life. With postgraduate qualifications as an ecologist, he currently runs an ecological consultancy in Ireland, advising on incorporating wildlife protection into developments such as windfarms and national infrastructure projects. An ornithological and marine mammal specialist, he has a wide range of field skills as well as comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of other species groups. He has worked with both British and Irish government departments surveying seabirds and mammals, and he trains new surveyors in survey techniques and identification. Fortunate to have been able to immerse himself in the field, Ciaran loves to share this knowledge and enjoys engaging with people of all interest levels, on all things wild.

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