Dynjandi and Vigur Island, Iceland

Jul 10, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

Our morning expedition began at the waterfall Dynjandi, located in Dynjandisvogur, an inlet off the larger Arnárfjörđur or Eagle Fjord. It was plain to see why this spectacular falls is called the Thundering Waterfall or the jewel of the Westfjords.

Dynjandi pours over a high cliff of basalt and fans out over the rocks below before gathering into a narrow stream that leaps, roaring, over five layered lava shelves below before flowing to the sea. We hiked up a steep trail—rugged, rocky, and lined with tundra plants and beautiful flowers—alongside the falls. Arctic terns were nesting near the shore, and we were careful to stay off their turf. Upon return to our ship, we enjoyed a presentation, “Telling Iceland’s Tale: How to Read a Saga,” by Sarah Andersen, a guest speaker from Princeton.

That afternoon, we sailed into the town of Ísafjórđur. Before tea time, our onboard naturalist and geologist, Grace, presented “Geology of Iceland: La Terre Vivant, the Living Earth.” Afterward, we took the Zodiacs to Vigur Island where we learned about collecting and processing eiderdown, walked on paths through an Arctic tern nesting site, and enjoyed the most delicious cakes and coffee before returning to the Zodiacs. It was an exhilarating ride on a windy sea back to the ship.

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About the Author

Grace Winer


Geologist and naturalist, Grace is a Montanan now living in Seattle. Grace received her degrees in geology (BS and MSc) from Montana State University. Funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society, she pursued her master’s degree in Alaska’s remote Pribilof Islands. Here she investigated the volcanic evolution of St. Paul Island, creating a geologic map, and predicting volcanic hazards in the event of a future eruption. Her knowledge of the Pribilof Islands and the Bering Sea region led to her work as a consulting geologist on St. George Island for NOAA’s Pribilof Restoration Project.

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