Jul 22, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer
Throughout the past six days we have sailed together aboard National Geographic Explorer, we haven’t gotten a lot of sleep. The northern sun refuses to set, our expedition leader’s voice pulls us from slumber at uncivilized hours, and the coffee has flowed hot and furiously from the bistro bar. Of course, the rewards have been numerous: bubbling pots of inland muck, the piercing cries of Arctic terns swirling angrily above us, and the golden expanse of the Arctic Circle in midsummer. This morning was a great luxury, as we cruised to our afternoon port of Seydisfjordur. In an act of charity and grace, our expedition leader granted us an 8:15 a.m. wake-up call – which he crooned especially gently to our sleep-addled brains. After, arranged studiously in the lounge, we rested our bodies while absorbing a morning’s worth of political and geological background on our host country.
After lunch, trudging to the gangway, we had to crane our necks to see the tops of the dramatic fjord walls we had docked within. Dozens of waterfalls crashed around National Geographic Explorer in her snug berth, and boxy Nordic houses with red roofs lined the few quaint streets of Seydisfjordur. A chill was back in the air, and we dug out mittens and hats from our suitcases we thought we may never use. Some gluttons for punishment among us sped off early to hike up the steep, unforgiving fjord walls on what was billed as a “strenuous hike.” Walking tours of the small town departed led by a charming local guide, and busses retrofitted with off-roading wheels transported birders and hikers alike to Skalanes Nature and Heritage reserve.
We end the day increasingly awed by the drama of landscape, the depth of story, and the optimism of people here in Iceland. Tonight we toast and cheer to the fierceness of midges and terns, the gentle burble of geothermal springs soothing our sore feet, and the sheer rock face disappearing into the sky above our steady ship.
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