Seyðisfjӧrður, Iceland

Jul 31, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


We awoke to a boisterous sea and spent a rare morning on board as we navigated the northeastern shores of Iceland en route to the remote East Fjords. The region’s coastline features more than a dozen fjords, numerous waterfalls, and small fishing communities. The morning at sea gave us the opportunity to enjoy presentations as the waves gradually calmed.

During lunch, we arrived at the colourful, little settlement of Seyðisfjӧrður, a small town of fewer than 1,000 souls that was founded by a Norwegian fishing company in 1895. The town thrived on herring until that fishery collapsed in the mid-20th century. Proximity to continental Europe gave the place a secondary function as a gateway to Iceland for ferry boats. Today, cruise ships—it only takes a couple to double the population of the small town for a few hours at a time—often tower over the Lego-like prefabricated townhouses brought in from Norway, nestled beneath the sharp cliffs of the fjord. Far from other Icelandic cities and towns, the high heathlands of Seyðisfjӧrður’s hinterland now attract ecotourists who walk a network of high trails that afford majestic views over the surrounding land and seascape. There are good opportunities to spot the best of Icelandic fauna—birds, seals, and whales—as well as native flora.

When the sky cleared, providing excellent visibility, some of us enjoyed a variety of graded hikes and walks, while others chose to explore the delightful community on their own.

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About the Author

David Barnes

Expedition Leader

David studied history at the University of York in England and theology at the University of Wales. Research in the field of religious history (at Cardiff) followed on naturally. He has spent most of his professional life teaching history, most recently in adult education departments within the University of Wales where he has taught a wide variety of courses pertinent to the wider Atlantic world. In 1988, he made his first lecture-tour of the U.S. for the English Speaking Union. He has published extensively on Welsh history and topography–his most recent book being the Companion Guide to Wales (2005)–and is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to Welsh cultural and literary journals. In the1990s, David was active in the field of international education, traveling worldwide and spending a year in the U.S. (in Atlanta and New York City). He speaks English and French in addition to his native Welsh.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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