Grimsey Island

Aug 18, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

After a rocky transit in the early hours of this morning, we were treated to a beautifully calm anchorage for our morning landing at Grimsey Island, located 25 miles off the north coast of Iceland and straddling the Arctic Circle.

Via the single little yellow bus on the island or simply walking, we visited the eight-ton stone sphere monument that marks the current location of the Arctic Circle, an impressive structure that needs to be repositioned 14.5 meters each year to keep up with the northward movement of this iconic line of latitude.

During our morning on this fascinating island we were treated to sightings of arctic terns, fulmars, and puffins, even though the majority of the summer breeding activity was coming to an end.

After a beautiful morning on Grimsey Island, we returned to the ship for 22 hardy souls to take part in the polar plunge—an exciting opportunity to be fully immersed in this incredible part of Iceland. How many people can say that they have taken a dip in the ocean right on the Arctic Circle?

  • Send

About the Author

Emmett Clarkin

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Emmett developed his love of nature and the environment from growing up in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains in Northern Ireland.  His passion for the ocean came from time spent on family trips to the wild Atlantic coastlines of County Donegal.

After studying for his Bachelor of Science in Marine Zoology, Emmett completed a Masters in Ecological Management and Conservation Biology, and a PhD in Marine Ecology.  He was given the Bright Sparks Award by the Irish Marine Institute, allowing him to undertake his doctoral research out at sea, studying the ecology of macroalgae and the connectivity of marine communities in the Northeast Atlantic.

About the Photographer

Michael Jackson


An experienced traveler, Michael has lived on several continents, including a year spent working as a naturalist and zoologist in Galápagos and three months in Kenya conducting a study of birds of prey. He is the author of Galápagos: A Natural History, a comprehensive guidebook which details the natural history of the plants and animals found on the islands. 

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy