After a snowy passage north, we woke at the mouth of Alpefjord in time to watch the fog dissipate and the snow-dusted mountains of Greenland National Park appear from within. We spent the early morning exploring the fjord system, and we encountered several groups of muskoxen from the ship. By the time breakfast had finished, the mountains were reflected in the glassy fjord, and we had arrived at a spectacular glacier. Naturally, we launched the Zodiacs for a two-hour cruise amongst the incredible scenery. I am not sure that anyone on board expected today to be so stunning. After a burger lunch, we went ashore for some hiking on the tundra and were lucky enough to encounter a group of muskoxen.
National Geographic Endurance
An overcast sky greeted us as National Geographic Endurance entered the old harbour of Reykjavik. With a slight change in the itinerary due to weather, we were given the opportunity to explore in and around Reykjavik today. The Ring of Fire, a 4x4 tour, and a spa visit were on the menu. The Ring of Fire tour took us to one of the geothermal power plants outside the city. Icelanders make it look easy to sequester carbon dioxide. They have come up with a system where they add carbon dioxide to water and push it down into the Earth. Eventually, the bubbly water turns into rock as it reacts with the basalt. The plant supplies Reykjavik with hot water and electricity. So, all you need is geothermal activity, lots of water, and porous basalt…then you can store carbon dioxide. It’s as easy as that! Fittingly, lunch was cooked with geothermal heat, including bread and pastries baked with steam and eggs boiled in the naturally hot water. Just brilliant. Thingvellir was our last stop. We stood with one foot on the Eurasian Plate and one on the American. Well, not quite, but you can walk from one continental plate to another. Iceland is such a unique place in many ways. As the plates slowly move away from each other, the rift created is almost splitting the country in half. After the guest slideshow and farewell dinner, the day ended with a concert in the ice lounge. Hafdís Huld, a local singer-songwriter with incredible talent and charm, brought this beautiful trip to a close.