Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Centre of the Earth

Snaefellesjokull Iceland
Once again we awoke to bright blue skies and sunshine.  Stepping out on deck in the early morning the air felt warmer.  Our destination was the town of Grundarfjordur, a prosperous little fishing community on the south west coast of Iceland.  
Iceland coast near Grundarfjordur
It was still several hours of sailing time before we reached the tiny port. This presented us with an opportunity to see what "A Year on Fram" might be like.  In the Polhogda and Framheim lecture salons, the staff gave a presentation about the other exciting destinations the ship visits during the rest of the year.

By late morning we could see Iceland in the distance.    As we got closer to the coast we could see the lava fields and volcanic formations for which Iceland is famous.
Even though it is a small community, the little harbour in Grundarfjordur is well equipped and has a beautiful dock easily capable of accommodating a ship as large as Fram. High volcanic cliffs rose around the town.  It is a lovely harbour and a very well kept community.  One did not see so much as a stray gum wrapper on the ground.
At 13:00 the ship was cleared and we were free to go on shore.  There were several excursions offered including a bus tour of "the highlights of Snaefellsnes" a boat tour of Breidafjordur and a tour of the "Lava Trails and Viking Tails".
Being a huge fan of the science fiction writer Jules Verne, I was very excited to be going on "the highlights of Snaefellnes".  Snaefellsjokull was made famous by Verne when he wrote in his story, "The Journey To the Centre of the Earth" that the entrance to the centre of the earth was located at Snaefellsjokull.  (Note: jokull means glacier in Icelandic).
Throughout the 5 hour trip we had magnificent views of the famous glacier.  We had many photo stops including an Arctic Tern colony and a beautiful colony of nesting Fulmars and Kittiwakes that had some extremely cool lava formations.
At 19:30 we arrived back at Fram just in time for our last delicious buffet.

In the evening we all enjoyed a really fun quiz in the Observation Lounge about Greenland which was presented by the Expedition Team.

Today was really just a taste of Iceland. It was so beautiful and such a nice experience that I think it left many of us wanting a whole lot more. Some of us would definitely be back.