Not Quite Icy in Iceland, But Close

  • Day 10, Voyage of the Vikings 2019
  • Saturday, Aug. 10, Isafjördur, Iceland

The weather turned colder overnight as we approached the Westfjord region of Iceland, and when I left the cabin this morning I saw a column of people walking through dressed as if for an arctic expedition. The captain had warned of temperatures in the low 40s, which sounded cold but not bitterly so. However, people going out on whale-watching excursions would want to dress warmly.

We had no specific tour booked for Isafjördur, and it was a good thing because I overslept. I thought I was getting dressed in the dark as usual (out of consideration for my sisters) and heading for the Lido sometime around 6 a.m. That was what my Fitbit watch told me. Alas, it was 8 a.m. and my watch hadn’t synced with our last two time changes. I hadn’t noticed because I only wear it at night while my Apple watch recharges.

We have been moving clocks ahead an hour each of the last two nights. On recent cruises these changes forward are frequently made during the afternoon on sea days, which has the effect of taking away a daylight hour rather than a sleeping hour. I think the crew appreciates that. But on this voyage we are moving ahead during the night.

So the Lido was packed but I found a table and enjoyed my morning coffee and newspaper routine. I skim the New York Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. They load slowly with my ship WiFi service, but at least I’m no longer paying by the minute.

We left the ship about 10:30 a.m., after the rush for tenders had subsided and spent a couple of hours exploring the small town. Yes, it was cold with a wind blowing from the water. But I was comfortable in my unlined all-weather jacket with a hoodie underneath. The knit watch cap was just the thing, but next time I will bring warmer gloves.

After a coffee break in a nice bakery filled with cruise ship passengers, we stopped in a bookstore where most books are Icelandic, naturally. We headed up a small hill to an arch made with whalebones. It wasn’t quite the spectacle we expected, but the park was pretty and it was nice to get out and walk.

I let my sisters move on while I stopped to sketch a modern church with the mountain behind. The slight rain came before I finished, so it will be a project for later.

The houses on the side streets were almost all sided with corrugated metal, and gnomes graced the entrances.

In lieu of lunch, I stopped into Dokkan Brugghus, a microbrewery for a flight of four beers. The pale ale and IPA were my favorites, but I also liked the amber and a fourth one I can’t recall. Even better, they had lightning fast WiFi for customers, so I caught up on downloads and uploading photos. The brewery claims the mountain water makes it special and I would agree. Fortunately the tender dock was only a few steps away, so I caught one of the last boats back to the ship.

Meanwhile, the captain has announced a fierce storm is brewing in the Norwegian Sea. By tomorrow afternoon it will approach Iceland. Tomorrow’s stop in Akureyri will be cut short, with the plan to leave at 5 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. as originally planned. He anticipates winds of 45 knots and waves approaching 20 feet on our sail to Norway. Oh well, I sailed through 14-foot seas on a 36-foot sailboat once off of Newport, R.I., so I figure we will handle it.

As Capt.Vaartjes said in signing off his announcement, “Enjoy the calm before the storm.”