Arctic Cruise Adventure Trip Log ( 17 - 31 Jul, 2017) - Saturday, Jul 29

Saturday, July 29: NW Iceland
January 2018

We awake to the sight of something new — dense greenery! As Le Boreal sails through the fjords of the Hornstrandir peninsula, we enjoy our breakfast watching the incredible scenery of the Icelandic coast drift by. We are eager to step foot on the shores of this mid-Atlantic isle, which compared to Svalbard and Greenland is lush with vegetation. White streams of waterfalls cascade from high peaks of ancient lava flows, beckoning us to the shoreline where we soon stand. Our botanist Dagmar and geologist Jason help point out the diversity of plants and rocks that we see. Dazzling stands of purple flowers line the beach, and beautiful sculpted basalt rocks gurgle as the light surf passes over them. This remote peninsula also offers its share of wildlife; whooper swans, common eider and meadow pipit are just a few of the bird species that we encounter as we explore the area.

After a scenic cruise through the fjords of this rarely-visited island, we pry deeper into the peninsula. Originally a whaling community, there is now a small café along the shoreline, and we enjoy a leisurely cup of rhubarb tea, rhubarb cakes and delicious crepes in the Icelandic style. Afterwards, we are encouraged to walk along the shoreline to take in some of the scenery of this place — rushing streams tumble from the high basalt cliffs down into the sea, where oystercatchers, red knot and arctic tern can all be observed in high numbers. After several days of expansive wilderness, we see today the first traces of human civilization since Ittoqqortoormiit. We return to the ship well-fed, and enjoy dinner while watching the dramatic coast of Iceland sail past with its misty fjords and stunning, sloping peaks.