"" Writer's Wanderings: Akureyri, Iceland

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Akureyri, Iceland


Akureyri is the easiest to pronounce of the ports we've visited so far in Iceland although I'm not sure if I've got the right accent on the right syllable. We didn't stop in town on our 2016 visit but we did see it from across the fjord as we drove to our accommodations in the area back then. This morning we were docked as opposed to having to take a tender. While we still got up early and went to the buffet for breakfast, we did get a second cup of coffee thinking it would not take as long to find our meeting point for our whale watching tour.

We were wrong. The operation and the boat were a little farther from our ship than we counted on and had been told through email. As I recall, the email had said, "we're right there by the cruise dock." Well, sort of. We had to walk out from our dock and around an inlet to get to the boat. And it was all against a ferocious wind out of the south which was creating white caps on the water. What was probably a ten minute walk took us a little more than twenty fighting the wind but we made it in time to board, winded and anxious about what the ride would be like out in the middle of the fjord.

A couple of seats were still available near the snack bar and Bob got us a bottle of water that I desperately needed by then. We had a small window to look out but really didn't think we were going to have much to look at with the weather and our past experience outside of Hawaii for whale watching. Hawaii in January and February is pretty much guaranteed. 

When Bob said something to the girl at the snack bar about whale watching she responded with, "Well, it's actually more like looking and hoping."

We were about a half hour into a surprisingly easy ride through the fjord when the guide who had been talking about all the possibilities suddenly got really excited. They had spotted Orcas, something that was unusual this deep into the fjord and a whale much of the crew had not seen this season so far. 

I hustled up to the second deck with camera in hand and squeezed in with all the excited crowd trying to spot them again. We never got really close but we could see their dorsal fins cut through the water each time they surfaced.

Once we were done chasing the Orcas, we continued along the fjord and spotted a spout of water which sent everyone scrambling again. This time it was a small humpback who showed himself several times and even gave us a tail salute before deep diving. We watched him surface a couple of times and then it was time to turn and go back. The captain was uncertain of how long it might take us heading into the wind.

I found my seat inside again and braced for what I thought would be a bumpy ride. Again we were surprised at how well the boat took the waves and the wind. They expertly docked again at the floating pier which looked like it might be a challenge to transit from boat to shore but wasn't as bad as I thought. We made it safely and the walk back to the ship was even quicker with the wind at our back so strong when it gusted, it pushed us into a run. Then the tide had come in and the gangplank was almost a 45 degree angle. So we had a morning of walking, running and mountain climbing.

There would be no exploring the town in the afternoon. We were done with the wind. Besides, Bob was dying to try to remotely contact his ham radio rig back home and see if he could make contacts through it. So for a while I put up with a squealing radio noise as I worked on the blog.

The Crystal Serenity offers all sorts of entertainment throughout the day and especially late afternoon and evening. We sat in the Palm Court for a time and listened to a musician then worked the jigsaw puzzle a bit more before going into dinner. Special night for me at dinner. Escargot! It was followed by the most tender and flavorful short ribs that I think I have ever had. The food is never lacking.

After dinner it was back to the Palm Court which has the best view for sailing away. We were watching the skies to see if they would get clearer and maybe yield a view of the Northern Lights later in the night. The website that predicts the possibility of viewing showed that it was high. We planned to have a look after the evening show.

Our show was one we'd seen before on our cruise in 2022 that ended abruptly with the bankruptcy of the company. It didn't matter. It was just as lively and full of entertainment as before with a salute to past icons of popular music.

Back in our room, we donned our jackets and gloves, pulled up our hoods and went outside into the windy cold. The sky was clear for the most part but between the lights of the ship and a hazy look to the sky that obscured most of the stars, we weren't hopeful. When our teeth started chattering, we gave up. As we readied for bed, we watched some of the cameras on the ship from our TV. Nothing looked like the lights were going to appear so we called it a night and went to sleep.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...