Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014 – Grundarfjordur, Iceland – Party Sunny – 57F

Distance from Akureyri, Iceland to Grundarfjordur, Iceland: 263 Nautical Miles

Port Information.  Grundarfjordur, located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Western Iceland, was one of the earliest settled villages in Iceland (late 18th Century).  The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is home to a volcano, Snaefellsjokull and adjacent glacier.  Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”) is the most imposing site associated with the village.

20140713_ships position (Small)

20140713_map of Snaefeelsjokull peninsula (Small)

Ellen and I are both on tour today - “Djupalonssandur and Arnarstapi” – on a scenic exploration of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. 

Grundarfjordur is a tender port (no pier) but the tender ride is very short – maybe five minutes or so.  We boarded our bus quickly and we were underway (can’t recall the Guide’s name but he was very good).

20140713_on our way (Small)  

20140713_leaving the port Grundarfjordur (Small)  20140713_on our way from Grundarfjordur (Small) 20140713_gravel roads and lava (Small) 20140713_waterfall on way to Budir (Small)

Above series – on the way to Budir

The volcano in the picture below was responsible for the huge surrounding lava field – the volcano does not need to be huge to be a good source of lava.

20140713_volcano responsible for lava field (Small)

Our first stop was the very tiny village of Budir.  From what I could tell, the only thing in Budir is a brand new hotel (with WiFi and all).  The hotel gives guests access to a beach and great views of the Greenland Sea.  Budir is also an excellent spot to view the stratovolcano, Snaefellsjokull, which is blanketed by a glacier.  When we arrived, the clouds were not cooperating and covering the volcano.

This volcano (1446 m elevation) was the one that played a significant role in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne.  The characters in the story climbed into this volcano which then led them to a prehistoric world beneath our own.

20140713_volcano and glacier (Small) 

Snaefellsjokull Under Clouds

You can get a good view of Budir’s beach by climbing up a small hill behind the hotel.

   20140713_Budir 3 (Small)

Budir’s Beach Area

At the end of our stay in Budir, some of the clouds had lifted and we could see the volcano and part of the glacier.

20140713_Snaefellsjokull Volcano glacier reappear (Small)

Snaefellsjokull Appears

Our next stop is the little village of Arnarstapi.  Literary Note: This is the last place the explorers in the Verne Novel stayed before climbing and entering the interior of the volcano. 

This area is known for spectacular cliffs populated by a variety of seabirds.  The bus let us off at one end of the cliffs and we were to meet the bus at the other end.  You could either cut the diagonal or walk the entire distance along a pretty nice gravel path.  Many of the passengers were literally up against the edge of the cliff trying to get a short of the birds.  I was sure we were going to lose someone to the cliffs and the birds would get a great view of a falling passenger as a bonus.

I had no trouble walking the more than 30 minutes to the other end of the cliff area.  Our meeting area was the statue of the half troll/half human, Bardur, who was the protector of this part of Iceland. 

The next set of photo were taken on my trek across Arnarstapi…

 20140713_ Arnarstapi marina (Small)

Small Marina

20140713_ Arnarstapi more birds 1 (Small)  20140713_ Arnarstapi more birds (Small) 20140713_ Arnarstapi waterfalls (Small) 20140713_ Arnarstapi coastline 2 (Small) 20140713_ Arnarstapi birds on rocks (Small) 20140713_ Arnarstapi coastline (Small)

At the statue of Bardur,

20140713_Bardur - Half Troll half man (Small)


one could get a nice look at some snowcapped mountains.

20140713_ Arnarstapi mountains (Small)

and volcanic peaks…

20140713_glacier in background (Small) 

When I got to the statue, I noticed some passengers talking to our bus driver.  Apparently, these passengers did not feel they could make the walk down to the meeting point several hundred yards away (many had mobility problems).  I told them I would try to get their bus to come by and pick them up.  After some calling, our bus driver was able to get the mobile number of their driver and soon their bus was there to give them a ride.  Customer satisfaction.

20140713_Arnarstapi Bardur protector (Small)

Leaving Bardur and Arnarstapi

Our next stop was Djupalonssandur, a former village with a nice beach composed of pebbles.  There was an option of going down to the beach of viewing the beach from the view point.  I opted for the latter at this point.

20140713_Djupalonsanndur (Small) 20140713_Djupalonsanndur beach (Small)

Ellen was on the same tour (different bus) and she went down to the beach.  She was able to get some nice pictures of the beach as well as the debris from the British Trawler Epine, which was shipwrecked by bad weather in March 1948 (series below).

20140713_Arnarstapi 120140713_Arnarstapi 220140713_Arnarstapi 320140713_Arnarstapi 420140713_Arnarstapi 5

The bus then began it’s journey back to the tender pier.

  20140713_lava field (Small) 

Lava Field

20140713_Church Mountain Grundarfjordur (Small)

Mountain near Grundarfjordur

20140713_Grundarfjordur bay (Small)

Grundarfjordur (the fjord)

20140713_Ocean Princess anchored (Small)

The Ocean Princess at Anchor

We pulled up as a tender pulled up. We waited only a short while until we were headed back to the ship.

20140713_view from tender return (Small)

20140713_waterfall from tender return (Small)

Above – Tender Ride back

I got some pictures of the gray sail away from the back deck.

20140713_ Grundarfjordur sailaway 1 (Small)  20140713_ Grundarfjordur sailaway 2 (Small)

20140713_Grundarfjordur sailaway (Small)

Sail Away (Kirkjufell is on the left)

After dinner, we spent some time in the Casino Lounge listening to Chico and Dawn and then attended a new (for us) Production Show, “What a Swell Party” – the music of Cole Porter.  The entire cast was in costume and wigs and the songs were recognizable.  I am not a total fan of Cole Porter but the show, though complicated, was entertaining.

Seas are smooth…

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