Tuesday, March 17, 2020

June 24, 2019 – Isafjordur, Iceland – Cold, Cloudy – 50s

Port Note:  Isafjordur is the capital of the West Fjords and has a population of 3500 inhabitants. The West Fjords is Iceland’s least populated region containing 9600 folks in an area of 9520 square kilometers. The region, while brimming with natural beauty is also a dangerous area, prone to rock slides and killer avalanches.  An avalanche in 1995 devastated the village of Sudavik killing 14 inhabitants.  Sensors now dot the hillsides giving residents an early warning of an impending avalanche.  Tunnels have been constructed to bypass roads with rockslide dangers.

Not a restful night.

Anchored today – “Water Shuttles” will ferry people to the city (not tenders but water shuttles).

I was getting ready to go upstairs for breakfast at 7 AM, when an announcement came into our stateroom (following the annoying chimes) telling us that the ship had arrived and then a few minutes later to tell us the tenders were starting to run.  So while that scared me, it woke up Ellen.  I stopped by Guest Services to tell them what happened and they said they would take care of it since the announcements originated from their department.

The area is quite dramatic with the fjord and the mountains and the town nestled at the bottom of the mountain.

I had a little of everything for breakfast – a little oatmeal, chocolate chip pancakes with diet syrup, one fried egg, and one biscuit.  Didn’t really finish any of these items but they were all very good.

I had the morning off so I caught up with this trip log while having an iced decaf skinny latte upstairs. 

We have a tour in the afternoon but we wanted to see a little of the town before our tour started so we had a very late brunch (just before they closed to set up for lunch) – a half bagel with lox, a waffle with cottage cheese and my special sour cream, and a biscuit.  This way, lunch wouldn’t be an issue.

We took the shuttle into town around 12 Noon – 

the ride was smooth and pretty short.  There are several ships here today including the Fred Olson Bodecca and the HAL Rotterdam (anchored right behind us).  The Ponant Le Champlain joined us later in the day and managed to get a berth. 

The shuttle port, which was located in the marina,

is several blocks from the center of town.  We checked out a number of stores and finally found an Iceland magnet.

I needed facilities and the owner of a restaurant kindly let me use the store’s. I felt I should buy something so I bought a coffee (had to use my debit card because my credit card didn’t work) for about $3 (the coffee was tiny – maybe 6 ounces).  We then walked back to the shuttle port to catch our bus for our tour – “Arctic Fox Center and Icelandic Folk Music Performance”.  We had about 20 guests and six folks from the ship on this tour.

Michelle was our guide (she is an American Ex-pat) – she had the unfortunate luck to have her mic not work, so she stood in the middle of the bus and hoped that people could hear her.  We drove out of town to the tiny village of Sudavik (population 200 and the home of our guide).  There, our first stop was the church (“The Stolen Church” –

named so since the materials were taken from another church) where a local girl (maybe a teenager) in traditional dress sang three Icelandic songs for us.

We then headed for “The Valley”, a location that marked the end of the fjord.

There were waterfalls and high mountains and lots of spectacular scenery.  

Our next stop was a non-functioning restaurant where we were served some rhubarb pastries and watched a sad video describing the devastating 1995 avalanche that killed 14 inhabitants of Sudavik and injured more than 30 others.  The entire island and other countries mobilized to find survivors in extremely horrible weather conditions. 

Our final stop was the “Arctic Fox Museum”.  There was a live fox 

and several stuffed foxes in the museum. My back (actually my leg because of my re-injured disc) was becoming a problem so I used my phone and an app to text my orthopedist back in the states (the time difference was five hours so his office was available) - I got a return text and set up an appointment with him (using the app) when I get back.  Amazing.

From the museum, we drove about 20 minutes to the pier, where we caught the last shuttle back to the ship.

The sail away was, as expected, scenic and I captured it from the chilly open deck.

We changed and had dinner in the Club Dining Room.  I had ordered Pasta Pesto through the Head Waiter at lunch.  The pasta was perfect and along with the double Cesar Salad was the perfect meal – no dessert tonight.

Showtime tonight featured comedian, Jim Brewsky – a black Jewish comic.  He has returned to the states after living in the Far East (e.g. Hong Kong).  We had never seen him before but he seems to struggle to get laughs and some of his stuff was cringe worthy.  He tried to get into a little current political humor (fitting because he had been away since 2016) but he just didn’t click. The “Jewish-Black” angle didn’t work either. 

We left early and headed back to the room – we were simply too tired.

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