Flatey Island and Grundarfjordur, Iceland, 9/19/2022, National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance
Today we continued our exploration of the wonderful country of Iceland. The morning began with a chance for guests to take a short Zodiac shuttle to Flatey Island. We walked along the narrow paths on this charming little island just off the mainland of Iceland. In the afternoon, we relocated to Grundarfjordur, where the options were to take a shuttle to Kirkjufell Waterfall or a longer bus ride around Hellsin.
Nathan Kelley developed his love for nature as a kid at his family’s cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Family fishing trips, camping, hiking and a trip to his first National Park in the Everglades, all vigorously shaped his passion for the natural world. ...
Just in time to watch the captain expertly navigate through the narrow pass into the harbor, the ship awoke at the mouth of Heimaey, the largest island in the Vestmannaeyjar. The harbor was full of pufflings fresh from two months down a burrow. The birds were finally making it out to sea, where they will stay until they are ready to breed. Although visibility came and went, spirits were high on the scenic tour and the volcano hike, both of which culminated at the informative museum. After lunch, we explored islands of gannets before circumnavigating the newest of the islands, Surtsey.
As the sun rose this morning, so, too, did the cliffs of Northwest Iceland come into our view as we sailed south from Greenland. Our morning was spent at sea as we made our way towards our afternoon destination of Isafjorđur in the west fjords of Iceland. Gannets, fulmars, and gulls formed a notably increased escort, having gathered around us overnight on the Denmark Strait. Our wildlife encounters did not stop at birds. As we made our way into the fjord, a line of whale blows immediately became apparent in the distance, caught by the morning light. As we approached, it became clear that we had twenty to thirty humpback whales around us. They happily fed nearby, periodically lifting their tails in the air as they descended into deeper dives. With time to spare following a swift transit overnight, we remained in this area to observe and enjoy the frenzy of activity. We came alongside Isafjorđur over lunch, which meant we were ready to go as soon as everyone was done eating. In the afternoon, guests chose from a number of options. Some guests opted to hike around Valagil, stretching their legs and taking in the waterfall-clad walls of the valley’s basin. Others took to the coast by bicycle. Roads that follow the shore between towns were heavily damaged by the sea’s erosion, as well as falling rocks. While this makes for a dangerous drive in a car, it is perfect for mountain bikes. Other guests explored the nearby fjords by coach, while another group remained in town for a walking tour that ended at the local brewery. Once back on board, we were treated to something very special–a dinner consisting of food from the Philippines. The night was not to end there. Once everyone was full of food, we were invited to the lounge to continue this bacchanalian revelry with performances by members of the ship’s crew, showcasing the incredible talents of those who keep National Geographic Endurance running. After the day we had, there is no doubt that everyone slept well when they finally made it to bed, readying themselves once more for another great day.