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coastline

My first impression of Iceland was of the beauty and the wildness of its coastline, as we sailed into Eyjarfjordur on the north coast, and headed down towards Akureyri, 272 miles north of Reykyavik and only 60 miles south of the arctic circle.

Iceland

Akureyri

Here at Akureyri, as everywhere in Iceland, even in June, human habitation is set against a background of snow, mountains and, a bit further inland, the huge glacial ice sheets.

whale

Cruising the fjord, we saw a number of whales, this one quite near our port side.

mountains

With the possible exception of Reykyavik itself, there is no escaping the overwhelming sense of space, and of the fragility of human settlement beneath the mountain slopes..

tern landing

An arctic tern comes into land above its nest in the midsh of a swarm of little flies. Appreciating the birdline if not without its hazards, however. The arctic terns are particularly acrobatic and aggressive. Defending their nests they have a particularly negative attitude to bald men. I wore a hat, but even then a turn tried to snatch it off my head!

seals

geyser

The Hveragerdi geothermal area and Stokkur geyser. Although the Stokkur geyser fires off regularly, the column of water and steam lasts for only a few seconds, surprising the encircling crowds who had been holding their cameras at the ready.

geothermal

But however impressive its burst of energy, the surrounding area is equally impressive with its smaller vents and mineral colours. And, in the distance, the row of mountains leads onto the Langjökull Glacier.

Gullfoss

gullfoss

gullfoss

Pingvellir

Pingvellir

Pingvellir  was the original political centre of Iceland, where local chiefs met to establish their laws, and is still used as the place to celebrate national events.

Tectonic plates

It also marks the point at which the Eurasian and North American Plates are pulling apart. by about 2 cm per year. Consequently, Iceland is growing by the same amount.

Pingvellir

 

 

Puffins on Vigur Island in the far west of Iceland.

puffin

puffins

A redshank.

redshank

A young Guillemot

Guillimot


boiling water

colours


Weather...

Be prepared for anything and everything on Iceland, even in midsummer. Wind, blowing across the major ice- fields of the glaciers, is unsurprisingly chilly at any time. But the weather is also famously changeable, so one should not despair. 

tern

Iceland is a spectacular place to observe wildlife, whether your interest is in whales, seals or the many varieties of bird.

tern about to attack


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