Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Akureyri, Iceland

Welcome to Akureyri!

This morning’s approach as seen on the Akureyri webcam

Before I talk about today, I have to talk about last night.  I was already in bed with my sleep mask on (thanks to the land of the midnight sun) when I felt the ship make some turns and list a couple of times. Not thinking too much of it, I moved more into the middle of the bed. My mask dislodged and I saw something white go by outside. And more white and more white. I can’t see a thing without my glasses but once I got them on I said three words out loud.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Remember how I mentioned yesterday we’d be going above the Arctic Circle? Well not only did we cross it but we ran into Arctic ice while we were there! 

sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Yes, we sailed through this
I've sailed through ice from glaciers in Alaska a couple dozen times. But this ice was something special. Bigger. More imposing. And there was a lot of it. Note: All the pictures were taken after midnight so you can see how light it was at that time.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise shipsailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Even after the ship quietly and gently sailed through it all, I could still see what looked to be even heavier ice off the port side for quite some time. 
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Wonder if an ice breaker would be needed to head north into this?

It made for a very exciting night. Just think, if I didn't need to readjust my sleep mask I would have missed it completely. The Captain said it was unexpected and unusual for this time of year so it was a shock to us all.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Now back to Akureyri. After yesterday's wet and frigid day we arrived today to clear skies.
Akureyri, Iceland
My plan for the day was the Hop On Hop Off bus. From what I had researched the pick up would be very close to the pier. Boy, it certainly was. Right out of the gate.
hop on hop off bus at cruise terminal in Akureyri, Iceland
Their HOHO is white, not red
The bus couldn't get any closer to the ship if it tried
A few notes about the bus:
*It didn’t do a typical narration with headphones but had some monitors with audio and video instead.
*There were only about half a dozen of us riding. Great for me who is still trying to stay away from crowds! I went earlier in the morning so I don’t know if it got busier later.
*There was a place for Scooter with a seat for me nearby.
*It cost 5000 Icelandic Krona which is about 35 US dollars. I paid with my card but don’t know if he would take ISK cash or not.
*The full loop took 45 minutes.

I was going to ride the bus the entire loop to get my bearings and decide where I wanted to hop off on a second trip around.
There were some places I had in mind. The botanical garden at stop #7 was a possibility, but being there were several ship tour busses when we passed by I decided to avoid those crowds. The pool at #9 was an option but not one I wanted to take up today.
Akureyri, Iceland swimming pool
Sightseeing through old town, checking out museums, or taking photos of the churches were options. Some of the town is hilly and since Scooter is not a fan of hills, I didn't feel up to the extra work of dragging him around. So I stayed put and took all my photos from inside the bus.
heart stoplight in Akureyri, Iceland
All of their red stoplights are hearts
Hockey rink for you, Ed.
Since it was such a nice day I headed back to the ship earlier than planned and sat outside with my sweatshirt on and soaked up some rays by the pool, trying oh-so-hard to heal myself.
Akureyri, Iceland  airport runway seen from cruise ship
I waited to see how many airplanes I could get flying straight over the ship but found they used the other end of the runway for landing and take off. Guess we're not on Maho Beach in St. Maarten? (Although, later a large plane flew over and I missed it.)
The clouds moved in later in the day, forming some interesting patterns.
We'll be back here twice more this summer and since I now have my bearings I'll be able to hit the ground running next time. If I’m feeling brave I might even try out the free city bus.

Tomorrow we're in our last Icelandic port of this cruise, Seydisfjordur. It's another tender port and this time I'm really, really, really wishing for dry weather. Between here and there we again go above and below the Arctic Circle where the Captain is certainly hoping for no ice tonight. See you tomorrow!