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BACK TO CRUISING 2021

It was an amazing privilege in June/July 2021 to be able to play a small part in helping Viking Ocean Cruises make their tentative return to cruising, as a guest speaker onboard Viking Sky on four 7-night cruises around Iceland, justifiable advertised as ICELAND'S NATURAL BEAUTY. We were blessed, almost throughout, with spectacular weather and flat-calm seas, the six ports were endlessly fascinating, and, best of all, we all felt very safe on board, thanks to the extensive Covid-security measures that the company had put in place. Below are a few highlights... 

Safe travels
Safe travels
With daily PCR tests and with all guests and staff wearing contact tracers, we felt very safe on board and ashore - and the weather responded spectacularly. Here Viking Sky is sailing majestically out from Akureyri into Eyjafjorđur.
Summer flowers
Summer flowers
The first two cruises, starting in Reykjavik on June 25th and July 3rd, were perfectly timed to catch the arctic-alpine flora at its best, like this glorious display of Mountain Avens. By later cruises, the height of summer flowering had already passed.
Big skies
Big skies
This and the previous photograph were taken on the hillside behind the town of Isafjorđur, just a short hike from the ship. The weather was perfect with spectacular skies, and it was great that we were welcome to explore ashore independently.
Godwit and backdrop
Godwit and backdrop
I took this photo to emphasise just how conveniently we were docked in most of the ports we visited. This is a Black-tailed Godwit, guarding its territory from a rock, just a short hike from our ship in the small port of Seyđisfjorđur in the background.
Whalewatch spectacular
Whalewatch spectacular
Each week we had whalewatching excursions from both Reykjavik and Akureyri. I was on duty as escort on all of them, and the whalewatching just got better and better. Here is a close encounter with a Minke Whale from Reykjavik!
Command performance
Command performance
This Humpback Whale decided to give us a 'NatGeo moment'. We'd watched it for a while busily feeding, then it came to the surface in the sunshine, rolled on its side and began flipper-slapping. Many thanks to our guides on Elding Whalewatching.
Waterfalls a-plenty
Waterfalls a-plenty
Iceland is famous for its spectacular waterfalls. This is one called Arnarfossar on a hike that Sue and I did from the ship in Seydisfjordur, well makred and signposted by the local community as a delightful walk for visitors.
Hot rocks
Hot rocks
On a day off in Reykjavik, we had to visit Iceland's newest volcano, Fagraddalsfjall (after lots of practice in pronouncing its name), which was still thrillingly active, in the company of friend and fellow speaker, Tony 'Hot Rocks' Waltham.
Ice lagoon
Ice lagoon
The most spectacular ship's excursion - one I had long wanted to do - took us from Djupivogur for a photo stop at Jokullsarlon on the south coast, where large lumps of ice calve off from an outlet glaciers, float out into an open lagoon and then raft rapidly down a narrow river into the sea.
Up close with ice
Up close with ice
The main aim of that excursion was a wonderful trip out on an inflatable rubber boat in and amongst the bergy bits and growlers (ice forms) calved off from the Fjallsjokull glacier. We were even invited to suck a fragment of ice originally formed at the glacier head around 500 years ago.
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