Today was another leisurely morning since yesterday was again intense. One of the morning highlights was cruising around Surtsey, a small island formed by volcanic eruptions from 1963 to 1967. This place is a volcanologist’s dream, as they watched the birth of an island. Surtsey is named for the fire giant Surtr from Norse mythology and only researchers are allowed ashore.
We saw more whales today. MORE WHALES!!! First we saw short fin pilot whales and then killer whales. I took 700 photos in like thirty minutes (no, seriously. Let me know if you want to see them all).
We docked in Heimaey, which is the largest island in Vestmannaeyar (Westmen Islands). Heimaey is four nautical miles off the south coast of Iceland. On January 23rd 1973, the volcano Eldfell began to erupt. Eldfell threatened to destroy the harbor, most important to this fishing community. The residents and others helped to actually solid if and divert the lava flow by spraying the flow with cold sea water and saving the harbor. Under the lava field there are 400 homes buried and there are signs marking both the buried streets and homes. Luckily enough, no one died and all residents were evacuated. Thankfully, all the boats were in the harbor due to inclement weather right before the eruption.
We hiked all the way up to and around the crater of Eldfell today. The views of the island, harbor, lava fields and surrounding sea were spectacular. We got interviewed by Brian about our participation in the GTF program at the summit. What a gorgeous place to reflect on our experiences.
Tonight’s our last night on the ship. I’m excited to get home and share all my adventures in person with my loved ones. Plus, my little brother just had shoulder surgery and I am anxious to see how he’s faring. Tomorrow we are stopping at the blue lagoon before the airport, so this is my last writing from Iceland! Will post more on my final day and my trip reflections when I return stateside, plus I will update and edit all posts (including more photos!). What an incredible experience!
(Also, I had ice cream today. Which is always a hallmark of a good day.)