Posted by: nmancini04 | August 29, 2011

Day 12: The Seafarers

Our last full day in Reykjavík turned out to be a marine one.

We early woke to a gray sky, but not one that foreboded the rains of yesterday. We had a productive morning: We checked in for our flight tomorrow, booked our bus to the airport and successfully went out in search of an internet cafe where we could print our tickets.

The Maritime Museum

Our first stop today was Reykjavík’s excellent Maritime Museum. The museum, while small, could not have been more satisfying, providing a solid history of Iceland’s ships and fishing and shipping industries, accompanied by a superb collection of tools, instruments, model ships and even entire cabins and boats. Some highlights included a huge, reconstruction of a dock, an original, full radio cabin taken from a 1920s ship and a couple of huge steam engines.

A model of a Viking longship

Maggie on the ship at the reconstructed dock

A steam engine

A ship in the Maritime Museum

A ship's wheel

Instruments and a map

The wireless cabin, through a porthole

But the best part was our tour of the Coast Guard/Rescue boat Oðinn, which was in commission for almost 50 years, until 2006, and played a prominent role in the Cod Wars. Oðinn is now docked just outside the maritime museum and they run periodic tours. Our tour consisted of just ourselves, one other couple and our salty, mischievous guide, so we pretty much had full run of the ship.



Maggie on the bridge of the Oðinn

Full steam ahead

In the engine room

After touring the Oðinn, it was time for our own sea adventure. We finally decided to go whale watching. Ignoring the part where we both spent much of our two hours in Faxaflói bay feeling a little …green… it was a very successful trip. As soon as we got out into the bay, we came upon a minke whale that was surfacing pretty regularly and showing us her back and fins (and to a lesser extent her tail). She was a very active whale and we spent more than a half an hour in her company. After that we headed out into deeper waters and followed around a small school of dolphins for a while, but they weren’t nearly as cooperative as the whale.

The harbor before we sail

The lighthouse at the entry to the harbor

We leave Reykjavík behind

A windswept seafarer

The only close to halfway decent shot we got of our minke whale....... Well, it's all right...

On the way back, Maggie and I positioned ourselves on the bench in the stern. It turns out, when the boat hits a swell there, the spray comes crashing over the top deck and directly onto that bench. Maggie was smarter than I was and fled. I ended up getting drenched.

A little wet....

After retreating to our apartment to dry off, change clothes and check in with Bunny and the Cats, we found that the sky had brightened and the evening had grown quite warm. So we went to an outdoor cafe on Austurvöllur square and had a beer and watched the city roll by. Reykjavík is extremely quiet right now. We’re here at the tail end of the season and we already can see a huge difference from when we arrived. Two Thursdays ago, when we spent our first day in Reykjavík, Austurvöllur was a bustling center of activity. Since we’ve been back it has been almost sleepy.

Tomorrow we come home. But we may have at least one more sight to see…



  1. Beautiful posts. I feel like I’ve been there.

  2. I’ll miss reading these posts – thanks so much for sharing your trip with us!

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