Although the sun wasn’t shining above, the dark basaltic rocks of the breakwater of Arkanes glowed with golden sunburst lichens as the world of western Iceland began to stir. Arctic terns creaked as they circled the calm waters in search of breakfast morsels while oystercatchers tootled above, en route from one rocky shore to another.  Onboard there were stirrings also as still jet-lagged bodies shook off their drowsy feelings, buoyed by anticipation of the day to come.

Divided into flocks of our own choosing, we scattered inland in search of new sites and adventures.  The early and intrepid found themselves literally immersed in the ice of Langjokull Glacier as they followed a tunnel deep beneath its surface.  Meanwhile, heat-loving souls soaked in the geothermal baths at Krauma, moving from pool to pool with an occasional individual brave enough to plunge into a small icy bath. The more moderate of us chose neither freezing nor warming but explored the verdant greenery of the Borgarfjord region and climbed the cinder cone of Grabrok.

The lushness of the landscape could escape no one’s attention. Nor could we miss the occasional steam-belching stream here in the land where magma is not far below our feet. It is hard to describe the cascades of the many waterfalls. Like clouds, each is different. Each is unique.  At Hraunfoss the layers of basalt seem to leak, for no above ground stream is visible and yet volumes stream to the river below.  Barnafoss tumbles beneath a basalt bridge and Glanni roars from a tranquil pool where red-throated loons sedately fed.

Day one of our voyage has been diverse.  We look forward to the wonders of tomorrow.