After a late night yesterday at the Arctic Circle on Grimsey, we woke this morning to part sun, part cloud, gentle breezes, and calm seas. Since leaving Grimsey, we travelled to the northeast corner of Iceland and then to the south along Iceland’s east coast. Guests enjoyed a bit of a sleep-in this morning, a hearty breakfast, and presentations by Birna Imsland, our cultural specialist, on Icelandic Sweaters: Armor of the North, and Dana Johnston, our geology specialist, on Glaciers and Glacial Landforms.
Our afternoon began with an on-board visit from the directors at Skalanes. They explained its rich archaeological record, documenting a subsistence lifestyle extending back over 1,000 years. While they spoke, the clouds dissipated, and we had perhaps the best weather we’ve ever enjoyed at this site. We split into two groups, one on shore visiting the archaeological sites, and the other Zodiac touring the geological wonders of the nearby cliffs. While both were immensely fulfilling, most agreed that geology ruled the day. Highlights included: magnificently exposed columnar basalts showing clear evidence of having been deformed by flow (photo A); igneous dikes, representing feeders for the overlying lava flows (photo B); brick-red baked layers, representing soil horizons overridden and baked by subsequent lava flows (photo C); a brilliant green area of hydrothermal alteration now consisting of bentonitic clays (photo D); and even an example of a basaltic dike cutting these brilliant green clays (photo E).