Sunday, 14 September 2014
14.09.2014 - 14.09.2014
This morning we experience the strongest winds so far on this cruise. So strong in fact that it forced the ship to list slightly to Port. The deckhands were not swabbing the deck today, the wind was strong enough to blow the water along the exposed deck. Solid overcast and occasional rain squalls made for an uninviting welcome to Reykjavik.
Breakfast was bedlam with almost all the passengers having a 07:00 start. This press of humanity was even worse down on Deck 7 when we lined up to check in for our tour. The queue stretched halfway to the Midship area and beyond. When we finally arrived at the head of the queue they had filled the Theatre with earlier tours and we were redirected to Deck 6 with a promise that we'd be checked in there. Some considerable time later an anxious and apologetic staff member came in and asked us to line up on Deck 7 - we suspect they'd forgotten us.
Eventually we were escorted to the coach and we commenced our tour of the city. The wind blew, the rain pelted down and the tour guide failed to communicate, all we heard was a vague mumble. After a drive through some ultra-modern suburbs we headed out into lava country with the coach being continuously buffeted by the strong wind.
One of the comprehensible utterances from the guide was "If you think this weather is bad, you haven't seen anything yet!!". He followed this with an expression along the lines of "If the weather is not to your liking, wait an hour, it will change". That it did !! We arrived at the "Blue Lagoon" and visibility was reduced to just a few feet. Some 30 minutes later it had improved significantly and I managed to snap a few shots, briefly taking the camera out of the protective plastic shopping bag.
It was an amazing scene with the visibility changing all the while. The massive mounds of lava, the steam and the pale blue water creating an "other-world" atmosphere.
Back on the coach and heading in to Reykjavik for a visit to the "Perlan", an outstanding piece of architecture featuring a 360° panoramic observation deck, three gift shops and a massive glass-domed revolving restaurant. The blustery wind and occasional rain squall somewhat negated the panoramic views but I could certainly see the potential. Toured through the city centre and past the "Old Harbour" and the historic house where Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev held their Summit in 1986.
Then back to the ship to join another long queue of returning passengers. With only one gangway in use for both arrivals and departures there was bound to be delays. Add two or three wheelchairs and electric scooters to the mix and you have some frayed tempers. The tour was great as far as the itinerary was concerned, and the weather can't be controlled but the organisation was somewhat lacking both on the way out and back in. The tour guide was the least effective of any we've experienced.
Lunch and then back to the cabin for the essential clerical recording tasks. It all takes time and it is now less than two hours to dinner.
An enjoyable dinner tonight, there's a Canadian couple that are regularly occupying the table next to ours and we've started swapping family details. They are only a few years younger than we are.
Tonight's show was a tribute by Tracey Shields to Celine Dion. She looked the part and had a fabulous voice. She was certainly well received. We're finding that the 19:00 show is less crowded and it is easier to find our preferred seats.
The captain has warned us of increased movement to be expected over the next two days. The big girl is rocking just a little already and the bridge cam is showing both rain drops on the lens and white-capped waves on the sea ahead..
Tomorrow we're at sea heading for Scotland.
There's an image of the Blue lagoon at http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-09-14
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony