Posted by: adorsk | June 15, 2007

Back to Sea

Right now the ship is West of Reyjkavik. We’re starting in on a geological research cruise over the Reykjanes ridge, a part of the mid-Atlantic ridge that’s just Southwest of Iceland.

I had a nice time in port. The sun was always up and the temperature wasa about 50ish with cool breezes. My favorite weather for walking.

And walk I did, taking in the city and the scenery. The latter is breathtaking. All around the city mountains thrust up from the sea into the clouds. There are still snow patches on some. The air is clear and fresh. Geese, ducks and other birds abound.



The city itself is nice. It’s fairly small (pop. 100,000ish), but has some interesting sights. MY favorite part of the city is the main cathedral that overlooks the harbor . It’s a modern cathedral and has been designed to resemble columns of basalt. On my second day in port I went inside and was delighted to find someone playing the organ. Absolutely beautiful.

cathedral organ


One of the other things I like about the city is that there are stone sculptures everywhere. Most of them demonstrate the Icelandic justice system.

For your first offense, they drop a rock on you.


For your second offense, they encase you in a rock.


If you are so rash as to commit a third offense, they neuter you and turn you into a rock.


No, not really, I’m just kidding around. The sculptures are actually pretty cool, and the Icelanders seem like nice folks.



A lot of the Icelanders look just like I imagine vikings would look, with long ultra-blond hair, deep-set eyes, and thin angular faces. But there are also a few other bloodlines running around. Some Danes here, some Scandinavians there, even a Vietnamese population.

Besides, it seems any viking sentiments for raping and pillaging have been replaced by peaceful democratic socialism. It’s a very safe country, with the longest life expectancy in Europe and a high standard of living. Some brochures I saw around town claimed that Icelanders enjoy such a good life style because of their hard work and the healthy effects of fresh air and geothermal spas. There may be some truth to this, but I suspect that the high cost of beer ($10 a pop my shipmates tell me) has something to do with it…

In my previous post I wrote that Icelandic speech sounded like the Swedish Chef to me. I realize that this was more a function of the ship’s radio. When I hear Icelandic in person it sounds much more like a Gaelic language. My favorite part of the language is the letter ‘thorn’. It looks kind of like a ‘p’ , but with the loop more in the center. It stands for the ‘th’ sound. There are all sorts of other accents and letters, but ‘thorn’ is my favorite.

From what I can tell, most people drive. But I see kids playing outside and folks jogging by the water, so people do get out.


They also swim. Let me tell you, these people know their swimming pools. I went to one of the public pools around the city and had a great time. The pool was geothermally heated, and had huge waterslide. There were also hot tubs, stepping up from 38 Celsius to 44. If you ever go to Reykjavik, make sure you go to the pools.

To be continued

So, that’s all for now. We’ll be coming back to Reykjavik on July 15th. I’m looking forward to being back out at sea and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Miscellaneous Pictures

knorr_reykjavik viking_statue bottomsup
For the Oliners out there, say it with me now…

carpe diem

I don’t think this is quite what they intended…

anyone for whale?

one day I’ll get around to posting a picture of myself…



  1. Keep it up alex, it’s really awesome to see what’s going on with you…. thanks, seriously thanks for updates

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