Fjords, Flowers and Paradise Island
The FRAM team spoil us again and we are docked alongside the quay at Flateyri this morning. This makes disembarkation nice and easy. Most of the Furlongs team join the “Fjords and Flowers” excursion this morning. We head across a mountain pass to Skrudur, one of the oldest botanical gardens in Iceland. The gardens were first established by the Rev Sigtryggur Guolaugsson who at the age of 43 became a parish priest at Napur. Sigtryggur came from Northern Iceland and brought with him an enthusiasm for growing vegetables and a general interest in horticulture. The garden plot at Skrudur was laid out in the summer of 1905 and work was begun on building the walls. Officially opened in 1909 the gardens thrived until 1980 but then fell into decay. In 1992 a group of volunteers began renovating the garden and it now open to the public and a fine example of the horticultural potential in a sub-arctic environment. Returning to the town of Flateyri we view the extensive avalanche barriers that were constructed following an avalanche disaster in 1995. We also visit the beautiful small town church and enjoy songs presented by a young singer and her accompanist. And what a wonderful voice. We conclude our excursion with a stop at the community centre and café for a tea or coffee, and some homemade local snacks.
Back on board we sail to Vigur Island. This is our first stop when we must disembark from ship to shore using the rigid inflatable Polar Cirkel boats. Life jackets are donned and the excitement builds! Our Polar Cirkel boat captains do a great job of course and we are safely ashore on Vigur in no time. Vigur is a tiny island less than 2 kms long and 400 metres wide. It is privately owned and the resident family make a living by collecting and processing eiderdown. There are approximately 2,500 pairs of eider ducks here! Plus thousands of puffins, some arctic terns, guillemots and other birds. We enjoy a guided walk in the company of the younger family members who have grown up on Vigur and who tell us about the history of the island. At the end of the walk we are invited into their make shift café for tea and cakes. Vigur is an idyllic spot and everyone agrees the afternoon visit was very special.