Westfjords of Iceland 2015
Whale Safari (Orcas) and Snowshoeing
This tour includes: Ísafjörður • Lonafjörður, Hrafnsfjörður, Hesteyrarfjörður or Veiðileysufjörður • Hornbjarg (Hornstrandir Nature Reserve) • Hornstrandir or Adalvik • Latrabjarg (Snæfellsnes Peninsula) • Breidafjördur • Snæfellsjökull volcano • Keflavik
Separated from the main island of Iceland by a 7 km isthmus, West Fjordlands is the most remote, the oldest and the least visited area of Iceland. The scenery is spectacular, with table mountains dropping precipitously to the sea and the coastline carved by numerous fjords. Described as "a must-see for any serious explorer", the area is rich in natural history and folklore.
Scheduled flights from the US arrive in the morning, and from Europe in the afternoon at Keflavik International Airport. There are frequent Flybus connections from airport to Reykjavik ( this Flybus shuttle service is not included in the price). On day 1 , passengers will be collectively transferred to the ship from centrally located hotels in Reykjavik (t.b.d.) to Ísafjörður by chartered highland bus. The bus shuttle takes approx. 7 hours. Embarkation starts earliest at 16.00 hrs local time in port of Ísafjörður. The ship will depart in the evening.
We enjoy a great scenic cruise. We aim for sheltered fjords of Hesteyrarfjörður, Veiðileysufjörður, Lonafjörður or Hrafnsfjörður in to anchor and snowshoe hike from here. The mountains are not that high but alpine slopes will offer promising outings. The snowshoe walkers opt for an easy route into the valleys and shore lines. The Westfjords are a great place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) during the winter months. End of March / early April we should still witness them.
We hope to find a calm area in the bay of Hornvik surrounded by rugged mountains. Here, at the northern tip of Iceland we hope to be able to snowshoe up to a view point, Hornbjarg, an impressive rock face towering the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. In summer the cliffs and valleys are inhabited with birds, the fjords offer moments of silence and tranquillity, and Arctic fox proudly roams the mountains and inlets. If the weather doesn't allow a cruise along the Northern tip of Hornstrandir, we find great alternatives for landings near Adalvik.
We sail towards the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and pass by the massive bird cliff of Latrabjarg. Its early in the season and bird life is about to wake up for spring nest searching activities. We enjoy the hours at sea where we watch out for Orcas and other marine wildlife.
We spend the day at sea in Breidafjördur in search for more marine wildlife. We hope to see Orcas here.
Day at sea heading South around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula known though Snæfellsjökull volcano with its height of 1446 m, regarded as one of the majestic symbols of Iceland. It is the highest mountain on the peninsula and its summit is topped by a glacier. The volcano can be seen on clear days from Reykjavík, a distance of about 120 km. The mountain is also known as the setting of the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by the French author Jules Verne.
Early morning disembarkation in Keflavik. The nearby Keflavik international airport can be reached by privately organized taxi.
This itinerary is for guidance only. The programme may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.