Day 1 |
Jul 30, 2008


By Tony Huntley, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 64° 09' N, 21° 58’ W

Departing for Skoldungen, Greenland

Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. Its latitude at 64°09' N makes it the world's most northern national capital. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay. The population is nearly 200,000. It is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have established around 870 C.E. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the next decades, as it transformed into a regional, and later national center of commerce, population and governmental activities.

Today was a beautiful day, very warm and sunny with a few high clouds. On a day such as this, it was hard to believe that in six months time the sun would be very low on the horizon and temperatures would drop to near freezing. But today was spectacular; the locals sported shorts and tee-shirts.

Around 1400, our new guests arrived at the gangplank where they were greeted by the smartly clad staff who led them up stairs to the aptly named Panorama Lounge. From this ship-wide fifth deck area we can see the harbor and downtown areas of the city. 

In the Panorama Lounge our guests were offered champagne and a cold buffet while my Expedition staff colleagues and I checked passports, issued suite keys and took pictures. After this, we invited our guests to visit their suites to unpack. Soon it was 1830 and the Prince Albert II left the Reykjavík dock heading west in search of exciting animals and plants, mountains and ice, and the excitement of Greenland. We toasted as we headed out of the harbor.

At 1930, Conrad Combrink, our Expedition Leader, called us to The Theatre for the introduction of the staff. The staff for this voyage includes Esther Bruns, our Assistant Expedition Leader and Daniil Elterman, our Staff Assistant. Conrad also introduced the staff who had taken pictures and issued keys: Juan Carlos Restrepo, a geologist from Colombia; Christian Walter, an anthropologist from Easter Island; Dr. Brent Stephenson, an ornithologist from New Zealand; Dr. Claudia Holgate, an environmental scientist from South Africa; Chris Srigley, a general naturalist from Canada; and me, Dr. Tony Huntley, a marine biologist from California.

A short time later I joined the guests in The Restaurant for fine cuisine and a beautiful sunset.