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Explore the wilderness of Iceland under the midnight sun, enjoy the remoteness of the Faroe Isles and the highland hospitality of the Northern Isles. This is a voyage of dramatic scenery, offshore sailing and discovering hidden gems.
|Ship||Under 25||Adult||Luxury Suite|
|June 25, 2019||July 6, 2019||12|
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On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights describe, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.
Nature takes centre stage in Iceland, and for good reason. Joining in Isafjord on the West Coast of Iceland, we make our journey South along the coast of the Westfjords penninsula. We make our way to the Snaefellsnes Penninsula, a 90km long peninsula which comprises a world of diversity. Friendly towns and villages, spectacular mountains, a multitude of bird species nesting on treacherous cliffs, beaches of sand and pebbles popular among horseman and rock skimmers, remnants and relics scattered here and there of times and ways of life long past. The whole country in one place!
The Snaefellsnes peninsula in the West of Iceland is fittingly considered a miniature version of the whole country. In addition to its distinctive Snaefellsjokull glacier, we will see black and even white – pretty unusual up here – sandy beaches, bird cliffs, photogenic mountains and volcanic craters. Should this not be enough, let’s also say that the “journey to the Centre of the Earth” told by Jules Verne begins right here, from Snaefell volcano.
From here me make our journey further south to Vestmannaeyjar. The Westman Islands are a group of Islands off the south coast of Iceland. They consist of 15 islands in addition to 30 cliffs and skerries that make up up the Archipelago. Heimaey is the only island inhabited all year long.
The first sources of the Westman Islands can be found in Landnáma, a medieval Icelandic written work which describes the settlement of Iceland. Landnáma tells the story of Ingólfur Arnarson, Iceland’s first settler. His foster brother, Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson, was killed by his slaves. The slaves fled to the islands but Ingólfur Arnarson hunted them down and killed them. These slaves, originated from Ireland, were known as the West Men, thus the name, the Westman Islands. Still today, many places in the Westman Islands bear names from the event.
The first settler of the island of Heimaey was Herjólfur Bárðarson, who lived in the valley Herjólfsdalur, approx. in the year 900.
Three times in the history of the Westman Islands, the population has taken considerable dives. First in the year 1627 during the events known as the The Algerian Pirate Raid when 234 people were captured by pirates from Algeria. The islanders also suffered greatly in the early 18th century, when more than half of all newborns died from neonatal tetanus. Lastly, the population of the Westman Islands went from 5100 to 200, temporarily, during the 1973 volcanic eruption, as all the inhabitants fled to the mainland. Today around 4.300 people live in the Westman Islands.
Adrift in the whirling rhythmic North Atlantic Sea, a different world lingers. An idyllic escape, peacefully set among lush green valleys, imposing basalt cliffs, grand treeless moorlands and waterfalls plunging directly into the wind whipped ocean. Unfathomable beauty mysteriously tucked away like a figment of a child’s imagination. There will be opportunities to go ashore and visit these unspoilt islands, often referred to as Europe’s best kept secret!
We will visit Torshavn, the capital and largest town of the Faroe Islands. Torshavn is in the southern part on the the east coast of Streymoy. To the northwest of the city lies the 347 metre high mountain Husareyn, and to the southwest, the 350 metre high Kirkjuboreyn. They are separated by the Sanda River. There will be time to explore the city, admiring the old town with it’s turf roofed houses and winding little streets. There will also be the option to visit Kirkjobour, the oldest know settlement of the Faroes, dating back to Irish monks who had settled here before the age of the vikings. The settlement has a white church perched by the sea, in a remote and moody setting. There is also an 1100 year old house there, which is still inhabited, and still has some of its original timbers!
We leave Torshavn and head through Hestfjordur past the islands of Koltur and Hester before entering the famous Vestmanna Sound to view the famous bird cliffs. These cliffs provide safe nesting places during the summer months for thousands of sea birds such as puffins, razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. We will spend the night in the township of Vestmanna before our passage to Iceland.
The Northern Isles are a chain of islands off the North coast of mainland Scotland. Discover the rugged coastlines, fascinating wildlife and unspoilt landscapes that the contrasting worlds Shetland and Orkney have to offer. Nordic in culture and heritage these archipelagos are separated from mainland Scotland by the Pentland Firth. Ruled by the Scandinavian crown until 1468 they are distinctly different and full of hidden gems.
From the Northern Isles we make our final passage to Aberdeen, some 200NM south.