The Ferry to Iceland:
We rolled up nice and early at the ferry port in Hirtshals and expected to wait on the dock for some time before being loaded onto the Norröna. However, we were on reasonably quickly and sought out our little cabin which was really quite roomy, though, alas, we did not stretch to an outside cabin in our budget and so there was no view.
We had prepaid all our meals on board as there was a substantial saving buying them on-line in advance. One can, however, become very tired of cafeteria type meals very quickly and, by the end of the voyage, we wished we had not sorted EVERY meal this way.
The weather was superb when we left, blue skies and warmth from the sun. The sea was almost glassy - we had not expected the North Sea to be so smooth. In the morning, though, we ventured out to find fog or sea mist or cloud or whatever it was and the visibility was down to a hundred metres at most. But still the sea was calm!
In the afternoon we were upon deck to watch the approach to Tórshavn, the capital and main pot of the Faroe Islands. Suddenly out of the mist, a rocky island with a lighthouse emerged. Everyone cheered! We steered up a long narrow channel with rugged shores and huge steep mountains each side. Once in the harbour the ship turned 180°on a sixpence and backed into its berth.
The town was shrouded in the low cloud that apparently hangs around the islands for the better part of the year, but the houses were colourful and many around the harbour itself had turf rooves.
Once cars and trucks were unloaded and a new contingent safely aboard, the ship set off again this time sailing along a channel right through the island group. This is extraordinary country. High, steep mountainside hem in the channel; cliffs drop into the water and waterfalls crash down from enormous heights; sheep graze on precipitous slopes near small isolated shacks of weathered timber; small villages some with rock-enclosed harbours sit in splendid isolation in sheltered valleys. Incredible cloud formations clung to the mountain tops or spilled over the sides like heavy white smoke. And was it cold!
We emerged into the North Sea again and into clear sky and sunshine - the islands kept their blanket of clouds. And still the sea was calm.
Very early the next morning we were roused from our beds with an announcement to vacate the cabins two hours before berthing. We were all on deck to watch the approach to Iceland, and sure enough out of the mist loomed huge peaks on either side of the ship. Being early, it was very cold and a wind was blowing which lowered the effective temperature to around freezing. Our warmest woollies were definitely necessary.
We approached Seyðisfjördur along the fjord of the same name, a small port right at the end of the waterway. We were in our van and off the ship without delay, with, we thought, our only remaining hurdle being customs (strict food entry provisions apply) and paperwork for the van. But we were simply asked how long we'd be there and whether we had any fishing gear with us. A date sticker was placed on the car windscreen and we were off!