Next day was spent cruising westwards to Iceland.

Between the frequent meals I had time to indulge myself  “people watching” As can be imagined we were a very varied bunch of passengers. Some very fit, like the ones who had climbed up the 418 steps to Fjellstua instead of taking the town train like us :), to those who could barely move under their own steam.

Our cabin was on the promenade deck and there was a notice up stating that 6x round the deck  equalled one mile, and it was amusing watching the different perambulations. Some ambled around chatting to one another, others were deadly serious  and power walking around. One was a rather grim faced lady with a timid looking man trotting behind her trying to look as though he was enjoying it!  Another one reminded me of an ex-neighbour of ours. She strode around very purposefully, but the bit that amused me was that she wore a knapsack and carried a water bottle just as though she was in a marathon!

During the day I went to two talks. The first was about our next two ports – Seydisfjordur and Akureyri which stirred my interest even more. The second was about whales and dolphins.

I also had more time to talk to our cabin steward, Edi. He was a lovely young man from Bali. He told me that tourism had dwindled drastically since the bombings and then even more since the credit crunch. He had had a good job in hotel management before, but now with the dearth of tourists there was little work , so he had accepted the job as cabin steward. The sad thing was that he had been married only a month when he had to leave.

It showed me the other side of “economical migrants”. Our politicians and news reporters rant on about them, but what else are they supposed to do? Starve? I don’t know how many of our unemployed young men would be prepared to work the long hours day after day, and remain as cheerful, friendly and efficient, as our crew.

Throughout the day JW  and I spent long periods gazing out to sea in the (vain) hope of seeing whales!


  The Athena is an old ship, built in Sweden in 1946. She was originally named Stockholm and made her maiden voyage in 1948 travelling from Gothenberg to New York. She had had a chequered career and had several changes of ownership and name until she was bought by Classic International Cruises, had a major refit in 2004 to emerge as the Athena.

As we sailed along in that vast empty ocean I thought about those early Vikings, led by Erik the Red, sailing this same path. How brave they must have been. They didn’t even know there was any land over the horizon, just the land of legend!

The sunset was magnificent at 10.36 pm! and we were all  busy snapping away!

Sunset 10.36pm May 19th

It didn’t really get very dark even after that and, as I had had more than my usual quota of sleep previously, I woke again just after sunrise at 4 am next morning!

Sunrise 4am May20th