Our Island Explorer day trip is always a gorgeous and interesting cruise for Icelanders and visitors alike. Today we went out on the beautiful yacht Amelia Rose
The gorgeous yacht, Amelia Rose left the old harbour in Reykjavik, Iceland for an island explorer day trip. Every day the bay here looks different, always gorgeous, but in summer the mountains around us become green-purple, covered with the non-native but nonetheless stunning lupins and their flowers. In winter they are glistening white, covered in snow, or their heights are hidden by mist. during winter our days are short but at night we get to see clearly the phenomenon of the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, so we don’t mind so much! If you want to see them have a look at the Northern Lights cruises that we offer here.
Today the impressive mountain range called Esja was covered with snow ahead of us as we left the harbour, the islands around us too, but there was no sea ice yet as we sometimes get, especially in the brackish water in by the coast. The contrast between the dark blue sea and the white islands makes a stunning contrast for photographs, as does the cityscape of Reykjavik, with famous sights like Hallsgrimkirkja and Harpa clearly visible.
With this dynamic scenery around us, we headed out to explore the islands themselves. The first island we came to was Akurey, which is often forgotten about by tourists as it is overshadowed by the larger islands of Videy and Engay. However we appreciate it, and we often like to visit it, especially in the summer, when we look for the seabirds and puffins who nest there, safe on its craggy shoreline.
Even in summer the water here is quite cold, although the hardy locals often enjoy a swim! Especially at the geothermal beach near Perlan! However the freezing water doesn’t put off the wildlife, it teems with life, especially around the islands. We frequently see beautiful animals like seals, dolphins, and harbour porpoises. One of the most common places we see the porpoises is just inside this island of Akurey! There we see them feeding in the rich water as well as playing.
We always look out for larger cetaceans too, like whales. Minke whales come in amongst the islands regularly and even the mighty humpbacks will come all the way into the harbour, right up to where we keep our boats! However if you really want to see whales when you are in Reykjavik, Iceland, then have a look at our specific whale watching tours, we head further out to a feeding ground that we know they often frequent! The success rate is great thanks to the skill of our crew combined with the natural richness and underwater landscape of the waters here in Iceland.
We carried on the island explorer day trip, to the next island which is called Engey, and is the second biggest island in the bay. Despite being comparatively large it isn’t inhabited at the moment, but as far back as the early 13th century there was a farming and fishing community living on it. The only building currently there is a lighthouse, a dynamic and beautiful building in its own right, and makes for a beautiful focal point for photos.
After Engey island we went towards Lundey, better known by its English name. The name translates as Puffin Island and like the name suggests it’s home in the summer months to a thriving colony of Atlantic Puffins. We have several different bustling colonies of them around Reykjavik, and here in Iceland we have 60% of the world’s population nesting. It isn’t our national bird which is the gyrfalcon, but we adore it anyway. Both Icelanders and tourists appreciare its bright colourful plumage and clumsy antics! Despite the island being known for the puffins, it is a safe haven for many types of sea birds.
The last island that we passed close to on our Island Explorer day trip was Videy. During the night, for certain dates the- Imagine Peace Tower is lit from this island, shining up into the empty sky above us. During the day, however, from the boat, pieces of art, designed by Richard Serra, can be seen positioned around the island.
Then the Island Explorer day trip took us home, close along the coastline of our capital city, Reykjavik itself. We passed the famous Hofdi House where the meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov happened, effectively bringing an end to the Cold War, then the Sun Voyager sculpture, and finally the dynamic cultural centre Harpa.