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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Grimsey Island

This morning was off to a later start. Breakfast was leisurely, and then we headed into town. Our first stop was at the camera shop on the main street in town. I picked up a floaty back and a chest harness for my GoPro. Mom picked up a new sling for her DSLR, to replace the factory neck strap, This one is about twice as long and is quickly adjustable for stability when it's held up - a lot like a single-point rifle sling. The only minor downside is that it attaches on the tripod mount, so you can't use both.

After that we wandered into IceWear, a clothing and souvenir shop that was closed when we by on Sunday. I picked up an Iceland flag hat and some thinner gloves - the ones I brought with me being Outdoor Research Pro expedition-weight elbow-length Kevlar.

By the time we were all done, it was time to head to the airport. Mom and I checked in for our flight to Grimsey, then Nick and Rachael headed off to explore town. While we waited, we met Vivian, a geotechnical/mining consultant for TetraTech from Vancouver BC who was also going to Grimsey. I've worked with TetraTech on our hazard mitigation plan at work, so we chatted for a while. More passengers turned up, and at about 12:55 the plane rolled up. We were flying on a DHC-6 Twin Otter, which was full. There were tourists from Canada and the UK, the gate agent who was with two unaccompanied minors, and someone visiting the school on the island for a work meeting.

The Twin Otter is an interesting plane. Lots of lift - we were in the air well before the halfway point of the runway, and were a good 500' in the air before the end. Not a ton of speed, though - according to the GPS, on a clear flat road with no traffic or police, I could have beaten it in a decent sports car.

Once we arrived on the island, most of us headed out the door of the terminal and a few steps north, to the Arctic Circle monument. Everyone got pictures, then Mom, Vivian who had no plans so tagged along, and I headed off towards the cliffs to find a geocache. It was an easy find - in a pile of rocks about 10 feet back from the edge. Once we'd signed the log and left the last travel bug, we decided to see how far north we could get. Turns out - not terribly far. The airport is on the north end of the island, and while there is a road farther north, it goes straight uphill and doesn't go far. We did find an interesting art piece, though. It's a concrete sphere maybe 12 feet in diameter, with a hole bored through it and a metal plaque around the hole. It was resting on a giant tire, and had hoisting straps laying around it, so I'm guessing that it wasn't at it's final place.

We walked back south and found another geocache, then walked out onto a rocky point over the ocean. The geocache was callled "the real angry birds of Grimsey", but there were no angry birds in evidence. There were, however, a lot of dead birds on the rocky point.

Finally we walked down into town and visited the gift shop. Mom got a T-shirt, and we all got certificates stating that we'd crossed the Arctic Circle. Then we headed back to the terminal, where we received another certificate, this time from the airline and signed by the pilot.

After a 25-minutes hop back to Akureyri, Nick and Rachael picked us up. Mom demanded a hot dog, so we swung by the stand in town to get her one, then to the Netto for milk and butter, plastic bags, and some snacks. Dinner was chicken carbonara, and we went out for ice cream for dessert. To me ice cream seems ridiculous when it is 3ÂșC out, so I had some warm apple pie instead.

Tomorrow we're going to run out to Katla, a volcanic crater 90 minutes east of town, and maybe farther so we can say we reached East Iceland.

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