19. Jun, 2022

To Hellja and back

We had been looking to visit Iceland for a couple of years now and had actually booked cruises. However due to Covid etc., these had been cancelled but we had booked one from Tilbury and were hoping that it would actually set sail. I was getting nervous in the last few days building up to departure as we still had to provide a -ve Covid test. I was much relieved when we passed.

I was also concerned about data roaming now that we were out of the EU. In my view I would rather have independence than free wi-fi so I happily paid my tenner to have coverage in Iceland, the USA, Canada, the EU, Australia et all for a month.

So the ship left Tilbury for two days at sea until we reached Torshavn in the Faroes Islands. I had my little list of caches that were possible in the port but it seemed that my tenner didn’t give me any data here.đŸ¤Ŧ So I improvised and in the tourist office cafe, the price of a cup of coffee bought an hour’s “free” wi-fi. This was enough to load my saved list and get the hints. I’d get the GPS even without data.😀 I was able to get five trads here but only 8/10 of the picture locations for the sole Wherigo in town.đŸĨ´

Another day at sea and we were docking in Reykjavik. We had two days plus an overnight stop here. For the first time ever we booked a tour from the boat. I was anxious to see the Golden Circle which contained a lot of the natural wonders of Iceland. We were off the boat at eight and on our way.

Today, I was mainly hoping for Earthcaches and the ones that I was after were all close to places tha we were visiting. I was lucky to gather all the information to claim the following:-

Geysir - a powerful hot spring, Gullfoss (Golden Falls), Lava Flow and  Pingvellir - The Mid Atlantic Ridge. For good measure, I also claimed the trad at Gullfoss.😀          

The next day, we decided not to go into Reykjavik for a number of reasons. We had been given a guided tour of the city on the way back from the Golden Circle, the dock was about three miles outside and the fare for the tourist coach provided by the city was £16 return, each!! đŸĨ´ A lot of people on board thought that it was a rip-off as did we.

However, I had permission to go off for a couple of hours so I took full advantage.😀  It took me twenty minutes to walk down to the A Seaman’s Little Helper virtual. I was hoping to get further into the city centre but I knew that time was against me. I crossed the road and found the trad at the Meeting in the Middle. There was a summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in the nearby house many years ago, hence the cache title.🤔          

I cut inland and found a trad that wouldn’t be allowed in the U.K. Imagine a container under the steps at the entrance of a police station.đŸĨ´ I worked my way back to the boat picking up some more trads. I didn’t have time for the multi and an Earthcache but I did reach an important milestone - 500 caches found outside the U.K. 👏👏

There were three more Icelandic ports of call - Grundafiordur, Isafiordur and Akureyri, on the cruise. I was lucky enough to find caches in each port, mainly trads but there was another EC at the first port, which was a bit of a one horse town.

We stopped off at Klaksvik in the Faroes on the way back but the weather was terrible so we didn’t get off the boat. There was only one cache here half way up a mountain so I wasn’t too fussed.😀

We had another day at sea before our next stop and the weather deteriorated even further with a force 8 gale overnight. I was most concerned about this as we had to use a tender to get into Lerwick and one of the reasons for this cruise was to add the Shetland Islands to my UK list.🤔 I was also carrying my TB which also needed to visit the Shetlands for its UK tally.        

I was mightily relieved when I realised that the winds had dropped and we would be able to disembark. I went off early and at ten was signing the trad Ferry Close. Suddenly a voice said “are you a geocacher?” It turned out to be patchthecat who had got off the overnight ferry from Aberdeen a little earlier that morning. 😀 I then set off on an anti-clockwise circular walk taking in another eight trads which brought me back to the tender dock.          

So that was the end of this particular adventure.☚ī¸ It’s back to Blighty to keep concentrating on the challenges.😀 Unless something unexpected crops up, the next new country will be 🇨đŸ‡Ļ  next year.🤞

1 Virtual 6 Earthcache 28 Traditional