Friday, May 10, 2013

Crossing the Arctic Circle II.

Once you come up all the way to Akureyri, then you literally are just a few miles away from the Arctic Circle.

And who would say no to an inviting trip all the way to the northmost inhabited island of Iceland - Grimsey -lying on the Arctic Circle that is a home to a very special community of around 150 people and around 1000 seabirds?

The island (of about 5 square kilometers in area) stands alone far out on the horizon as a blue cliff, sourrounded by the wide Arctic Ocean, about 40 km off the north coast of Iceland.
The islanders live in a small village by the harbour - a prosperous and fertile community with many children. The courages fishermen of Grimsey harvest the rich fishing banks all around the island but often venture bravely in their small motorboats much further north on the Arctic Ocean.

Summer in Grimsey means sun 24 hours until late July, when twilight begins to decsend around midnight. Something very special for all those who are used to stars on the dark summer skies at nights. The birds nesting in 100-metres high cliffs are a paradise not only for birdwatchers and it´s not a surprise that Grimsey belongs to one of the best birdwatching sites in the country.
Are you motivated enough to check this island out, enjoy unique local life and even get a certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle? Here are the possibilities:
You can get to Grimsey either by ferry from Dalvík or by plane from Akureyi.
Taking the ferry
It´s an experience on its own to sail for 3 hours from Dalvík, eventually spotting whales on the way, exploring the island including its 800-year old church and going back the same day.

It´s important, though to bear in mind that boat departs from Dalvík only 3 times a week. It leaves from Dalvík at 09:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The ferry comes to Grímsey about 12.00 at noon and departs back to Dalvík again at 16.00, the same day. This goes for the summer schedule (May 16th - August 31st).
In winter time (September 1st - May 15th)the ferry returns as soon as it has loaded the cargo (normally after 1-hour stop) arriving in Dalvík around 16.00.

Bookings are to be made at the following e-mail:

Taking the plane

Norlandair offers scheduled flights and charter flights all year around. Daily during the summer (aprox 10th of June till 20th of August) and three times a week (Sun, Tue, Fri) during the rest of the year. Flying time is 30 minutes.
During the stop in Grímsey one can cross the Arctic Circle, have a guided walking tour and during the bird season also watch rich birdlife.
During high summer the stop is approx. 2 hrs and 15 minutes and during other times of year it is shorter or approx. 20 minutes.  Longer stop is possible during winter upon request.
It is also possible to combine the tour with flight one way and ferry the other. Thus getting a longer stay, especially during summer, where one gets about 6.5 hrs stop in Grímsey. Then take the morning flight to Grímsey at 9.30 and the ferry back to Dalvík at 16.00. 
Detailed flight schedule is to be found here and bookings are to be made via AIR ICELAND.

PS: Although Grímsey lies on the Arctic Circle, the island enjoys mild climate.
We look forward to hearing all your impressions from your local Grímsey experience, in this special and warm community of 100 islanders and thousands of puffins.

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