Hot water and warm friends in Iceland

Photo taken by Ellen Barringer

Photo taken by Ellen Barringer

Iceland

In Iceland we make three stops: Reykjavik, where they make electricity and heat with hot ground water, the tiny fishing town of Isafjordur, and Akureyri, where we initiate an exciting new partnership with the University.

To say Iceland is a special place is an understatement. There are several striking things about Iceland, and the first is the landscape. This is a place where movies are filmed and it’s easy to understand why. The scenery is surreal, carved by both ice and heat. Glaciers have carved mountains and valleys but underneath the surface lava boils and occasionally erupts from ice covered volcanoes.

We are incredibly lucky with good weather during our port visits, but not so much at sea. The journey between Isafjordur and Akureyri is rough, and the sea becomes what one expects in the North Atlantic: dark and wild, tossing the MV Explorer about and causing much consternation among our voyagers. Some are very sick, others are simply inconvenienced, bouncing between the walls as they walk the corridors. Fortunately, this lasts only one night, and we are all relieved to wake up to terra firma in Akureyri.

I could write pages about Iceland, but I will keep it short. What is important here is that we forge a friendship. We are hosted by the University of Akureyri, where our students brilliantly share what they have learned about climate change on this voyage with our Iceland counterparts. For Icelanders, our discoveries are old news, but our commitment to engage in solutions is new, and we hope that this experience is the beginning of a meaningful and lasting partnership between two universities that are on separate continents but both committed to a preferable future.

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