Reykjavík, Iceland

Ode to Iceland

Kevin Clement|September 22, 2011|Blog Post

Our recently completed Circumnavigation of Iceland expedition left quite the impression on some, including Zegrahm renaissance man, Kevin Clement. Enjoy his poem below, and water colors above.

 

Ode to Iceland
(with apologies to Robert Service)

There are strange things done in the Midnight sun
And one of those was our trip
Through Iceland wild, but in highest style
On the Clipper Odyssey ship.

To Iceland we came on various planes,
In a stupor induced by jet lag,
And made prayers to Odin, with a certain forebodin’,
That we’d arrive with all of our bags.

We took a big lick of old Reykjavik
And found it much to our liking,
This far northern home of trolls and of gnomes,
And sometime or other, some Vikings.

It made our hearts sing to see the old Thing
We were growing amazed and amazed-er.
A huge waterfall, and that wasn’t all:
We saw geezers—sorry, that’s “gay-sir”.

We found Odyssey, and with due modesty,
We can say she’s the perfect small size.
She was awaiting, and without hesitating,
We set sail. Our direction: clockwise.

Flatey was flat; no doubt about that,
And the terns keep their little beaks honed
It made you wanna throw rocks at the whole goddamn flock,
If you did…you’d leave no tern un-stoned.

The puffin’s a creature whose colorful features
Made it one we all wanted to see.
It lives in a burrow, or crevice, or furrow…
Since when did birds not nest in trees?

At Latrabjarg, the cliffs loomed up large
And so did the waves crashing round them.
But we found a beach, within easy reach,
Went searching for puffins, and found them.

Isafjordur’s museums   are great—you should see ‘em;
But what left an indelible mark
On our memory’s slate was the moment we ate
That hideous putrefied shark.

On the island of Vigur, the terns were most eager:
They came at you from farther and wider.
If someone yelled “Duck!” you might be out of luck…
Unless they were talking ‘bout eider.

Our next hike’s destination, the old radar station
At Adalvik, lay up a steep trail.
But I sure was beat after just 700 feet…
That is, on the Mike Messick scale.

Hornvik had horns, in dozens of forms,
And zillions of seabirds to boot.
We got to know pronto the fragrance of guano—
But still, those damn puffins are cute.

We sailed ever north, and in due course
Reached the half-Arctic island of Grimsey.
We couldn’t agree where the Circle should be;
Where they put up the sign was pure whimsy.

And in a short time, we sailed to the Line
Where the Arctic Sea truly does start
With water so frigid, the swimmers went rigid
Well, except for certain parts.

Siglufjordur has a show made to order
For those who like herring and history.
The museum’s displays explain the old ways,
But that movie shall remain a mystery.

At Lake Myvatn, you might wonder what in
The heck those weird formations are.
The short explanation is that, in this nation,
Trolls are as real as you are.

In Seydisfjordur, you might say the order
Of the day was waterfalls on high.
But a bigger surprise, quite hard on the eyes,
Was this strange bright ball in the sky.

On Vatnajokull we met with some locals
Who taught us to drive snowmobiles.
And then let us go to live or die in the snow…
Now we know how a young puffin feels.

It’s always a fine day out there on Heimaey,
A town that a volcano threatened.
The locals fought back and stopped the attack,
By keeping the lava flow wettened.

For those who are jaded; the luster has faded
From the old, the familiar, the cutesy--
We offer a view that is guaranteed new:
The brand spanking-new island of Surtsey.

And so back to the outset, and we just cannot let
Ourselves give in to temptation
To pause or retreat, or we mightn’t complete
Our Icelandic circumnavigation.

Through the Icelandic best, with hardly a rest
We’ve come with our trusty small ship.
Our story must end, but there’s a moral, my friends,
And it’s not to let protections slip.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
And Iceland’s a wild destination.
I think you can see, when you get home you’ll need
A vacation from your vacation.

 

Related Blog Posts

  • Great Barrier Reef
    Infographics

    2018: 26 Countries, 52 UNESCO World Heritage Sites [Infographic]

    May 4, 2017 | Infographics

    In 2018, Zegrahm will be visiting 52 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in over 25 countries! The United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the UN that maintains a list of important natural or histroical sites, whose preservation and safe-keeping are deemed important for the world community.

    Read More

    Island Sky
    Infographics
    Lanzarote, Canary Islands
    Blog Post

    2018 Travel Bucket List

    March 6, 2017 | Blog Post

    Where will your travel dreams take you in 2018? Here are just a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences Zegrahm can help you check off your bucket list next year.

     

    Read More

  • Kyoto, Japan
    Infographics

    2017: 34 Countries, 90 UNESCO World Heritage Sites [Infographic]

    February 14, 2017 | Infographics

    In 2017, Zegrahm will be visiting 90 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in over 30 countries! The United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the UN that maintains a list of important natural or histroical sites, whose preservation and safe-keeping are deemed important for the world community.

    Read More

    Jaguar, Pantanal, Brazil | Mark Brazil
    Blog Post

    What Was Your Favorite Wildlife Experience of 2016?

    December 28, 2016 | Blog Post

    We recently reached out to our field staff, to find out what their favorite wildlife experiences of 2016 were. From South America to Australia’s Kimberley, our staff have traveled the world this year. Below, enjoy their stories.  

     

    Read More

    Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
    Field Report

    The Untamed North: Iceland to Greenland 2016 Field Report

    October 12, 2016 | Field Report

    Thursday & Friday, July 28 & 29, 2016 - Reykjavík, Iceland / Embark Sea Adventurer

    Read More

  • Zodiac Cruising in Alaska
    Infographics

    Choosing an Alaska Cruise [Infographic]

    August 25, 2016 | Infographics

    Alaska inevitably wows visitors with awe-inspiring scenery, abundant wildlife, and a long, colorful history. With more coastline than the rest of the states combined, exploring by ship is one of the best ways to see Alaska's many wonders. And, there is no shortage of cruises to choose from, ranging from mega-ships to private yachts.

    Read More

    Mike Moore
    Blog Post

    Michael Moore Earns Rave Reviews

    August 22, 2016 | Blog Post

    The reviews are in: Michael Moore has another hit on his hands.

    Read More

    White-Footed Booby
    Blog Post

    Pepper Trail - Bird Detective

    August 9, 2016 | Blog Post

    The setting: somewhere in New Mexico. Oil field waste pits have not been properly netted to protect wildlife from their toxic mixture. Migratory birds, mistaking these holding ponds for water, have become trapped and died. The oil companies are in clear violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but Fish and Wildlife Special Agents need help in building their case.

    Read More

  • Zodiac cruise
    Video

    The Zegrahm Experience

    July 20, 2016 | Video

    We're happy to tell you what a Zegrahm expedition is really like, but why not hear it from our guests? In this video, you'll hear explorers from the Arctic to the Antarctic - and in between! - sharing just some of the incredible highlights of a Zegrahm expedition.

    Read More

    Hall Island, Alaska
    Blog Post

    Alaska's Hidden Treasures

    July 14, 2016 | Blog Post

    St. Matthew Island and Hall Island are the most remote islands of the Bering Sea, nearly 210 miles from the nearest human habitation.

    Read More

    Attu Island, Aletuian Islands, Alaska
    Blog Post

    The Forgotten Battle

    July 5, 2016 | Blog Post

    In 1942, the Japanese invaded two Aleutian Islands—Kiska and Attu—only six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What is now known as “The Forgotten Battle” began during the early morning hours of June 6, when 500 Japanese soldiers landed on Kiska, taking the 10-man US Navy Weather Detachment (the island’s only inhabitants) by complete surprise.

    Read More