Arctic Circle

Monday morning drive from Akureyri to Dalvik to catch the 9:00 o’clock ferry to the island of Grimsey; the only place in Iceland that extends into the Arctic Circle.

Rough 3-hour ferry ride, not ideal for anyone prone to sea sickness. There were several such people on board. Did not envy the young woman in charge of clean-up.

Grimsey is situated 40 km north of the mainland. The island is small – just five square kilometers – with a population of 70-80 people. Birds outnumber the people by about 10,000 to one.

Moments after docking in Grimsey the majority of ferry passengers made a beeline to the sole restaurant for a bowl of hot soup, followed by a chilly hike along the coast to take photos of the puffins while avoiding the dive-bombing Arctic terns.

The goal of the 45-minute hike is a selfie with a gigantic concrete sphere that marks the current position of the Arctic Circle. It is marked on maps at 66.5 degrees north, but actually fluctuates with the wobble of the Earth’s tilt. The sphere design allows the monument to be moved along with the fluctuations.

Just in case the circle had moved and nobody got around to moving the sphere, I continued another few hundred meters north the the edge of the northern-most cliff to ensure I actually did visit the Arctic Circle.


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