Further north – Kodiak and Iceland June 2016

The idea of going to Iceland this summer started when Jess and Samantha Osborne visited us in Miami and elaborated on their north-west passage trip. “Our boat is in Reykjavik, please come visit, there is a direct flight from Anchorage.” Well, we would leave our boat in Juneau and fly to Anchorage for this trip. As long as we are in Anchorage overnight, let’s go see some of the Aleutian Islands.

The Aleutian Islands stretch 1,500 miles to the east of Alaska, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor are the major settlements. Both are major fishing ports and played critical roles in WW II as the Japanese tried to invade North America along this route. Kodiak is the second largest island in the US and served as the base for 30,000 service personnel during the war. 90% of the island today is National Park and home of Kodiak brown bears. We stayed at a B&B run by Marty and Marion Owen who also have a boat and provide dinner cruises, nature tours and fishing. We rented a car and drove around the southern end of the island stopping for hikes along the way. On our last day, the sun came out and Marty lead us on a tour of Long Island that was magical.

Off to Reykjavik, Iceland….seven time zones to the east. With a population of only 350,000, Iceland is an incredibly self-sufficient island community with a world-class soccer team. While there are mountains and glaciers, there are also major alluvial plains for grazing sheep, cows and the famous Iceland ponies. Essentially all of the heat on the island is geothermal, including that used in greenhouses for the fresh vegetables. Most the electricity comes from hydro plants up in the mountains. Hot springs, the Blue Lagoon being the most famous, and waterfalls abound. With only five days, we were limited to the southern part of the island so it looks like we will have to go back for more.

Click on the photo to see the album of this trip