Many of us hiked 6 kilometres up to Eldfell itself, coming back to tell of hot vents along the trail, and of visibility of less than ten metres! What Icelanders call a “black fog” was described as “mystical and magical” atop the volcano by one hiker.
We returned to the Ocean Endeavour where the Zodiacs awaited us. On our short cruise along the island’s coast we witnessed the fantastic majesty of the bird cliffs, sculpted by waves and eroded by sediments in the sea. The palatial caves, we learned, are made of igneous rock and columnar basalt. We spotted northern fulmars, kittiwakes, and common murres, as well as puffins in the air and on the sea, among other seabirds.
Back on the ship we learned about the Young Explorers program from coordinator Milbry Polk and the Explorers themselves: Aviva Musicus, Nicholas Graham Platt, Keiji Hammond, and Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza.
We raised a glass of champagne to Captain Dmytro Ashanin and the crew leaders, but before evening we were forced to find our sea legs as the Ocean Endeavour began to rock in the high seas. The more unfortunate were rendered bed-ridden—including musician Nive Nielsen, who had been set to perform that evening. As the night went on our numbers rapidly depleted, and we retreated to our cabins with our various seasickness remedies.