Ísafjörður: Iceland’s rough side

3 Jun

Do you remember Dublin, the port that never was? With its 15:30 drill that ended just before we started working our captain had ensured that none of us would see Dublin, because we could not leave the ship before the drill, and had to go to work directly after. Considering that this was our only Irish stop for the year, the crew was quite disgruntled with said decision and its maker. Now the masters found a way to remind us of our lost opportunity to visit Ireland’s cultural center, with as much lack of reasoning as before.

This morning around 6 A.M. we landed in the port of Isafjordur, Iceland. Given that at this time of the year the sun never sets over Iceland, the early arrival gave us a whopping eight hours to explore the town and its surrounding mountainside. Or it could have, if Isafjordur had a deepwater harbour. Unfortunately we had to anchor one mile off the shore, and access to the main land was limited to ABC Cruises’ little tender boats. Which is a recipe for disaster, at least aboard this vessel, because in times of trouble our masters tend to find enraging solutions for non-existent problems. And such, morning access to the tenders was forbidden for all crew.

Isafjordur, Iceland

Isafjordur offers awesome rock slides and a very rustic town scene.

Guests take precedence over crew; that much is understandable. But why the crew was not allowed to leave the ship before 11 A.M. is beyond comprehension, especially considering that all tender boats that left early were nearly empty. It is cold in Isafjordur, and most of our passengers stayed in until noon, so really there was no pressure to keep the crew aboard. ABC Cruises did it anyway, and as usual provided us with no explanation as to why we were not allowed to visit the town before lunch.

Of course, being shipped tenderly takes time, and I had to be back by 2 P.M. to resume our glorious photo training with Vito. So, overall I spent about thirty minutes in Isafjordur, adding a severe shortage of time to an already cold and miserable day. The town features a mountain shrouded in myst, a fish farm, and various houses, mostly white. And about a dozen or so churches. They seem to pop up on every other street corner, so you might be glad that Isafjordur only has about a dozen streets.

Photo training with Vito is still fun, and I am genuinely excited to try out new poses and light settings in my photo studio. Unfortunately, that excitement does not transgress to our passengers, who are still unwilling to have their picture taken by any ABC photographer. And so I stand alone in my little makeshift studio beside the atrium, prostituting myself to the general displeasure of cruise guests. Nobody wants to take advantage of my services, and everybody wishes for me to just vanish into the mists that I came from.

The Plaza aboard the ABC RypMeOff

It is always sunny aboard the ABC RypMeOff. Except for those who have to deal with the greedy, dirty reality of cruise business.

But in between herds of passengers that roam the decks in search of a smoker’s lounge, or the temporary joys of the casino, I stand alone, and seek refuge in the little pleasures that remain in my ship life. Such as the fact that my messy cabin mate Pancho will leave this vessel at the end of this cruise, and will likely not be replaced any time soon. Or I conjure up a mental image of the beautiful ports that we are going to revisit in the next few weeks; real natural beauties such as Kirkwall, or Geiranger.

Whenever one of my supervisors lurks around the corner, to observe and evaluate my behaviour, I temporarily transform into the car salesman that they want me to be. The rest of the time I contemplate my complicity in this business, and try to develop a plan that carries me out of here. This infrequent occurrence of alone-time in my makeshift studio is becoming important to me. I am still overtired, but at least I don’t have to perform when nobody is around. Much like Isafjordur I hide my true beauty behind a cloud of mist, and store it for warmer days.


For a scenic view of Ísafjörður click here.

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