Monday 3th June 2019. Like the previous night, it's been uncomfortably hot in the couchette. Judging by the swaying of the ship and the hammering noise during the wee hours, we must have been caught in a storm. I get up, freshen up, and take the stairs going from the underbelly of the ship on deck 2, to "The Diner" at deck 6.
As a self-proclaimed pencil pusher, I figure I should take all the exercise I can get, before the hiking starts. During the weekends leading up to the trip, I'd been taking long walks, fully geared up, but I get this uncanny feeling these will not have been quite enough. It's not that systematically taking the stairs will magically improve the rather bad physical shape I'm in, but at least it provides me with short bursts of action during an otherwise (extremely) boring time on the ship, necessarily spent mostly sitting.
I go by the reception on deck 5. The clock says it's 5.30 am (so much for setting my alarm for 7.30), the TV-screen shows we arrived in Tórshavn, capital of the Faroe Islands, situated on the east coast of Streymoy island. When I look outside I see it's cloudy but bright as mid day. Not unexpected, but a bit surprising nonetheless.
Hot food isn't ready yet, so I settle for some bread, a boiled egg, and a few pieces of watermelon. The coffee machine isn't working either. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad: the coffee dispensed from that machine definitely has an odd flavour to it.
Half an hour or so later, steaming hot sausages arrive, and with them freshly brewed coffee (fortunately, the machine is taking an extended break). Both are greeted with enthusiasm. A few scoops of beans in tomato sauce go in easily too. Despite one of my uncles calling these "cowboy beans" (no doubt a side effect of watching too many spaghetti westerns), I haven't been able to detect any trace of whiskey in mine.
Before I venture outside, I climb two additional flights of stairs, to the upper deck. I figure that given the height of the ship, I will get some nice shots of the harbour. Unfortunately, the light is a far cry from the directional, contrasty light I like and seek out when leaving the house on a photography trip.
It's dawning on me that this will very likely be the predominant kind of weather I'll be having in Iceland too (if I'm lucky enough not to get drenched from time to time). A far cry from the images you see passing by on social media, with landscapes bathing in beautiful golden light (which is not necessarily the kind I prefer, but still ...). This will ask for some adapting on my part when looking out for stuff to capture.
I've been walking on the Tórshavn streets for only a few minutes, and there's the drizzle alright. Skansin fort, right next to the terminal, was as logical a place to start as any I suppose. I head north, and walk along the shore line for a while. The atmosphere can best be described as moody, and I like it. The featureless sky is breached by a (very) watery sun with decreasing frequency, and I even get treated to some dark clouds from time to time. The weather changes even faster here than at home, no doubt because of the proximity and interplay of the sea and the mountains.
The sea is rough to Belgian standards (which admittedly, doesn't mean much), the water grey, something I noticed while on the open sea too. No sign of any infrastructure to enjoy the rocky beach, and I realise that the seas are probably too cold out here to make any such an investment worthwhile. It sure beats the Flemish coastline with its golden sandy beaches, disgraced by (mostly aging and tasteless) high rise hotels and apartment blocks on one side, and a murky, brownish and silty sea at the other.
I don't mind the rain, and keep going, making a mental note that when I want to capture the roughness of the waves by freezing motion, I quickly run out of light on base ISO. Something to remember when I arrive in Iceland ...
to be continued ...