Waterfalls, Tunnels and Sustainable Fisheries.

According to Lonely Planet Isafjordur in the Westfjord country is best known for its folk museum and for a tunnel that has a “T” intersection in the middle.  One part of the T goes to the town of Sudureri and the other goes one fjord further to Tingeyri.  From Isafjordur to the T is two way, from the T toward Sudureri and Tingeyri it is one way with right of way going to traffic heading toward Isafjordur and turnouts blasted into the side of the tunnel.  Digging the tunnel, they found an underground river of very pure water so they also have a reservoir for drinking water in the mountain as part of the tunnel complex.  We were in a bus that drove all legs of the tunnel in both directions.

The two main goals of the tour were to visit Dynjandi Falls, a beautiful waterfall, and to visit the fish processing plant in Sudureri.  To do this we actually drove along 5 different fjords, the road to the final one was a summer only gravel mountain road that has emergency mountain huts for those traveling over the road on foot in the winter.

Each fjord was in a different stage of morning fog.   It was a beautiful experience in a misty way, one that could never be caught on film, or a chip for that matter, but views to wonder at.

The fjords and falls were worth the trip.  In the Fjord hosting Tingeyri the main occupation seemed to be salmon farming and processing.  In Sudureri fish was also the mainstay but it was handled a little differently.  At each stop in Iceland we have seen museums celebrating the heritage of small boat fishing but in the harbors we saw big trawlers.  Sudureri bills itself as the sustainable fishing capital of the Westfjords.  The fishing boats were small long liners.  The whole town is powered by hydro and geothermal power and all the buildings are heated by geothermal.  The town’s boats and cars do use non-renewable power but the rest of the town has a low carbon footprint.  There are no fish farms here and the two processing plants are modern, the shiniest fish houses I have ever seen with workers in white coats, many immigrants, processing haddock, cod and Atlantic wolf fish.

The town is making its fishing industry a tourist attraction selling “seafood trail” tour packages that include samples of different fish processed different ways, including traditional dried and salted cod.  They have a hotel and restaurants for tourists and sell fish to take home.

Back through the tunnel and a quick wave at the folk museum and we are back on Prinsendam sailing out of the fjord and headed for Greenland.

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