The Road to Iceland

Iceland the land of fire and ice. The island of mystery, a country were people believe in unsual things like elves, and they take it seriously.
A friend of mine watched an interview of their President, the President was asked how many is the population of Iceland? The President replied,
‘Its around 333,000 people that we had accounted for. Plus the”Others” living with us that we don’t have an exact account.’

What more strange are – “Prime corner lots in the middle of the city with wooden fences but without a house in it. Icelanders believe that ‘the Others’ are living in that space.”

Onboard, as much as possible we would like to avoid the voyage to Iceland, specifically during the winter season. The road to Iceland is not plain and smooth sea.
The road to Iceland is like the West Philippine Sea during a typhoon season or the Indian Ocean during the Moonsoon or the Bay of Biscay when King Neptune is having a mad and angry season.
In fact, at some point it is a mixture of all of the above. Heavy waves are pounding the forward of our vessel, every time a wave hits our vessel it feels like we are getting a power punch form the left hand of Manny Pacquiao.
Occasionally, huge waves will climb from the portside of the deck and it will cover the whole deck with white froth and the tip of the wave will cross up until the starboard-side of our ship.

I have seen much larger waves in my life, but that was onboard an Ultra-Large-Crude-Carrier. A ULCC-ship is basically a floating island, half a kilometer lenght with four millions barrels of cargo in it. Big waves is nothing to a ULCC-ship.
But my vessel, “Mergus” is qiute far from a ULCC category. In fact you can easily put “Mergus” in one of the forty cargo tanks of a ULCC-ship. So, basically our vessel “Mergus” is nothing to a big waves.

For quite a while I manage to escape numerous voyages to Iceland, working my way out before our vessel take the voyage to Iceland. But luck doesn’t come all the time. Now I have to face my fear, head on. No more escaping the voyage to Iceland.
Its part of the job. We need to bring the “Road” to Iceland. “Just for your information, our cargo is Bitumen/Aspalt, the thing that you mix with gravel to make a smooth pavement.” So basically, we are the guy who bring the Road to Iceland.

Few days before we load are cargo at Nynashamn, Sweden. I was talking to a Harbour Pilot who was having dinner on our messroom. He asked me where we are heading next. I told him that we will go to Sweden for loading and discarging to Iceland.
He was quite interested with the voyage, but I told him that no one onboard was happy about it. He told me that He was saving a lot of money just to go to Iceland. He says, a lot of Europeans and Americans are saving a lot of money just to visit Iceland.
And we are going to Iceland for free and we are unhappy? He told me to look at the bright side of it. Since then, I was the only crew onboard Mergus who was happy, excited, willing and eager to go to Iceland. Suddenly everythings changed, my perspective and point of view become clear and wide.

I was day dreaming of thing that might happen during my stay in Iceland. I was dreaming of meeting Björk in person, Eating a large pizza meal at Papa John’s just like Walter Mitty and lastly buy a souvenir coffee mug from a Starbucks cafe shop. This is gonna be the best voyage of my life…

The Road to Iceland
The Road to Iceland
Photo by Nino Almendra

Now on with the voyage…

The Road to Iceland

Name, size and type of vessel: M.T. Mergus – 4,700/DWT – Bitumen Tanker Ship

Total crew onboard: 12 person

Estimated voyage duration: 9 days

Actual voyage duration: 12 days

Type of Cargo: Bitumen/Aspalt

Iterinary: Nynashamn, Sweden – Load Cargo
Skagen(Anchorage), Denmark – Bunkering
Akureyri, Iceland – 1st discaharging port
Hafnarfjodur, Iceland – 2nd discharging port
Reykjavik, Iceland – Final discharging port

Difficulty: Not so easy and time consuming, but really worth it!

DAY 1 – Nynashamn, Sweden – Load Cargo – Sailing – Baltic Sea (Feb.23,2015)

Nynas Oil Refinery at Nynäshamn, Sweden Photo by Nino Almendra
Nynas Oil Refinery at Nynäshamn, Sweden
Photo by Nino Almendra

The Road to Iceland

DAY 2 – Sailing – Oresund Bridge

The Road to Iceland

DAY 3 – Skagen(Anchorage), Denmark – Bunkering

The Road to Iceland

DAY 4 – North Sea – Sailing

The Road to Iceland

DAY 5 – North Sea – Sailing

The Road to Iceland

DAY 6 – Somewhere at sea…

DAY 7 – God knows where we are…

DAY 8 – My 1st sighting of land, Iceland! – Akureyri, Iceland – 1st discaharging port

DAY 9 – Sailing – Denmark Strait – Hafnarfjodur, Iceland – 2nd discharging port

The Road to Iceland

DAY 10 – Reykjavik, Iceland – Final discharging port

The Road to Iceland

DAY 11 – Transfer to Lay-berth due to bad weather

DAY 12 – Still alongside the whole day at Lay-berth waiting for good weather – Depart after dinner and head back to Nynashamn, Sweden. (March 6, 2015)

More Stories of Life Onshore the Ports of Iceland; *Just hang-on I’m still writing our stories.

Life Onshore Akureyri, Life Onshore Hahnarfjodur , Life Onshore Reykjavik and the most intruing of all,  Life Inside the Phallological Museum of Iceland.

Thanks alot for spending your precious time on my blog and hope my nonsense

doesn’t bore. Wish you can visit Iceland as well in the near future.

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*Products that are mentioned/used on this post are for illustration purposes only and do not imply that they are endorsed by

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