Some 500 passengers are stuck in Seyðisfjörður for the second day in a row. RÚV reports.
Seyðisfjörður is a small fishing village in Iceland’s East Fjords, notable as a tourist destination for both its vibrant art and cultural life and also its ferry connection. Nestled at the bottom of a steep fjord, Seyðisfjörður is only accessible over land via Fjarðarheiði, a mountain pass.
Conditions in the last days have left Fjarðarheiði impassable, meaning that the travellers are stuck in place for some time.
The travellers arrived in Seyðisfjörður yesterday, March 21. Among the passengers of the ferry are some Faroese and a group of around 50 German travellers. Most travellers are expected to take the ferry back in the morning, a sure disappointment.
Agnar Sverrisson, regional manager of Smyril Line in Seyðisfjörður, stated to RÚV: “Up on the heath, you have to drive about 10 km [6 mi] at an altitude of over 600 meters [1970 ft]. Many travellers are reluctant to make the journey in difficult conditions. It stops us from doing business for much of the winter.”
Other operations in Seyðisfjörður are being called on to help out as well, although reports indicate that the herring processing facility, which houses an important electric generator, has begun to run low on fuel. According to RÚV, generator fuel should last through the night, but if it comes to it, they may have to burn ship diesel in the generator to keep the lights on.
A fuel truck will be sent over the mountain pass as soon as conditions allow.
Making the most of it
Despite the disappointing nature of the trip, the travellers seem to be making the most of it.
Marie Kruger, a tourist guide, stated to RÚV: “There are people there who have been to Iceland before, and these people may think it’s a bit of an adventure and a bit exciting to experience something like this. But then, of course, there are the others who were really looking forward to seeing the East, and they are naturally disappointed. But people understand the situation and see what is going on.”
The unfortunate closure has also thrown new light on a possible tunnel to Seyðisfjörður, which has been discussed before.
According to Agnar, “It’s a matter of life and death for Seyðisfjörður to get a tunnel. And then for the community in East Iceland as a whole to continue to be open. To connect Austurland together so that this can be considered a single business and tourism area.”