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Around Iceland

Seydisfjordur

overcast 55 °F

After sailing all day in the drizzle and fog, we arrived at Sedisfjordur, a small town of about 700 folks at about 5:00pm. The highlight of the evening was an included event of Iceland folk songs at the "Blue Church" followed by a reception at the small Technical museum. The fresh air and quiet was exceptionally enjoyable.

Settlement in Seyðisfjörður traces back to the early period of settlement in Iceland. The first settler was Bjólfur, who occupied the entire fjord. The burned down ruin of a "staf" church at Þórunnarstaðir has been carbon-dated to the 10th century, with earlier graves exhumed dating back to the 8th century.

Town settlement in the Seyðisfjörður area started in 1848. The town was settled by Norwegian fishermen. These settlers also built some of the existing wooden buildings in the town. Another now deserted settlement nearby in the fjord, Vestddalseyri was the site for the world's first modern industrialized whaling station. It was established in 1864 by renowned American whaler Thomas Welcome Roys and run by him and his workforce until 1866. Both settlements served primarily as fishing and trading posts. The first telegraph cable connecting Iceland to Europe was shored in Seyðisfjörður in 1906, making it a hub for international telecommunications well past the middle of last century. In 1913 a dam was made in the main river, harnessing power for the country's first high voltage AC power plant together with a distribution network for street lighting and home use, also the first of its kind in Iceland. Seyðisfjörður was used as a base for British/American forces during World War II and remnants of this activity are visible through the fjord, including a landing strip no longer in use and an oil ship SS El Grillo that was bombed and sunk. It remains a divers' wreck at the bottom of the fjord.

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Posted by rpickett 05:10 Archived in Iceland

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