A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
At evening the schooner doubled the Skaw at the northern point of Denmark, in the night
passed the Skager Rack, skirted Norway by Cape Lindness, and entered the North Sea.
In two days more we sighted the coast of Scotland near Peterhead, and the VALKYRIA
turned her lead towards the Faroe Islands, passing between the Orkneys and Shetlands.
Soon the schooner encountered the great Atlantic swell; she had to tack against the north
wind, and reached the Faroes only with some difficulty. On the 8th the captain made out
Myganness, the southernmost of these islands, and from that moment took a straight
course for Cape Portland, the most southerly point of Iceland.
The passage was marked by nothing unusual. I bore the troubles of the sea pretty well;
my uncle, to his own intense disgust, and his greater shame, was ill all through the
He therefore was unable to converse with the captain about Snaefell, the way to get to it,
the facilities for transport, he was obliged to put off these inquiries until his arrival, and
spent all his time at full length in his cabin, of which the timbers creaked and shook with
every pitch she took. It must be confessed he was not undeserving of his punishment.
On the 11th we reached Cape Portland. The clear open weather gave us a good view of
Myrdals jokul, which overhangs it. The cape is merely a low hill with steep sides,
standing lonely by the beach.
The VALKYRIA kept at some distance from the coast, taking a westerly course amidst
great shoals of whales and sharks. Soon we came in sight of an enormous perforated
rock, through which the sea dashed furiously. The Westman islets seemed to rise out of
the ocean like a group of rocks in a liquid plain. From that time the schooner took a wide
berth and swept at a great distance round Cape Rejkianess, which forms the western point
The rough sea prevented my uncle from coming on deck to admire these shattered and
Forty-eight hours after, coming out of a storm which forced the schooner to scud under
bare poles, we sighted east of us the beacon on Cape Skagen, where dangerous rocks
extend far away seaward. An Icelandic pilot came on board, and in three hours the
VALKYRIA dropped her anchor before Rejkiavik, in Faxa Bay.
The Professor at last emerged from his cabin, rather pale and wretched-looking, but still
full of enthusiasm, and with ardent satisfaction shining in his eyes.
The population of the town, wonderfully interested in the arrival of a vessel from which
every one expected something, formed in groups upon the quay.