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Off the southern coast of Iceland lies a group of islands known as Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands. You can get there by ferry, bringing your car along for exploring the main island, Heimey. As a novice, I learned that a simple ferry ride can become a fiasco if enthusiasm takes over or if you stop paying attention to your surroundings. I offer the following steps below so that others can have a smooth, enjoyable ride.
First, reserve your spot online, ahead of your travel date, especially if you are traveling in summer. Choose the date and time you would like to go, and what type of vehicle you will be bringing. Keep in mind that your online reservation is not an actual ticket. When you arrive at the port of Landeyjahöfn, you will still need to stop inside the office to exchange your voucher for an actual ticket.
With your real ticket in hand, you may queue up your car in the appropriate line. You will see the lanes clearly marked with a drawing of either a car, van, or truck. You then sit tight and wait until it’s time to board.
When directed, drive onto the ferry, following the line of cars in front of you. In order to get as many cars as possible on the boat, you will be told to pull up to within inches of the car ahead of you. You will then exit your car, but before leaving, notice where your car is in relation to the exit. Also, be sure to remember whether you are on the upper or lower level. You may have driven in on a lower level only to have the platform raised to an upper level shortly thereafter.
As you enter the interior of the boat, it’s helpful to take note of which door you came through. This is especially true if you decide to go exploring or venture outside to view the scenery from out on deck.
Now enjoy the ride! The wind was really whipping during my trip. In fact, the crossing just before mine was canceled due to unusually high winds. But if the seas aren’t too rough, go for a walk out on deck and take in the scenery. Or simply enjoy it from the comfort of the inside looking out.
And now, the biggest tip of all, especially if you have ventured outside: listen for the announcement: “All drivers to proceed to your vehicles at this time.” Once in your car, you can congratulate yourself for taking the ferry like a pro. Then proudly drive down the ramp and off the boat, finding yourself magically transported to this beautiful island!