Mist and Myths, Drangey, 65N56 19W40

Drangey Island, a deformed table shaped rock hidden deep in the Skagafjord, North Iceland. One of our highlights on our trip from Isafjordur to Akuryri and vs. No sailing pilot hinds of an anchorage and only the newer travel guides mention the possibility of visiting this od rock formation.

On the road less traveled and the course less steered we visit places normally less frequented. They lie far beyond the mist or behind an unsurpassable amount of sea miles. Sometimes our voyage description does not do them justice. A summary together with some pictures should give a better idea of what to expect when we go the extra mile!

Sailing up to the exploded volcano a chill runs down your spine. The dramatic setting makes you think twice of coming to close. Once the lead line has found bottom and the anchor is out it is time to have a closer look…

Drangey Island and its sea stags are the remains of a prehistoric drama. The once proud volcano exploded some 700 000 years ago. It left a piece of volcanic tuff, rising 200 mtr from the sea. This is according to what the general public beliefs happened… In truth Drangeys main Island is a big cow in heat. She was driven across the Skagafjord by two trolls one early morning. They had set there minds on the animal for some time and took the opportunity when it came… All went well until the cow got stubborn and wouldn’t move. Karl and Kerling, the tow trolls, got so entangled in moving the cow, they lost sight of time. When the first rays of sun came over the hills it was to late. They froze in time when the sun turned them to stone! After spending what seemed an eternity together as rocks, poor Karl’s legs gave away as he tumbled to the sea. What is left, are the cow and “the old woman”, Kerlin, waiting for the tide to turn.

Drangey is also the setting of and anti hero’s saga. The story of Grittir the strong. A beast of a man, who was most probably born between 1030 and 1040. Though his Saga was only written down in 1340. It tells of an unfortunate brute. Coming from a long line of Vikings, he has his great grand fathers temper. Not bad at heart, but quick to act and get himself in al sorts of trouble. When he slayes Glamr the draugr, an old dead strong and vicious creature, he gets cursed. Grettir is a hero in many ways, killing many enemies. But when he is blamed for setting fire to a hall, he is banned to outlawry. Grettir and his brother and slave seek shelter on Drangey. Here they are save from the onslaughts on the brutes live.  After nearly twenty years his family ask for the bane to be lifted. This is promised to be done but only after the full twenty years. A final attempt on Grettirs live proves fatal, as magic gets the better of him. A sad end to a sad story makes the legend even bigger.

Today we don’t see so many trolls and giants. Puffins have taken their place. They nest on top of the Island in little borrows. After a thrilling walk up the slopes passing many of the nesting birds the reward is a 360 view over Skagafjord. The Island is only small and once on top easy to navigate. Normally the birds are very approachable and most people get their perfect puffin shot on top of the “old cow”.

  Drangey is one of the highlights during our season in Iceland! For us it has become an icon of the north cost. The thrilling anchorage next to the big sea stag puts us right in a scene of Games Of Throne. When going ashore it is not hard to understand why people have associated the Island with fairytales. The winding road with rope ladders up the slopes are demanding but more then worth the effort once the puffins come in sight. All in all, a great stop underway to or back from the Arctic circle