Rollin’ an’ Tumblin’

Rollin’ and Tumblin’

First expedition with our new Tecla! And it was head first right in there! 11 new voyage crew joined us in Reykjavik. All ready to bag some adventures. Most had sailed before, but none in Iceland. A blank sheet waiting to be colored in. We planned our  trip from Reykjavik to Isafjordur to take 10 days. The shortest way is a little under 200 nml , the longest.. well 1000 maybe? That means plenty to see! The Icelandic weather forecast gave us increasing southerly winds. We decided to put these to use and head north while the going was good!

It turned out to be a wet 24 hours with a couple of gybes, some reefing and a top speed of 11.5 kn! During the night we past the Breidafjordur from where a nasty rolling sea surprised us with its vigor. The fetch (the amount of sea way) in the fjord is considerable and the geography made the wind follow the mountains on both sides creating its own little swell. Speed was good so it wasn’t long before we reached Sudureyri. It is the last and the smallest of the West Fjords before you reach Hornstrandir. It wasn’t a long way in and so not a long way out! The tiny population lives of the fishing industry in a very Icelandic way. Everything evolves around the factory and the fish coming in! It is set in a beautiful little fjord safely tucked away from the long arms of the sea.

 Next stop Hornvik, the first stop in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and one of the big high lights of this expedition! All our expeditions in this area have always been about trying to get to the “Horn”. It lies just 5nml south of the Arctic circle and has everything the area has to offer. It is an icon and it deserves to be! Getting there, on the other hand, can prove complicated, let alone getting ashore… 

This was exactly the point that could prove difficult. The center of a low pressure had passed over us and brought a Northerly swell that could wrap right around the headlands… The winds where low and the current with us so we made good time! On arriving at Hornvik the day couldn’t be much better! No swell in the bay, the sun was out and before us lay the whole day for hiking and exploring the Hornbjarg! Wow what a place! The bird cliffs booming with Razorbills, Guillimots, Kittywakes and Fulmars! All trying to stay out of reach of the cunning Arctic Foxes. The place always delivers!

The next day we set of early for Adelvik. We touched at the Arctic circle to include all into the realm of the polar bear! Most did so horizontally (sleeping), but that is ok! Again a day for walking and exploring. The weather however turned to be wet again. We knew this and just carried on! Iceland can be like that, so if you don’t like those peaches don’t shake that tree!

 

Winds picked up overnight so we made good use of the reefs we still had tucked in the sails. Passing Ritur, the Northerly cliff of the Isafjardardjup we were right in the middle of the food chain! Bait fish where being targeted from below and above. A great spectacle! Boiling down the fjords with the sails wing to wing (main on one side and staysail on the opposite) we were flying! Made it all the way to the eyri in Hrafnfjord, where we dropped the anchor.

Waterfall Hrafnfjordur

We set of a shore with a small party to inspect the nearby waterfall when we stumbled upon a nesting Gyrfalcon. The ground below the nest was covert in droppings and parts of animals who had served as a meal for the chicks. One of the parents made a quick guest appearance but shot of into the distance before we could take a picture. Stunning bird of prey!

With the weather likely to stay windy and wet, we were in the right place to play around! Sheltered from all sides by the fjords we set of the next day under small canvas.We could just clear the southern headland but our mark lay to windward so a couple of tack’s where needed to get us there! And what tack’s they were! Like a hot knife through butter. Even in the tack the boat kept going 3 kn! And it was hardly required to keep the staysail a back! What a joy! With every turn we made the wind seemed to come back harder until we dropped anchor of Hesteyri in a near gale! Just in time!

Our last day in the fjords we started with a walk over to the abandoned whale factory and a short look at the village that used to reside here. The old doctors house now serves the best pancakes! But for us it was back to the boat setting sail to find some Humpback Whales in the Isafjardardjup! They did not disappoint us. Flukes and blows everywhere! It never tyers to see these giants at work. So it was with a happy feeling we glided into Isafjordur for the first time in two years! Yes we are back!!!

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