Montag, Juli 02, 2007

3rd Internet acces in Iceland

Hi, there!

We are weatherbound again... :-((

If someone asks me later what was the hardest part of this trip...for me it were those days off due to stormy weather...I felt like a bondaged racing horse...not that we are not paddling over force 5, but when it comes to 7 or more, better stay dry!

First the statistical update for the last three paddling days:


Day 20 Thursday 28.06.07 no paddling on a bad weather day
Day 21 Friday 29.06.07 to Sandvik Bay 65 km
Day 22 Saturday 30.06.07 to Streitishvarf lighthouse 50 km
Day 23 Sunday 01.07.07 to Hoefn 90 km
Day 24 Monday 02.07.07 no paddling on a bad weather day

So how did we spend the last of the three weatherbound days in Bakkagerdi? Karel texted me another patience day will pay off...I didn´t want to believe him, as I saw the wind and seas going down Thursday afternoon already, but he was right!

It turned out that the loft Helga put us in was owned by the father in law of Ari´s brother Palmi, who is a sea kayaker, too, and who just spent some holidays in Bakkagerdi with his wife.

He came over Sunday night after we just moved in, and we had (actually the first...) good Icelandic kayaker's talk...he was the first kayaker on this trip we've met to talk to so far, and as he took many pictures, he could prove we are not "phantoms" only going around! :-))

Next day Palmi took us in his big 4-wheel drive truck on an trip through the backcountry on bumpy dirt roads, and proved he was a pretty good offroad driver! I really enjoyed sitting upfront besides him, although I must admit I would have even more enjoyed driving by myself! We had to pass plenty of rivers, too, and we didn't have to push and swim at all! This time it was *us* who took plenty of pictures...
His father in law Olaf joined us a as a local guide, and as he didn't speak any English Palmi did a great job in translating all his interesting stories...

For example that one about the remote village graveyard located too close to a cliff, which got washed off by the sea over the years, and every spring after the winter storm you could see from the seaside the newly open graves with the bony legs of the skeletons sticking out to the sea...

He owned some fjords away a remote farm, too, where the Eider ducks were attracted to nest in a farm area, and then he could collect the Eider downs to sell later what fills our sleeping bags! That was a really interesting trip, topped by a short ride by me on one of those 4-wheel ATB´s we saw already in Newfoundland everywhere. Thanks to Palmi and Olaf!
The lasagne later at his house with locally grown minced lamb meat brought back some of the energy we've probably lost on those last paddling days.

The fist paddling day after 3 days off felt really good, but the water was still pretty rough with following winds, and I had to fight a bit of seasickness again :-(
The landing on the sandy beach of Sandvik was a good pretaste for the long sandy stretch on the soth coast, dumping surf all night long sticked to our ears at the tentside on the cliff. Walking up to the comfortable rescue shelter seemed too much of a hard work that night, and our bright orange tent was just similar looking :-)

When the landing was just wet, the launching next day proved to be a bit more tricky.
I had the luck to launch first this time and to get pushed in, but Greg got a big wave right into his face and lost both contacts...his second start was successfull then.

If that wasn´t enough already, the last night´s predicted forcast of following winds turned 180 degrees to solid headwinds, which Karel actually corrected in another forcast that morning already, but we couldn´t read it at that time...

Ok, sticking the head around the corner out of that bay blew the hardest catabatic wind in my face I ever had experienced. It felt like paddling in a wind tunnel! I estimated force 7 or 8... The waves were moderate, so after about an hour's hardest fight to the next open fjord area where the catabatic effect was not that strong any more, we kept on going in force 4-5 headwinds "only" for the rest of the day, and had to stop already after about 50 km. Wow, the body was sore after that day!

But we had to make it to Hoefn next day, or the forecast of maybe another 2-3 windbound days would get us stuck in the bushes somewhere. And I must admit it is more nice to stay in a town with hot shower, pool and internet for a few days!
So after this day of fighting hard headwinds, we had to go another 90 km, luckily with first no winds, then following winds and even a nice current into the right direction, reaching temporarly about 6 knots!

But it was too early to call it a nice easy pushing, just long, long day...

Reaching Stokksnes lighthouse about 20 km before Hoefn, that point proved already to be a real current trap. They came from both sides together at that point, and created the hell of a water through this little maze of islands. The view of the futuristic huge ball of the radio station added to the science fiction scenery of the huge sandy mountain area, with already the view of the glacier tongues sticking out in the background.

We felt like damn good paddlers surviving that water...and kept on going with about 2 knots only in still heavy waves, the current against us now.

The lighthouses of the harbour entrance of Hoefn always in sight, the current changed to a wide tidal race to the left, which we could still avoid somehow. But the harbour entrance was blocked by a massive standing wave, as the outflowing water of the inlet was increadibly strong at that time of the day (no, actuall "night" already, it was 11.30 pm!).
We ferryglided to the other side, but just to find the left eddy side too dangerous, blocked with roks to sneak up safely. I ferryglided again in heavy waters to the right harbour entrance wall, and luckily made it, scratching alongside the big rocks near the harbour wall up in the narrow eddy.

Greg obviously didn´t see me being already successfull on the right side, and was sitting in the middle of the race for a while paddling like hell, trying to get around the blocking rocks to the left side again. I already climbed up my wall side to look out for him, hoping he was doing well! I saw him paddling, paddling...eventuall he made it up on the left side, and saw me later waving on the rocks of the other side!

After a short radio communication he ferryglided again paddling hard up to my side, and eventually we were both able to sneak up the eddy to the actual harbour.

It was 1 am, we were pretty exhausted from the long, tough and eventful day.

But as it is Iceland, no problem to camp on a meadow just close to the harbour, and falling asleep instantly until 10 am next day, really appreciating that predicted day offdue to strong winds!
A pool session, internet and shoppimg filled today, Monday.

We'll see how long we have to stay this time weatherbound...the tough, challenging stretch of the long, sandy beach is waiting!

3 Comments:

Blogger Kayak-QP said...

wonderful to check in to your exciting adventure, I have been off line a while and catching up. wow, what a hard trip, I'm tired just reading this!
peace&luv -KQP

9:32 nachm., Juli 06, 2007  
Blogger Michael said...

I'm staying at Rick & Chris's cabin in Eastport, NL at the moment, enjoying reading your blog. Sounds like a wild time, just your kind of paddling! Take care of yourselves, keep it fun!
Michael

6:31 nachm., Juli 08, 2007  
Blogger Neil Burgess said...

Hi guys,
I am amazed at the distances you are paddling each and every day on the water. You two are strong and tough! Good luck with the south coast.

Isabelle and I just got back from a 6-day paddling trip in western Notre Day Bay, Newfoundland. Wonderful trip.

The gang in Newfoundland are following your progress with great interest.

Many of us are now padling with our Greenland paddles full-time, thanks to Greg's teaching.

Happy paddling!
Neil

6:40 nachm., Juli 09, 2007  

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