Monday, July 04, 2016

That's why Jim's gone to Iceland!

Reykjavik is the gateway to the frozen shores on my trips to East Greenland and I have spent many happy days wandering around the beautiful city. On each of my visits I become more and more curious about the paddling this intriguing country has to offer.

I was invited by Magnus Sigurjonsson to help him out with some guided sea kayaking trips offered by Arctic Adventures.

The first trip was started in the sleepy fishing town called Stikkisholmur. Our team was a group of American school children. Most of them had not paddled before and some had never been camping. We paddled to a remote island, and made camp whilst Magnus' partner, Ellen cooked a huge pot tasty stew with beef and pasta. Later, I sat on a north-facing cliff to watch the sun go down. It such a long time that I went to bed before sunset.

After our overnighter, we said goodbye to our American friends and the brief spell of good weather. Heavy rain and strong winds tugged at the trailer as we made our way back to Reykjavik. We didn't see the sun for another three days...

In the meantime, we took a group of tourists on a short paddle in a sheltered Fjord called Hvalfjordur. This is a deep fjord gouged out by glaciers during the las ice-age. Tabletop mountains rise from the sea to over 1000 metres. The misty, drizzle weather gave this place a haunted and mysterious feel.


The next day the weather showed signs of improving so we made the most of the day off by doing some tourism of our own. We did what is known as 'The Golden Circle. Spreading tectonic plates at
├×ingvellir, spectacular eruptions of boiling water at Geysir and the thundering waterfalls at Gullfoss kept us entertained all day. We finished off with a visit to the deep, flooded volcanic crater at Keri├░.

On my final day Magnus, Ellen and me visited the place where the local paddling club have their base. Kayakklubburinn is on an isthmus beach just to the north of Reykjavik. We paddled from there around the nearby island of Vi├░ey. The bird life and scenery was amazing with Eider, redshank, oystercatchers and terns.

It was a fantastic week full of adventures. Many thanks to Magnus and Ellen for their lovely company, delicious food and for making me so welcome in their homes. I'll definitely be back very soon.

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