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East fjords

For one and half days have we enjoyed what the town of Neskaupstadur had to offer. For our needs it was more than enough. Firstly we were welcomed by Ari from local kayak club and were offered to stay in their building. It was an important stop for us, as Gudni kindly sent here a box with the few things that we could not fit in the boat in Reykjavik, mainly our last bottle, of whisky, the Laphroig. Once that is finished, we will be on our own. Other facilities in the town were the pool, the shop, the Vinbudin and a two cafes. In one short sentence: electricity, wifi, warm water, entertainment. Once the weather allowed us to paddle again we were off, the east fjords this time. We paddled for three days, and watched the road go by. It reminded me of someone having traced a hand on paper. Each headland being a finger. Only this hand had more than five fingers. I imagined the cars going up around and inside to go up and around again. Every time a car appeared at the corner of the headland, I sympathised with them for they must have looked what’s next and see the road on the other side of the fjord knowing that sooner of later, they would have to go on the other side. They had our sympathy, as every time we crossed a fjord and reached a headland, there was another one or two sticking out waiting for us.

In the same time, we enjoyed the east fjords, we had all weather: rain, sun, fog, wind. The hills, peaks, and mountains looked different, colours ranged from green to grey, brown, cream, white and black. We paddled past islands and skerries, and landed on some. The swell was playfully breaking over the reefs around us making it harder to land, but inviting Michal to play. Sadly with fully loaded expedition boat he could not really. We’re hoping to be back one day.

Although the headlands may have merged into one in our memory, one was more important than the others. The Gerpir has been the most eastern point of Iceland, and we have stayed in the bay of Sandvik in its shadow, in a very cosy emergency hut.

The other outstanding memory would be, that we also got to use our VHF, well only me, but in a situation! We were crossing Rayðarfjord and could hear a boat from a distance. It was a rather large boat and was approaching fast. We thought is would be going straight out between the two island, one of each side of the fjord. We stopped with one of them behind us thinking that it would not go through that island. The boat was turning slightly, then it was aiming right at us approaching, as they do, quite fast. Feeling like the rabbit in front of headlights I reached for my radio hoping that it is working. Fortunately they heard us, said they could see us, and are only turning to go between the island and mainland. We calmed, and resumed our paddling further south.

Paddling close to road has its benefits, as we landed close to a lighthouse on the east side of Lónsvík next to the Hvalnes lighthouse. Its proximity makes it probably one of the most visited here in Iceland by most of those circumnavigating via the Highway no. 1.

For us it meant that since it was blowing strongly against us today, we could hitch hike to Höfn to go shopping, to the pool, and for electricity and coffee. As now, we have to be more strategic in our paddling in order to make it along the south coast safely.

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