SO, HAVE YOU GIVEN UP?
This is the question, which already popped up. Have we given up? We landed by the lighthouse Alvidruhamrar in Alftaver on Wednesday. After a very windy night on the sand and with very little drinking water left, the shelter and falling rain seemed like the best place on the earth. We knew that the coming weather won’t be great and that we won’t be paddling for few days. We decided not to look at the weather till the following evening.
The forecast did not look good, but it promised, after some high winds, that it will calm down and we will get a chance to continue from Monday onwards.
After the second night in the shelter we decided to walk towards the farms, which we could see in the distance. The forecast was very unsettled, and we wanted to know our options. And this is how we started to live at the Nona and Brynjuhus at Kirkjubaejarklaustur. On the way we stopped at the first farm and explained who we were, what we were doing, and what we would possibly need. We found some amazing people, who helped us to move our kayaks off the beach, and all our stuff to the farm. We won’t be paddling for a while.
Sometimes one may think that it is the paddling or the day to day work of landing, launching, packing, and camping, that is hard on an expedition. In our experience, it is the waiting, the sitting on land and waiting for the wind and sea to become such to allow paddling. The hardest is to keep spirits up, when the weather does everything to bring them down.
We decided to wait. We really wanted to finish our circumnavigation. We wanted to finish the south coast, go to Westman Isles, and continue along the Reykjanes peninsula. We wanted to paddle into Reykjavik. At some point we considered to move via a road west, and continue paddling from there. Then we decided to wait, paddle off where we were, and maybe finish at the Westerman isles.
To take our mind off the waiting we started to help on the farm. It was great. And the weather showed that we may be able to go on Friday, more than a week after our arrival. We went to shop, stocked up on food, as we hoped for long days on the water to cover the distance left.
Friday came, we checked the weather. It changed again, paddling that day was no longer an option. Actually, there wasn’t any prospect of paddling for at least the following five days. It was 21st of July. After nine days of waiting, knowing that we only have nine left, we had to make a decision. And so that day, with heavy heart, our paddling around Iceland finished.
Things change fast here in Iceland. We were wanting to paddle that morning, we were on the way to Reykjavik that evening. It was hard not to feel low and like we failed. We have not. We could finish earlier in Seydisfjordur and take a ferry, or in Höfn to avoid south coast, we would finish on the high after paddling. We didn’t need to finish because we were not able to paddle, it wasn’t due to injury or loss of equipment. We just run out of time.
It was when I was watching Siggi building roof rack for his car to take us to Reykjavik, that I realised how fortunate we were. We have seen amazing things, we lived through some deep experiences, we met many interesting people, who helped us in often unexpected ways. We know one thing for certain, we definitely want to paddle in Iceland again.