Husavik was an interesting stopover. When we arrived, there was another sailboat! A red steel ketch from Austria, called La Belle Epoque. Waiting for a weather window (or rather an ice window) to sail to Scoresby Sound in Greenland. Just a tempting 250 miles away to the Northwest. Juergen and Claudia Kirchberger, www.fortgeblasen.at. Well, they've overwintered in Greenland on the boat before and been through the Northwest Passage. They know. Next arrived a Norwegian singlehander. 15 meter boat, bullet proof, closed cockpit, all built by himself. Waiting for a weather window to sail to Jan Mayen, the mystery volcanic island just a tempting 250 miles away to the North. The handbook says chances are not good that he'll be able to go ashore because there is no harbor, just never-ending swells. But it's so close - so why not? It seems all so easy and tempting when you're already here! Yes, we've arrived in the land of adventure sailing.

But Husavik is also the first place we've been to in Iceland where there are tourists! They get clad in bright green/black water and windproof gear, stuffed on RIBs or traditional looking ex fishing boats and go whale watching. After all, Husavik is the whale capital of Iceland. Not sure they see any whales but they're excited and the economy is bustling. And there is always the whale museum. And there are stores where you can buy stuff! Dave and I went off to the local hardware store to buy a solid plank - 5 meters long, 30 cm high and 5 cm thick - to use as a fender board. With the help of an electric saw we borrowed from Juergen, we cut it in half and Kincsem is now well prepared for the infamous tire clad harbor walls of Iceland! If we were to dock on those walls without a fender board, we'd end up with black streaks up and down the beautiful topsides of Kincsem - unacceptable! We also hired a car and went touristing ourselves - Deltifoss, Myvaten, the works, all very impressive. I liked the geothermal powerplant of Krafla the best.

Husavik was also a crew change place. The brave crew who conquered Iceland, Dave, Owen and Tobias left and our old friends Richie and Siobhan from American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, joined Kincsem. Next stop: Grimsey, the island just North of Husavik. It is the most northerly place in Iceland and has a monument to mark the Artic Circle - unfortunately, the circle has moved North since it was built and the monument is now superfluous. But Grimsey is home to phantastic cliffs full of birds and a strenuous hike got us to see one of them. We'd seen puffins before but not this close - what a great experience!



Can I come please? I can't find my mom!

We were in a hurry because another blow was coming and we were looking at at least 2 days of strong upwind conditions (Northwest winds) starting July 3. So by that day, we wanted to get to a bay protected from the Northwest, more to the West and closer to the Horn of Iceland, Nordurfjordur. We asked the man who had taken our lines when we docked where we could pay the harbor dues. His response was: the harbor master is on the mainland right now, so you just leave without paying! Well, Iceland is not made for people who are in a hurry. The sole restaurant - run by the kind man who took our lines - was closed for breakfast and the sole store - where Siobhan wanted to get and send some post cards - was closed until the ferry docks - hours after we were to be on our way to the next port.

So on we sailed - or rather motored, because it was foggy and there was no wind. Later in the day, the wind filled in from the North and the fog dissipated. Next stop: Olafsvik, a beautifully situated little town and fishing harbor. There's a little cafÁ© run by two French speaking women with a terrace just perfectly situated to soak up the afternoon sun ..... There's also a French baker who stops by daily to sell his wares at the cafÁ© ....

The next day, cape after cape passed in the distance - all with snow covered mountains.

Around the coast here there is an area greyed out on the chart - not surveyed. So although we saw fishing vessels go into those areas, we stayed outside away from the coast since we had no way of knowing whether there water there was 100, 10 or 1 m deep. Nordurfjordur turned out to be a scenic place, with a restaurant and a little store and the bay was surveyed! This is a staging area for hikers who want to explore the Hornstrandir Nature Preserve where there are no roads. They even have a small thermal bath a mile or so up the road, which made for a nice little hike.

Nordurfjordur stop over

There is Cape Horn in Tierra del Fuego in South America and then there's the Horn here in Iceland. Although it is much less well known than the "real" Cape Horn, the Horn of Iceland has a bad reputation as well. It is an immense block of lava with craggy peaks which serves as the nesting ground for huge numbers of seabirds and is the home of some arctic foxes. We were lucky to pass it with little wind or swell so we could get close in - we even dared to go into the uncharted area around it albeit with the forward looking sonar and and at very low speed. We anchored just around the Horne, in Hornvik, which is open to the winds and swells from the North all the way to Spitzbergen, some 1000 miles away. We had planned well, however; the wind and swells were negligible and we spent a quiet night. No arctic foxes in sight, unfortunately.

The Horn of Iceland

Hornvik anchorage


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