North and East Iceland

 Messenger on the pier at Dalvik, Iceland

Messenger on the pier at Dalvik, Iceland

Once we left the Westfjords our next stop was Dalvík, which sits at the entrance to the long fjord that leads to Akureyri. As we exited the harbor the wind died so Jay and the girls started fishing off the boat. Each time they threw the hook they caught a cod, it's amazing how rich in fish the waters are around Iceland. We sailed for 36 hours from Hornvik to Dalvík, not so much of a fun passage since it rained most of the time. When we arrived in Dalvík there were no other sailboats but as we walked down the long pier we asked the first person we encountered where the public pool was, he tried explaining it but as soon as he realized it was harder to explain than to drive us there he offered to take us, which after a long and wet sail we accepted gladly. It was our experience during our 9 month stay in Iceland that giving directions is not a forte for Icelanders. The pool at Dalvík was a haven. After feeling nice and clean we walked to the library which shares a space with a lovely café. The two things we are always most in need of when we arrive to port are a shower and wifi connection.

The next morning was a beautiful sunny day and we set sail down the fjord towards Akureyri but as we entered deeper into the fjord the wind began to die down. It ended up taking us longer than we anticipated and when we arrived we realized we had no idea where to go, no one was answering on the VHF and of course the wind picked up making it difficult to go in and out of harbors and jetties to figure out where to berth our boat, it was the middle of the night so we didn’t want to phone our friend there to ask. After 2 hours we finally went along a pier in the easiest place for us to do so under sail, by chance we ended up only a couple blocks from our friends house, so it was perfect.

Chicas
 Dísa pulling up a turnip from her community garden. A normal "school day" for Caribe.

Dísa pulling up a turnip from her community garden. A normal "school day" for Caribe.

The next day our friend Dísa came by with her son Jón, she toke us into her home where we shared meals, did loads of laundry and of course enjoyed her wifi connection while our daughters played with her daughter Ebba. While in Akureyri we took care of business: did lots of shopping and worked on our website. I had heard so much about this city, the second largest one in Iceland, that I think my expectations exceeded reality or perhaps our hearts had already fallen in love with a city in Iceland so there was no more room for another one. Anyway, I did think it was a lovely place. Dísa has a community garden where she grows her own vegetables during the summer, I loved the idea and going there to pick lettuce right before dinner time was such a treat, I don’t think I had ever had such a fresh tossed salad before. We also tried minke whale for the first time, it was grilled and very good. We enjoyed the public pool there which is quite large with many slides for kids and Jay got to sail a Laser with Jón, which he hadn’t done since we left Newport, RI.

During our stay in Akureyri the television channel N4 came out to the boat to interview us, the reporter and camera man were both very young and enthusiastic.

Jay
 Jens steering us to port under tow.

Jens steering us to port under tow.

We left Akureyri late one night to sail 206 nm to Seydisfjördur, on the far west corner of Iceland. The sail out the long fjord was a spinnaker run on a calm and sunny day, we were all able to spend time on deck, it was a very enjoyable passage. We phoned Jens (CEO of ISNIC, our sponsor) on our approach to Seydisfjördur, he had just flown in from Reykjavík to meet us at our last destination in Iceland. As we sailed into the fjord he was driving out of it to meet us, as he waved to us from shore the wind died at which point he phoned us asking Captain Jay how he felt if he found a boat to give us a tow. Messenger had never been towed before, we have always just waited for the wind to return, it always has, if anything it has taught our children the true meaning of patience. Jay didn’t mind a tow and about 30 minutes later a large rib was headed towards us aboard was Jens and 2 guys from the rescue team, 2 brothers who grew up in a farm with 60 sheep, 20 horses and 30 chickens, these guys looked like true vikings, they where huge despite being quite young. They came along side and Jens hoped onboard, it was an honor to hand him the tiller to steer us to port while the rescue team towed us in. When we asked Jens how he got them to come out and tow us he plainly said “I told them I had made dinner reservations and needed the guests of honor, the Coconuts, to make it”. They laughed and deemed it a good enough excuse to “come to the rescue”, this sums up the spirit of this quiet town.

Seydisfjördur receives the ferry which comes from Denmark via the Faroe Islands and because of this it has developed into a touristy town where busses heard tourist off the ferry to Egilsstadir, the next town over where there is an airport with flights to Reykjavík and busses that branch out to the rest of Iceland. One day we toke the bus to Egilsstadir for some shopping at the large grocery store Bonus, knitting and hardware stores and found it eerily touristic.

ChicasMuecas

Seydisfjördur is a town with lots of artists, it feels on the verge of having a cosmopolitan vibe but not quite there yet, maybe in a few more years. The fjord is surrounded by mountains on all sides with rivers and creeks all around flowing down them, we hiked up to several during our stay and we found in the middle of nowhere an artists structure where if you went inside it made for nice acoustics, there the girls sang away. We enjoyed the local pool, found laundry services at the campsite and wifi in a nice café where artists hangout.

Our good weather window to sail from Iceland to the Faroe Islands opened up on a sunday Saturday when we pushed off the pier. Farewell Iceland, until we met again!