Iceland by the sea
Bruce Goodlad flew away to Iceland where the country has had a record-breaking snowpack. Here is a blog post written by himself for you to live his journey from the inside.
Iceland has so much potential for exploration on ski it is hard to know where to begin. A few years ago I had flown over the North West Fjords in a Twin Otter on my way back from Greenland and though the hills looked amazing. Finally, the opportunity came to visit when our friends in the Yacht Destiny decided to spend the winter in Iceland and offered to look after us while we explored the peninsula at the North of Isafjordur. Our plan was to fly from Reykjavik to Isafjordur and join the boat there, like so many plans fate played a hand. With the wind howling, we got a text from Air Iceland saying our flights were cancelled so our options were to wait and see if the flight went the next day (it didn’t) or hire a car and hit the road. A few calls later and we were heading north in 4x4 rammed with skis, kit and people. The drive was pretty mellow apart from one section with complete white out driving post to post before we dropped down and followed endless fjords until Destiny’s mast appeared standing proud above Isafjordur’s harbor.
The gales carried on the next day with all flights cancelled and the road we had driven over the day before being closed we had made the right decision. The wind was too strong for sailing but not to strong to keep us on the boat so we skinned into the gale to get a few turns above the village then a drive round the coast to find a rustic hot tub. The team described it as a hot water cattle trough, while the body was warm the head was kept cool by the driving snow.
The wind died over night and we crossed the fjord to Hesteyrarfjordur and skinned up Svinafell, while the visibility was poor the snow was great giving some wonderful powder turns high up that gave way to spring snow back to the beach.
Having persevered the weather gods were kind to use, we woke the next day to clear sky’s, we were quickly skinning towards the col at the head of the fjord which led to a wonderful north facing valley with some soft snow and incredible views north to open ocean. With the skins back on we climbed Vatnalautafjoll then skied down into Veidileysurfjordur. The boat had sailed round and was waiting to pick us off the beach.
A cosy anchorage at the head of the fjord gave access to another great traverse with Destiny sailing round to meet us, this became the pattern of our week traversing between the 4 major fjords that make up the south side of this fantastic peninsula. All to soon it was the last day we tried to ski a peak at the head of Hrafnfjordur but the wind beat us back, the wind that beat us back on the mountain became a blessing when back on the boat. We hoisted the sails and headed downwind at 8 knots heading for Isafjordur.
As we reached across the fjord with an hour to run we spotted some water spouts as we sailed over to investigate the wind died and a family of Orca’s joined us swimming round the boat. The sight of these magnificent creatures was a fitting end to an amazing week in NW Iceland.
Words: Bruce Goodlad