Yes, this is the frist swimming pool I went to in Iceland and after a week of no showers, it was absoultely wonderful. The slide added to the fun and sitting in the hottub, I could see why this is a regular practice of Icelanders. How wonderful to sit in warmth no matter what the outside weather is...
Greetings from Iceland!
I am experiencing my first day off from paddling in this beautiful little city of 1230 people. I´m feeling the pressure of little internet time and so much to say... I´'m not sure I will be able to make many updates to this blog myself, especially as I head into the West Fjords and an even smaller chance of encountering computers.
I´m sure most of what I have to say here is cliche, but some of that is difficult to escape. I´m sure it is no news to anyone that the landscape is fantastically stunning. It simply dominates my experience. I am gradually finding my way back into a cherished life of simplicity of eating, sleeping, breaking and setting up camp, and kayaking. There´s ocassional reading, writing, and simply sitting...
What I found most surprising at first was my incredibly slow progress. I started off slowly in many senses... having not paddled much in the last few months, I´ve eased into this with 4-5 hour paddling days to start. First few days I was catching up on sleep from the last few weeks. It also took me nearly 3 hours to launch - lugging boat and gear down the beach - and where did I fit that last time..? I need to eat more food - get rid of some of this weight! I indeed have a very heavy boat and realize that I took enough food at first to last me at least a month. I would not be surprised if I still have some of this food when I (hopefully) return to Reykjavik in (hopefully) August.
The weather has been phenomenal and I´ve been very lucky. However, that said, I will add that every day has been a mild fight against current or wind until yesterday when I had my fist tail wind (woohoo! - What a difference!) I also am a self-procalimed cold whimp and yes, I knew this before coming to Iceland... but... this affects my paddling time each day. I´m comfortable (for the most part) when I´m paddling, but I cannot stop for more than 2-3 minutes on the water before I feel the cold creeping in. Must keep moving!!! These minutes are usually pumping water from the cockpit (yes, i´m leaking a little), getting 2-3 bites of food, or adjusting glove or hat situation. The idea of landing and stopping for a meal in my wet clothes (yes, drysuit is leaking a bit too) for 15 minutes + is unfathomable. The idea of stopping and changing clothes, etc. makes it easily a 2 + hour stop - might as well set up camp for the night. The 10-12 hour paddling days I imagined do not seem likely. 8-9 hour days are probably my limit and that of course will depend on conditions. We´ll see if this changes with time.
Once, I´ve camped I also have a tendency to wish to dry out before I begin my day. Depending on rain, etc. this usually doesn´t happen till post 11am. This has led to many days of starting to paddle at 3, 4, or even 5pm. Having the sun here 24 hours is a godsend and probably makes this entire trip possible for me considering my lazy, unconventional schedule. Still, at about 9-11pm, I can feel the temperature drop and the later I set up camp the more uncomfortable it is.
For the most part my paddling consists of pure wonderment. Disbelief that I am here.
Time is losing meaning and I can´t believe it´s already been a week. It will likely be difficult to finish this venture on time. Nevertheless, I hope to continue to benefit from good weather and gradually up my mileage per day. (Nancy - I don´t have mileage per day, etc.. but example of last few days... Thursday night I was in Hellnar, Friday in Skarðsvik, Saturday, close to Akurtraðir.)
Thanks for all the support and help along the way!
Now I´m soon off to a much needed shower, hopefully a little hike up Helgafell, some reading (I´m down to 6 books) and a good night´s sleep. Tomorrow I will paddle towards Flatey and the West Fjords.
Safe and happy paddling (and living) to all!