It´s Saturday, August 1 and I am still in Neskaupstaður. Tiger is rejuvenated, looking beautiful, ready to go. I´m a little sleep deprived because I´ve been trying to get the blog done and there is neverending socializing (and eating) with my new constantly expanding family. Last night was the beginning of a three day festival which guide books tell tourists to avoid because they turn into mad, drunken weekends. Neskaupstaður is trying to make it more of a family affair. This year for the first time they split the town into four different sections each having a different color. Each section decorates in their color and then on Friday night has a picnic together before marching to the center of town for music and further celebration. Decorations began on Wednesday night and get quite creative... yellow plastic streamers, yellow cups hanging from trees, yellow plastic plates in windows, yellow cut out figures, stuffed figures dressed in yellow (a fisherman mending a net, watering plants, etc), yellow lights, yellow football team jerseys strung as a banner or hanging from trees... Anything, everything yellow. Even the cars have been decorated. The red parade last night was led by a red tractor and had a band playing on the back, while kids in red tshirts hitched a ride balancing on kick scooters.
After the show downtown, the town dispersed to various balls and houses and we went to Ari´s grandparents' house, where hot chocolate and large quantities of waffles with cream and jam were made (and eaten.) We got home at 1:30am.
I still have about two weeks of my time in Iceland missing from the blog, but I am obviously wordy and it takes me time. I think I need to abandon the idea of catching up before I leave here... and actually leave. In short, the last two weeks of paddling were increasingly difficult and much of that was due to my psychological state concerning the weather. I had expectations of "better" weather, and if it wasn´t rain, it was fog, wind, or cold that got the best of me. The seas were also bigger and I was doing longer legs with more unknowns about landing spots.
Thanks to this wonderful week in Neskaupstaður, I am renewed and once again excited about what lies ahead (and particularly excited about paddling a dry boat with a working skeg!! woohoo!! Thank you EVERYONE.)
My next destination is Breiðdalsvik and hopefully there I will meet some paddlers who have some experience with the south coast - the most difficult and dangerous part of the circumnavigation ("You do know that, right?") Then I have under 4 weeks to make my way back to Reykjavik. There is abundant hiking I was hoping to do in this last section as well, but time and weather will determine if that´s possible.