Bluejay arrives in Iceland – trip highlights from the crew
Posted in : Bluejay
The emotional journey of this relatively brief ocean journey was almost as varied as the passage itself. Getting used to sleeping in a short-windowed watch system wasn’t too different to getting used to hoisting a Yankee whilst clipped on and at a 30deg heel; frustrating and tough to begin with, but after 2 days, neither was quite as stressful as you thought it was going to be! Elation at finally getting celestial sights from an EP reduced to be within 8nm of the GPS position came as a welcome juxtaposition to the seeming endlessness of the somewhat windless downwind legs of the second and fourth days. But what brought the whole journey together for me was the way a whole group of people (having only known each other for 6 days) came together to become not only team mates reliant on one another for survival (and delicious food), but also a kind of family. Magic stuff. Tom
Kittiwakes followed us the whole way. Never landing on the yacht, they circled the boat as a reference point in pursuit of one another in an otherwise wide open and empty ocean. And then the wind picks up and what you witness is an unquestionable joy of flight. They dive, swoop, stall and skim the water, catching the gusts to lift and arc. There couldn’t be a better lesson in the pleasure to be taken in simple existence. Truly uplifting.
Our ocean passage began on departure from Reine in the Loføten islands in Norway and culminated in landfall at Nordfjordhur, Iceland. The 5-day crossing went from sleep to watch, to sleep to watch with a little bit of delicious feeding in between. Weather patterns changed from a good stiff breeze with Yankee, staysail and main sail driving us across the ocean at a brisk 10knts to a complete millpond with kittiwakes dancing around us with smiles on their beaks. Iceland emerged from the clouds as per our landfall lesson. Rock masses created by extreme geological forces guided us to the fjord and the town jetty where we moored up to hide from the worsening weather. Skipper Patrick and Mate Alex patiently guided and coaxed us in all facets of our ocean passage. It was great fun!
As I write this blog a cold wind is funnelling and whistling through Nordfjordhur in Iceland. It is a foreboding and intimidating place with steep craggy mountains and isolated houses. Tents near the shoreline and other camping equipment highlight that it is summer here…….apparently. There were moments of glorious sailing today, with a force 5 wind and waves almost on the beam. The boat was practically singing an aria when she found her groove, sailing with perfectly trimmed sails; it was a joy and privilege to helm her in these conditions and waters.
The customs officer is aboard the boat now, whilst some crew members are walking round with their foulies around their waists and ankles, and others still being chatted up by Icelandic men – all before we have stepped ashore. Exciting times are afoot over our next few days in Iceland……..