Iceland: greener than Greenland and no ice


The passage from Greenland to Iceland was a fast one since we had a thirty knot tail wind for most of the way on account of the storm system that was hot on our tail. Luckily we managed to duck into the sheltered harbour of Isafjordur on the northwest before the worst of it hit. The passage was a little grim due to the steel grey skies and as usual we were weary when we finally sighted land. However the welcome sight of cliffs on the horizon was accompanied by a pod of over one hundred white-beaked dolphins that gave us a fantastic escort into the harbour. Our welcoming squad proceeded to leap and flip on all sides of the boat and to ride beneath the prow of the yacht with one eye on Leonie as the laughed and waved at these friendly beasts.

On a serious note, we were again astonished by the lack of sea ice over the entire arctic leg of the voyage. We did have to duck and weave between some icebergs as we left Greenland behind us, but this time we encountered no sea ice at all on a leg that is notorious for being choked with ice. It is easy to form erroneous opinions when you just get a snap shot of the long term picture … you can hardly call a state of emergency just because one yacht sails through an eerily ice-free arctic ocean. But then again if you collate the long term satellite records it is clear that the arctic truly is in a rapid state of change. The National Snow and Ice Data Centre shows that this year is the lowest ice year on record and we are still not even at the annual ice minimum. Scary times indeed and while the effect here is undeniable, this change is something that will affect the entire world. Time to start thinking of the future of the planet each time we fill up Widdershins with diesel!

For now however, we are exploring a new land – here are rugged cliffs and high hills dusted by snow from the recent storm system. There is also green field in the low lands and even the first trees we have seen since leaving Norway! Such a nice change to sit under a tree (albeit a rather stunted specimen) watching people stroll down the street and not have to carry a rifle around as protection from bears!

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