Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to Ísafjörður

Photos: (1) Beach at Hesteyri; (2) Raft ferrying people to the boat at low tide; (3) "Knitted" tree in Ísafjörður; (4) Ísafjörður bay; (5) Campsite at Hotel Edda

Hesteyri, 9:45am. Today is one of those days where I ask myself why on earth am I doing this. The wind is strong and it’s freezing cold as I’m sitting in the tent waiting for the boat. I think I’m just getting soft as I get older. But I’m sure the world will seem rosier once I’ve had a shower and in no time at all, I’ll be drawn to the trail once again.

I chat with the warden a bit to pass the time, and ask about the weather since this subject always makes for interesting conversation in Iceland. I’m wondering if the boat can travel in this wind and the warden assures me that it’s not a problem. I’ve make a realization on this trip that makes me chuckle. I often ask Icelanders about the weather and they always begin by stating the expected wind speed and direction. The other day in the café, I asked a German lady working there about the weather and she said “oh not too good, it will rain”. That day it drizzled for about 30 minutes but was otherwíse a great day. No one ever mentions temperatures when talking about the weather. I realize now that knowing the wind speed and direction tells a knowledgable person everything they need to know about the weather. I think the warden explained that wind from the north means rain, for example. I’m going to pay more attention to this now. I’ve never been good at reading clouds, although I’ve tried learning how with books, but this method seems easy.

I pack up my tent and head for the dock. It’s low tide and the boat can’t come all the way in, so a rubber raft is ferrying the passengers and their lugage out to the boat. I strike up a conversation with a couple of fellow hikers who I will bump into frequently in the next few days. I’ve learned my lesson, and this time I sit inside the boat at the window. The ride back is beautiful. The waves are really high from the wind and they slosh over the roof of the boat, dousing my window rhythmically. Back in Ísafjörður, I again set up my tent at campsite Hotel Edda. At 800 ISK it’s currently one of the cheapest campsites in Iceland. Most are at least 1000 ISK now. I thoroughly enjoy the hot shower (ISK 300) and then wash my clothes, and later have a beer with the new acquaintances.