Kayaking: In the Best and Worst of Weather!

10 09 2012

Within days of arriving in town I discovered Sæfari Ísafirði, the local kayaking club. And I have since gone out two times with them on their Sunday morning paddles. The first could not have been more spectacular and the second was less than ideal.

When I woke up last weekend, I could not figure out why I was in such high spirits. After eating breakfast in the sunroom, it finally occurred to me that the SUN was out. The few days prior and almost every day since have been some combination of clouds, rain, and sleet. This break in weather also meant the harbor was flat and calm. A perfect day for 16 paddlers from seven countries to head out for a 2.5 hour lap around the fjord.

A view from the drivers seat! Clear skies, blue water, and bare mountains.

The water was clear to the bottom and I could see tons of algae, starfish, and barnacles. Some parts of the fjord are very shallow while others are deep, dredged for the cruise ships and large shrimpers. The habitat sustains up to 15 seals and this day a very curious one came right up to us!

This guy is a harbour seal (Phoca vitulina). They the most abundant seal around Iceland. And can be found all around the country but is rarer in the northern part. They are coastal, non- migratory, and aggregate in small numbers on skerries, small islands, and also on beaches and in estuaries. This is a rather small seal and can reach a maximum of 2 m in length.

Yesterday I awoke to blustery wind and rain. Great. I bundled up and went anyways. Sæfari Ísafirði is very well equipped and I knew that no one goes out in less than proper gear. There were 4 of us, and three were locals. I was the only novice. They set me up with a wetsuit, dry jacket, kayak pogies, and neoprene boots.

Completely hard core. Mission accomplished… I was never cold at all!

The guys kept telling me that the wind was 15-20 meters per second. And I was like, cool sounds good! But I thought, what is m/sec anyways? It is around 35-40mph. I had no idea what I got myself into! Even the harbor was rough, with big gusts and whitecaps. After rowing and sculling I am not afraid of many open water activities, but this had me uneasy. And I just kept following and following, and was very much relieved when we turned around and got a tail wind back to the dock. These guys are top quality, they decided to do some rolls and recoveries before we finished for the day.

The guy on the left is doing a roll drill. Notice the snow capped fjords! This is nearly the same vantage point as the first image.




One response

10 09 2012

Oh and today our teacher could not arrive because of high winds. This is one of the most treacherous airports in the country! FREE DAY!!!!

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