A Little Hearing Loss?

28 02 2013

Thursday night out on the town to see the band, Skálmöld, who came for a show in Hnífsdalur! The Viking / folk metal band is from Reykjavík.  The band’s name is literally translated as Age of Swords and also means “lawlessness”, referring to the Sturlung Era of Icelandic history, when a civil war broke out between the country’s family clans.

The band takes great pride in the lyrics and they are written in Old Icelandic.The band´s lyrical take is ambitious and follows the strict rules of traditional Icelandic poetry.

The band´s lyrics are ambitious and follows the strict rules of traditional Icelandic poetry and use old Icelandic words.

The drummer is from Ísafjörður and always plays shirtless in a kilt! The band originally counted 5 members, all of whom had been formerly active in other bands, not all metal. From day one the band started to lay the groundwork to what would become the bands debut album, Baldur. It was fantastic!!!





The Polar Bear is Back

27 02 2013
The factory trawler Isbjörn (polar bear) is back in port for a few days.

The factory trawler Isbjörn (polar bear) is back in port for a few days.





Eveeeery One is in the Phone Book

26 02 2013

The Icelandic phone book lists everyone by their first names! Then comes the last name, then address, then occupation [to set you apart you from all the other Jón Jónssons of course] and finally the phone number.

With only 320,000 people, it isn't the thickest book.

With only 320,000 people, it isn’t the thickest book.

Everyone is listed by their first names in the phone book because here we call everyone by their first names. No one uses Mr or Mrs. Not even as small children. Your teacher is Gunna. Your friend’s dad is Jón. Your president is Óli. Your Prime Minister is Geir. Your friendly local pop star is Björk. And so on. The best part about Iceland is that even the prime minister is in the phone book!

Fun fact: The phone book has a cartoon on every page [it’s actually a full story]





Domesticated Cod

25 02 2013

Today we visited an aquaculture company operating out of the village of Súðavík. Hraðfrystihúsið – Gunnvör hf (aka HG) is based in Isafjörður. The company also has 3 boats (Pall Palsson, Stefnir, and Julius Geirmundsson) and 150 employees. Their turnover is an amazing $35,000,000 USD! With the decline in the shrimp stocks, HG closed its shrimping factory in 2001 to focus on aquaculture.

HG has about a dozen cod pens in Álftafjördur. In total, the company produces 2,000 tons of farmed cod per year!

We went out to feed the cod and clear the pens of dead fish. HG has about a dozen cod pens in Álftafjördur. In total, the company produces 2,000 tons of farmed cod per year!

Cod production cycle. HF does both the closed cycle (from eggs) and capture based aquaculture.

Cod production cycle. HF does both the closed cycle (from eggs) and capture based aquaculture. Capture based rears 1kg wild caught cod to a 4kg product, extending the quota and increasing profit.

Hello little fishies! There are 60,000 of you!!!

Hello little fishies! There are 60,000 of you!!!

The entirety of the cod gets used, and Súðavík also has a cod liver canning factory.





Konudagur

24 02 2013

Today is Women’s Day!!! People traditionally don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in Iceland, although its popularity is growing. It falls between two other romantic days: January 25 was Bóndadagur (‘Husbands’ Day’), and Konudagur (Woman’s or Wives’ Day).

My present was a beautiful rainbow! Captured from Albertína's apartment window.

My present was a beautiful rainbow! Captured from Albertína’s apartment window.

While Bóndadagur marks the beginning of the old month of Þorri, Konudagur marks the beginning of the month of Góa.In Icelandic there’s a saying: að þreyja þorrann og góuna, which refers to these two months representing the harshest winter period. If people can just stick it out until the end of Góa they have survived winter and can start looking forward to spring. But it already feels like spring, with the temperature in the double digits (“50s” – my Ferinheit friends). This is a false spring and soon we will be plunged back into winter. At least Women’s Day fell on such a fabulous day this year!





French Onion Soup

23 02 2013

This weekend we hosted the second Ægir student association dinner… A Night in Paris. We drew a great crowd, the food was fantastic and overall it was a huge success.

As the sous chef, I had many responsibilities. One was cutting 15 onions... and swimming goggles ensure no tears!

As the Sous Chef, I had many responsibilities. One was cutting 15 onions… and swimming goggles ensure no tears!





A lot of nets in the water

22 02 2013
There are over 100 fishing boats working around the Westfjords this day!

There are over 100 fishing boats working around the Westfjords this day!

This image is from the Marine Traffic webpage (http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/). It is a live ship traffic map! The system is based on AIS (Automatic Identification System). Since December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details.