Driver is at fault

31 07 2013

Almost 20 sheep, mostly lambs, were hit by cars in the West Fjords last week. This is  worst week in the region concerning sheep fatalities caused by traffic accidents so far this summer. The police in Ísafjörður  are regularly contacted because of traffic accidents involving sheep. However, in spite of their frequency and occasional damage of cars, there have been no injuries to people.

Sheep roam freely in Iceland in the summer and the roads in the West Fjords are not fenced off. If you hit and kill a lamb, you must contact the farmer (based on the ear tag) and pay for the loss. So just slow down!

Sheep roam freely in Iceland in the summer and the roads in the West Fjords are not fenced off. If you hit and kill a lamb, you must contact the farmer (based on the ear tag) and pay for the loss. So just slow down!

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Dinghy Class!

30 07 2013
Today the wind was swift so Maik invited me to take out a sailboat with him. It was great fun to whip around the pollurinn.

Today the wind was swift so Maik invited me to take out a sailboat with him. It was great fun to whip around the pollurinn. The water was warmer than the air and we wore wetsuits because it was an open boat – luckily since we capsized twice!

This is not us, but almost exactly. Maik taught me how to jibe and huge. Not only did we use the foresail and mainsail... but I got to take over the spinnaker (yellow sail here).

This is not us, but almost exactly. Maik taught me how to jib and jib. Not only did we use the foresail and mainsail… but I got to take over the spinnaker (yellow sail here). And WOW… we flew.

 





Drifting From Siberia

29 07 2013

Driftwood is an important resource in Iceland where native forests are composed largely of short-statured birch (Betula spp.) and willow (Salix spp.) with the occasional emergent rowan (Sorbus accuparia). Driftwood is most common along the north coast of Iceland where currents from the Arctic carry and deposit logs that originate in Siberia. The key driftwood species that arrive in Iceland include larch (Larix sp.), spruce (Picea sp.) and pine (Pinus spp.), a journey that takes approximately five years. Much of the driftwood originates from forests along Siberian rivers but some wood, particularly pine, comes from logs lost from timber rafts during transport after harvest.

After a five year journey, driftwood from Russian Siberia washes up along certain Icelandic shorelines.

After a five year journey, driftwood from Russian Siberia washes up along certain Icelandic shorelines, while others are barren.

Driftwood has been used for centuries in Iceland as fuel and as construction material for boats, houses,  fish drying racks and fences - as seen here.

Driftwood has been used for centuries in Iceland as fuel and as construction material for boats, houses, fish drying racks and fences – as seen here.

 





Icelandic Bonfire

28 07 2013

It was a little bit too big for roasting marshmallows… and ironically began on the same day as the 1987 church fire.

Amazingly, this fire contained a sofa and the better part of an old garage! Of course it appears to be in the middle of the day - but even at midnight, this is as dark as it gets.

Amazingly, this fire contained a sofa and the better part of an old garage! Of course it appears to be in the middle of the day – but even at midnight, this is as dark as it gets. And nobody could get close because it threw so much heat!





A sad day in the past

27 07 2013

On 16 August in 1863, the church in Ísafjörður was opened for the first Sunday mass. It was built by the then pastor, Rev. Hálfdán Einarsson and his son, Einar Hálfdánsson, a carpenter who had settled from Copenhagen. The church was the traditional 19 century style but was beautiful and large, based on the humble country churches of the time. The base of the church was 12.5 × 8 m and a height of 5 m below the eaves.

This was a tragic sight for residents of Ísafjörður.

This was a tragic sight for residents of Ísafjörður.

Although it was a calm morning, the old church could not be saved.

Although it was a calm morning, the old church could not be saved by the firemen.

On 27 July 1987, Ísafjarðarkirkju caught fire, which had originated in the electrical installations of the Church. There was a large amount of damage. The old church was very dear to all locals. Where people have had their moments of joy with baptisms, confirmations and weddings, and also said goodbye for the last time until their loved ones and neighbors. However, it was decided to build a new church, rather than attempt to restore the old one. The new church was ready in 1995.

The new church seats up to 500 and is the site of many town events. Its curved roofs mimic the waves of the ocean.

The new church seats up to 500 and is the site of many town events. Its curved roofs mimic the waves of the ocean.





Summer Livin’

26 07 2013
P1060627

A midnight view toward Skálavík from the summer house of Hákon’s family.





Ghostly

25 07 2013

Wandering around two abandoned herring factories was a bit erie! One has been completely left to the elements, while the other was the stage for Sigur Rós.

This herring factory at Ingólfsfjörður was in operation for only 10 years before it was abandoned. It was left to the elements and now sits below the fog.

Underneath the fog, this herring factory sits alone. It was opened at Ingólfsfjörður in 1942, but  was in operation for only 10 years before it was abandoned.

The first economic boom began in 1934 when the Norwegians established several herring factories in the area. The production lines set in motion in 1935 when the first boats sailed into the bay with their holds full of herring. Catches were almost unlimited, bringing a high turnover that led to rapid success. When the herring factory at Djúpavík was completed, it was the largest concrete building in Iceland at the time. It still stands today, 90m long on three levels.

When the herring industry was at its height in the mid-1940s, several hundred people lived in this remote outpost, women salting the fish, men turning the remains into animal meal and oil. The factory floor was filled with modern machinery for processing herring to produce fishmeal and oil. The oil was filtered in a series of six separators to extract the water and then stored in large heated tanks outside the factory, with a capacity of 5,600 tons. A production process of this kind had never been used in Iceland at that time.

The factory in Djúpavík went bankrupt in 1955 following a disastrous collapse in fish catches, but the enormous costs involved in demolishing the building – once the largest concrete structure in Europe – means that its hulking hollow shell remains.

The old herring factory at Djúpavík has a permenant exhibit and tours. Now it features the exhibition, STEYPA (‘concrete’), consists of images—accompanied in some cases by text, drawings and sound—from seven photographers from Iceland and abroad.

The old herring factory at Djúpavík has a permanent exhibit and tours. Now it features the exhibition, STEYPA (‘concrete’), consists of images—accompanied in some cases by text, drawings and sound—from seven photographers from Iceland and abroad.

Yep, this is also the home of the concrete oil drum where Sigur Rós (well, Jonsi) and Amiina played GitardjammI for the movie Heima in 2006.

More information at: http://www.djupavik.com/en_herringfactory.php

It is also hightly suggeted to grab a coffee and cake at Hotel Djúpavík.