Journey to the Centre of the World

Sailing Towards Olafsvik

Snaefell Jokull seen when sailing home from Reykjavik

Descend into the crater of Yocul of
Sneffels, Which the shade of Scartaris
Caresses, Before the kalends of July
Audacious traveller, And you will
Reach the centre of the earth. I did it.
Arne Saknussemm.

So we are now moored on the tyre wall at the base of Snaefell Jokull. Our long warps are weighted by my splendid bronze chum and a water carrier to compensate for the large tides. Snaefell is the volcano in Jules Vernes tale “Journey to the Centre of the World”. It is still regarded as one of the great “power centres” of the world. I suppose as we didn’t get to Greenland the centre of the world be a reasonable substitute.
Thembi stopped of at Patreksfjordur and are now on their way to join us so I am looking forward to their tales of the ice closing in around them and killer whales. They, of course it goes without saying, climbed a little mountain yesterday. Hopefully we will climb Snaefell tomorrow.
Today we are having a relaxing day pottering about. We have just had a swim and hot tub. Every Icelandic village has a great swimming pool and a hot tub so it makes cruising here rather civilised. The Icelanders are always very kind and helpful. When my credit card didn’t work in the ATM they invited me in to the bank, gave me coffee, and spent half an hour on the phone trying to repair the machine. OK, they never got it to work but it was an impressive effort. Despite being in one of the “power centres of the world” there is a power cut now. The big Iceland Geothermal Company is in financial trouble, maybe they have decided to stop making electricity.
Now that I am outnumbered by women on the Good Ship Sumara I am getting concerned about the amount of “girlie talk”. I may have to ration it if it doesn’t get under control soon. Charlotte has been to the chemist to try to buy some nail varnish remover. Surely she realises we are on an expedition. If she needs acetone it should be bought in 5 litre cans under the pretence we are using it to soak some engine parts otherwise all our creditability will be lost.
A gale warning has just come in on the Furuno Navtex from Greenland giving 15 metres per second for the area where we would have been had we continued on to Greenland. 15m/s is a force seven – “Sea heaps up, white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks” according to Beaufort. Add to that the latest Danish Ice Chart which had the ice closing in and getting more compact and throw in dense fog for good measure and I think you will agree that our decision to retreat was a sound one.
But we have the charts, the ice poles and the rifle plus a lot more knowledge. Already plans are forming up for another attempt in a few years time. Charlotte is very keen on trying the inland waterway route between Murmansk and St Petersburg. So maybe we could visit Greenland in August when the ice will be clearer, over winter in Iceland, then head off to the North Cape and down the waterways to St Petersburg and winter again in Sweden. Oh dear, I really must stop all this. What’s wrong with Salcombe?

8 responses to “Journey to the Centre of the World”

  1. John ans Selma avatar
    John ans Selma

    John and I have been talking about Greenland and agree it is one still to be concerned. the Halsall will be there and part of it, be assured. We are thinking about you constantly, so glad to have John back though. Worried about all this girlie talk however and agree that something must be done…
    love to all

    1. John ans Selma avatar
      John ans Selma

      meant to read conquered not concerned, although I am concerned too!

  2. John and Selma avatar
    John and Selma

    Oh dear and I am sorry mate. I suspected that the girly talk could be a serious problem but was really hopeful that Eider Duck and Puffin would hold the male stand. It was probably the biggest single risk of the expedition but I always hoped … I am sorry that my optimism was ill founded. Could I suggest sneaking some testosterone from the first aid kit into the daily muesili; be ready to deal with the initial pain that both Charlotte and Sarah will suffer when they need their daily shave, but a small price to pay. Good luck. John

    1. Decided that if Girlie Talk goes on for more than five minutes I will subject them to a lecture on Battery Managment Systems. That will shut them up.

  3. John and Selma avatar
    John and Selma

    Also, count the good ship b in for a return trip. Selma

  4. The result of being stormbound in Salcombe is blissfully asleep upstairs while her parents fret about secondary schools. Something tells me that somehow the immediacy of navigating through iceflows in foggy gales has more reality than the inchoate fears of the middle classes. That’s what’s wrong with Salcombe.

  5. Ive been so upset about you not getting to Greenland, that I d like to be counted in on the return trip too – before my crew-ability is proved to be below usable standard! But at least I think my girly-talk-ability is less, if not non existent, so I might score on that one!!!

    Really, really look forward to see you over there.
    all the best,

    1. You’re booked. Jeg ser fram till mote deg i Reykjavik. Klemer, Alasdair x

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