Final Preparations – but for what?

Scoresby Sund Expedition 2022

Days 48, 49, 50. 30th July 2022

Position: Still Moored Husavik, Iceland

Weather: Overcast and raining. Getting windy too. 6 degrees

Ice: Improving. Hopefully the next chart will show the settlement virtually clear of ice

We managed a good walk on Thursday to the top of Husavik Hill. Our attempt at finding a new way down failed so we climbed back up and then came back down. We quenched our thirst, plus a bit, at the Husavik Micro Brewery and collapsed into our bunks after knocking up a beef madras with brown rice.

Husavik from the hill
Sumara moored in front of the yellow fishing boat taken from a long way away!
An Icelandic Redwing with a mouthful of worms
When you look up at an Icelandic hill it may look as if it is covered in purple heather but when you get closer you soon realise the landscape is covered Arctic Lupins. They were first introduced to the Reykjavik area in 1945 but in 1976 it was decided to actively spread the seeds to help prevent soil erosion. Today Iceland is divided into Lupin lovers and Lupin haters. Somehow the lupins just stop at this electric fence which is strange.

The harbour is almost empty of voyaging boats now as North Sailing have also set off to Scoresby Sund leaving poor old Sumara all by herself. It feels a bit weird as if we have left it all too late, but Sumara can’t make progress into the strong northerlies, and we need a bigger weather window than the larger boats. We do hope to sail to Greenland next week when there is a vague promise of a high-pressure system moving in. It will be our last chance so we will take it if we possibly can. It is unlikely we will still have time to circumnavigate Milne Land but we shall see.

On Friday we tried to knock a few jobs off the list. Replacing the broken sail slides has been driving me mad. I ordered two deliveries from the UK which arrived via crew changes, and they were both the wrong sizes (my fault). Then Matteo came to the rescue and said he could post some out by “Express” Parcelforce. In their immense wisdom Parcelforce decided to change the tracking reference without telling us so the parcel basically became untrackable. I eventually decided the only remaining option was to get some made in stainless steel. Obviously, getting parts hand made in Iceland does not come cheap. While I was in the factory with a very skilled engineer just finishing the welding, I got an email to say the sail slides were ready to collect at the post office 50 m up the road! I didn’t dare tell the engineer. It was Sods Law, but at least I now have two super strong steel slides plus loads of Nylon back-ups. The afternoon was spent fitting the slides and carrying out more minor sail repairs.

We were going to treat ourselves to an hours’ worth of Eberspacher heat but the yacht’s battery voltage was too low so we put on the dinner to warm us up from the inside. We had another excellent meal of Icelandic lamb which is a speciality here. Apart from the weird dishes like rotten shark, which even the locals only eat on special occasions, there are plenty of other tasty things to eat. The day starts with a spoonful of Lysi which is the world’s best cod liver oil. I slug it down with some orange juice which is confusingly called Appelsin Juice, but the Lysi taste is actually very mild. For snacks there are various dried fish options, some more chewy than others. You can even buy Fish and Chips crisps with real fish. Chocolate covered liquorice bars are very common and slightly irresistible.

The Icelandic fish stew is a wholesome blend of fish, potatoes and cheese. Portions can be bought from the chilled cabinets at the supermarkets if you are feeling lazy. Our experiment buying a main course fish soup in a restaurant failed when we had to return the rather small portions twice because they were just luke warm. The £38.00 bill seemed pretty expensive even for Iceland. However, we have discovered some very tasty canned lobster soups and we are now experimenting by adding fish balls to the soup to turn them into full meals suitable for hungry sailors.

I think the best policy here, unless you are a millionaire, is to buy good tasty Icelandic food from the shops and cook on board or just visit any garage café and get a burger and chips. The garage cafes are generally pretty good, not too expensive and friendly too.

A typical garage cafe.

We will keep knocking jobs on the head while carefully studying the weather. Knocking tasks off the job list is a very positive action that makes you feel as if you are moving forward. It is good to move forward because the alternative is to move backwards.  Almost worse than going backwards is just hanging around allowing time for nasty negative thoughts to creep in, like winter is approaching! Nansen called his ship Fram which is Norwegian for forward.

Talking of Norwegian, I often chant “enkel og overkommelig” when faced with potentially overwhelming tasks. It means “simple and manageable”. I just break down the big job into very small easy and manageable tasks. If the yacht is getting overwhelmed in a squall, I just say “enkel og overkommelig” for each little task:

  • Get up to the mast. Easy
  • Ease off the Yankee Halyard. Manageable
  • Put a reef in the Yankee. Easy
  • Rehoist the sail. Manageable
  • Get back to the cockpit. Easy

Job jobbed. Somehow it works with me. Not sure why it is better in Norwegian though!

Hopefully I can announce a departure date on the next post.

4 responses to “Final Preparations – but for what?”

  1. I find and I could be opening a can of worms with this thought, that most Scandinavian and I especially mean Norway and Sweden, serve up their food luke warm in restaurants. Over the years I’ve given up sending it back, Nina says the same now living in Sweden.

    As to enkel og overkommelig, I remember you telling me that many many years ago at the top of a Black run In Norway. I just looked a foot ahead of my skis and not at the whole mountain. It helped me down and I’ve used the phrase myself on numerous other occasions

    Stay well, regards to Sumi and Ray x

    1. That’s interesting, you would have thought a really hot bowl of soup would be just the thing on a cold Scandi evening. Good to hear “enkel og overkommelig” is being put to good use. I picked up the phrase when I was trying to learn Norwegian by reading Naiv Super by Erlend Loe. Not sure why it stuck in my head. Hope all is good in Cholsey. X

  2. You’re spot on hanging on for the weather window. It would be impossible hammering into strong northerlies. Hang on in there. Our fingers are crossed for the right weather and a departure date. In the meantime enjoy the fish balls 😋

    1. It is now looking like the weather window later in the week is closing in on us too. It doesn’t bode well for getting out of there either! Still waiting on the latest ice chart. Hoping that northerlies have cleared ice away and haven’t just brought new ice down!

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