Leirvik to Iceland

Iomramh 2011

14th June 2011.

From Leirvik to Iceland.


Anticipating n early start, the boat was moved over to the re-fueling part of the pier before 8.00 am, with everything secured in preparation for the long journey ahead. The 250 miles to Iceland would be the longest single stage so far and was expected to take ay least 36 hours. But we couldn’t even get out of the harbour because the harbour master, nor anyone else who could operate the diesel pump, had not reported for duty!

Eventually Eirikur arrived and said that the diesel pump could only be operated by authorised credit card, whereupon he produced his own card and we filled the tank and spare cans. He then refused to take any money from us, saying “It is being paid for by the poor people of Nigeria” (his customers for dried fish heads!) The money was put back in the kitty.  whichin turn, being all Faroese Kroner, was given towards the cost of yesterdays barbeque etc.

We sailed out of Leirvik in cloudy but mild weather waving goodbye to Eirikur, Oskur and Steffen and Breanndán playing accordion.

When we got on the high seas a course was set and full sail hoisted and  Ken and I were on first watch – 12.00 to 3.00pm.. Completely uneventful!

Our next watch 6.00 to 9.00am was equally uneventful except for a half hour watching an Artic Tern trying to land on the weather vain on top of the mast. He didn’t succeed.

From 3.00 pm on, the weather got steadily worse. We were headed North East and an icy cold wind was coming from due North and getting steadily stronger.  The wind reached about gale force and although it was not as bad as we met off Donegal it was still very uncomfortable. In theory, as we were only working an 8 hour day and could do nothing else for the rest but lie in bunks there should have been no problem. But the boat was pitching wildly, the sea was regularly breaking over the hull and the water finding its way into the cabin. An occasional drip down on my bunk became a cascade. Great credit to Danny, that he managed to cook a dinner in these circumstances, on the evening of our first day out, after that conditions were so rough, that we couldn’t have eaten it even if he could have cooked.Our sustenance was biscuits, sweets and choclate.
The only way to partly relieve the situation was to reduce the engine speed but that just left us tossing around on the ocean and going nowhere. There was nothing for it but to relentlessly plough the raging main!

At one stage the going was so severe that only Pádraig and Ken (a very experienced sailor!) were permitted on deck but with 12 hours to go there was no way they could stick to this, so Danny and myself did a shift together.

Eventually we did reach Djupivogur as wretched a crew as you could imagine. It was bright daylight at midnight when Danny started cooking dinner – boiled Kildimo bacon.

As well as ordinary sea-sickness, and we’re mostly over that, now, the  very rough conditions have a strange effect on the mind, a kind of disorientation or depression, it’s hard to explain but is not pleasant and though we appear to be asleep most of the time, we were all totally exhausted, when we landed, to the point that, although the bar in a nearby hotel was still open when we had finished dinner, nobody could face drink!!!!

Can’t help thinking that there are two more long journeys coming up. Iceland to St. Kilda 72 hours???