Weather Experience update #1: Grímsey

August 23rd, 2013 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

This has been one amazing summer! I was a bit glum at first about the prospect of turning 35 (this happened May 25th) but since then I’ve tried all sorts of cool new things and never felt better.  Thus I’ve decided more firmly than ever that I’m actually not getting any older, the number’s just getting higher for some reason.  And my kids are getting mysteriously tall (the 15 yr old is 6’1″ and showing no signs of stopping).

While by brain is brimming with all sorts of things I’d like to share, I’m going to start with a much needed update about the Weather Experience project, especially for those generous people who donated funds to help make it possible, and might be wondering if the book will ever actually see the light of day.  (For those not familiar with it,  this is a huge-scale project I’m working on with my boyfriend Óli, started in April 2011). In my last update I mentioned we had all the most difficult locations yet to do.  I’m happy to say that since then we’ve managed to cover four of those hard-to-reach spots, which is a huge relief.  This means we now have completed 46 locations out of 60, with only four locations remaining that need to be reached by boat.  In early May we made a trip up north to get the island of Grímsey out of the way.  As the red dot shows , its a good ways offshore:

So we reserved a ride with the Grímsey ferry, which we learned would be leaving at 9 am from the small northern town of Dalvík.  We were told to be there by 8:30 am at the latest, so we left the previous evening from our home in Hafnarfjörður, and drove all night.
The trip was uneventful aside from the goose we accidentally hit with the car –  I became a little hysterical that we’d killed it and wasn’t at ease until Óli had turned the car around and driven all the way back to see if its lifeless (or worse, hideously injured) body was lying in the road.  It wasn’t, so apparently geese are tougher than I thought, which came as quite a relief.  I’d rather complete this project without any animals getting killed in the process.  On a happier note, we also passed a field of horses, where a newborn foal was taking its first steps with the help of its mama:

 

Once in Dalvík, we hurried to the ticket office and spent a few minutes debating wether or not to spend an extra 10.000 króna (80$ or so in addition to the 160$ it cost for just the two of us) to bring the car with us. Since we had a bunch of camera stuff and no backpacks, we decided it would be a lot more convenient.   At that point we were also under the impression that we’d have 4 hours on the island.  So I drove the car on board, all the way as far back as it could get (as i was instructed). Then the dock workers proceeded to load a new dock (partitioned into several huge pieces) onto the boat behind my car.  This did not bother me at the time.
And off we sailed.  As you can see, there was still an amazing amount of snow around Dalvík in May:

Now, the boat ride itself was 3 hours, and since I’d been driving all night, I promptly fell asleep on the floor of the main passenger area and snoozed for an hour.  (We were the only passengers, so this wasn’t as awkward as it sounds).  The highlight of the trip was when the captain let us know there was a group of humpback whales ahead, if we wanted to take pictures.  He actually swerved off course to get us closer to them, which I thought was very awesome of him.


Once we arrived in Grímsey, we were told the boat would only be staying for an hour.  It then dawned on me that my car wasn’t going anywhere until the dock had been unloaded from behind it.  I figured they meant we’d have an hour once we got the car off, but I was wrong.  It took half an hour before we could finally get going, and we were told we had exactly 30 minutes to get our work done.  (Even though Óli had helped with the unloading of the dock.  That should have bought us at least 10 extra minutes)

We’d never been to the island before and had no idea where we should shoot the photo, so we asked one of the dock workers where we’d be most likely to capture the “essence” of Grímsey.   She gave us directions and off we raced.  I threw the dress on in a hurry, and then we spent a maximum of five minutes figuring out the best angles to try.

Once we were sure we had at least one usable picture for the book,  we noticed the puffins nesting all over the cliffs below us.  I figure we managed a maximum of five minutes to take some puffin pictures – something I would happily have spent half the day doing.

I did this while wearing the dumb dress (no time to waste changing back), the cold wind tangling it around my legs, my hair blowing in my face, feeling amazingly frustrated that we’d come to such a beautiful place with all the camera equipment we could possibly need, and had to leave again right away.   We raced back to the boat exactly 30 minutes after we left, to find the ferry guys waiting for us.  (Seriously, after a three hour trip, would it have killed them to go get some coffee and waffles or something??)  I have to say, 30.000 kr for 30 minutes in Grímsey (about 8 bucks a minute) is probably the worst deal I’ve ever gotten in my life.
To their credit though, the ferry guys were very nice and let us sleep in bunks without paying on the way back, since we were still the only passengers.

Side note: On our way back home from this trip, we got a phone call telling us that the dog we were interested in adopting was ours if we still wanted her.  The next day 6-yr old Spíra was brought over for a visit, and she’s been with us since.
Here she is on the right, with our other dog, 12 year old Sámur.  He’s had mixed feelings about her arrival, she’s a bit pushy and boisterous for his taste, (like an annoying little sister) but they get along.  Such a joy to have them both :)

Anyway, donations are still welcome to help complete the book. As before, anyone donating 15$ or more gets a free PDF of the completed book, which is now this far along:



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2 comments for this post

Rebekka, Thank you for the update! Really excited about this project coming to fruition, as I’m sure you are. If I don’t make it to Iceland in person – this will be a great second place way to see it. I’m wondering if you can send updates to your backers? That way we will get the updates when they come out versus having to remember to look for one, and would be confirmation of our donation. Just a thought. Good luck with the rest of your journey!!

Rebekah, thanks for the update on the weather experience project and I’ve really enjoyed reading about your Grimsey experiences, especially having been to Dalvik a couple of years ago. From time to time I wonder how the project is progressing, so it was good to come across a post on Facebook and from there to find your website. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product, which I’m sure will be great value for my investment back in 2011. Good luck with the remiainder!
Ian

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