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Date: 17 Jun 2010 19:34:00
Title: Back in Akureyri

Thursday afternoon

I'm back in Akureyri now after flying back from the UK on Wednesday. Andrea is staying with her mum in Leeds until her father's funeral next friday. John and Cind are due to fly into Akureyri tonight and then we're going to sail around to the Western Fjords and the small town of Isafjorder. The plan is that we'll all leave Saxon Blue there while we return to the UK again. After the funeral, I'll come back and sail over to Greenland with Richard and Jamie (and Kali, of course) and Andrea will join us there.

It's a lot of flying backwards and forwards but, in the end, it shouldn't put us behind by much as Isafjorder isn't much further away from Greenland than Reykjavik. Andrea is bearing up well, as are the rest of the family. It's a very sad time and I'm glad that John and Cind are coming as I could really do with some company. I've got used to being with Andrea every day and I'm missing her very much.

It's the National Holiday in Iceland today - celebrating the birthday of the man who told the Danes to take a running jump, or so I've been told. This means that the lads have got the truly monster trucks out and last night was punctuated by the sound of tyres squealing and engines revving. In Iceland, you have to buy the most massive set of tyres you can and then jack up your suspension so the truck sits wobbling on the top. These tyres also have to stick out the sides of the truck so you then get some extended wheel arches which almost - but not quite - cover them up. In a country where it's illegal to actually drive off-road, this seems a bit crazy. I know they've got a lot of gravel roads but traction's not an issue on them and I always thought narrow tyres were better in snow. Still, it does look well hard.

There was a parade through town this afternoon, led by what I think were the local Scouts as they were in uniform but Iceland has no army. After that, there was a big party in the town square. I listened to a very rousing male-voice choir and some less talented Karaoke which is still going on.

Saxon Blue is still being buffeted by the constant waves in this most windy fjord. It blows strongly up the fjord, then goes still only to resume again from the opposite direction a few minutes later. I think Kali has been driven almost insane by the constant noise over the last few days.

As I walked back to the boat from the airport last night, I could see our mast from a long way away - only it wasn't our mast! Honestly, you leave someone alone with the boat for a few days and she goes and lets a bigger boat come in. The new boat is also from the UK. It's a sistership to Big Spirit, the orange boat that was our neighbour in Ocean Village for so many months. I've not spoken to them yet as I think they're in town partying but Kali has already said "hello".

The trip back from Leeds to Akureyri yesterday was one of startling contrasts. Taking the train down the East coast, I could really appreciate just how fertile and mature the English coutryside is. Every nook and cranny has some lush plants and is fenced and owned. Flying back over Iceland, you realise how new everything is. The lava is just lying on the surface with its fissures and tangled shapes. There hasn't been time for it to get eroded, let alone covered by soil. Both landscapes are beautiful in their own right and it's hard to credit that they exist on the same planet, let alone as close to each other as they are. And there are the same funny old people, doing the same funny old things to make their lives work.

We're planning on heading back up the fjord tomorrow to an old Herring fishing port just to the West so it'll be great to be underway again. Let's hope Saxon Blue remembers how to sail because I think the crew will have forgotten.

Harvey

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