A great sail on an old Gaffer

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Tue 8 Jun 2010 23:05
Well, we spent the day in Husavik but I never got to the whale museum.

Finished repairing the deck hatch this morning - not a bad job in the end and I think it will settle in OK as the teak weathers - and did the laundry etc. Nils, the German/Icelandic guy from the whale-watching schooner invited us to go out with them on their 4pm trip and I fancied going. I didn't feel right going for free so bought a ticket anyway and wrapped up warm for the trip. Andrea was going to the hot tubs and swimming pool so I went on my own.

There was a bit of a breeze as we left the harbour and, as there wasn't a lot of whale action in the bay today, Nils put all the sails up. I think this was largely for my benefit and I really appreciated it. She has 6 sails in all. A huge gaff-rigged sail on each mast. Gaff rig means the sail is held top and bottom by a boom so it's a larger sail than our triangular ones and much heavier to haul up. Once the main sails are up, she also has a top sail above each gaff and then two headsails. The overall effect was thoroughly beautiful and we sailed sedately along at around 3 knots in probably 10-12 knots of wind. The wind died after a bit and we motored the rest of the way over the bay. No whales were in evidence but it was great to be out on the water again.

I always enjoy letting somebody else do the worrying about the boat so I had a great time just staring out to sea and looking at the scenery. It was a lovely cloudless day so Iceland looked wonderful. I had a good chat to Nils and to the skipper of the boat and then we headed over to Lundey which means PuffinIsland. Just as we arrived, we spotted a pod of around 6 White Beaked Dolphins and they put on a good show for us. We watched them for 10 minutes or so as they went about their business. They're just a bundle of muscle and move effortlessly through the sea. Great to watch.

Then on to the island which lived up to its name. It's one of the largest Puffin colonies in the world with around 100 000 pairs. They were everywhere. I couldn't see them is as much detail as the other places we've been but the sheer quantity of birds was impressive. They were like a cloud in the sky and scattered all over the sea as well. Nils entertained everyone with his Puffin impressions and then we headed back.

On the way back to harbour we were lucky enough to see a Minke whale up pretty close. They're pretty small as whales go but fast and sleek. A great end to the trip. I got off the boat and straight into the restaurant for dinner and now do the blog and back to the boat to try to sleep in the full daylight.


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