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Island – 13th June 2016

Let’s not talk too much about yesterday. A hasty goodbye to Antigua and her good people, re-organization of luggage and equipment late at night, then a day spent being tired in airports and on flights. Longyearbyen, Oslo, Keflavik, Reykjavik. Who wants that? I don’t, but there is no way around it. There is no train and no bus to Jan Mayen.

24 hours after leaving Antigua in Longyearbyen I am already in a simple guest house in Reykjavik, slowly recovering from the voyage.

I continue early next morning with a small, but powerful propeller-driven aircraft to Ísafjörður, the metropolis of Iceland’s remote northwest fjords.

Don’t expect too much from this metropolis. You have seen most of it after an hour or two. But Ísafjörður is not only our gateway to Jan Mayen, it is also extremely friendly today: the sun is burning from a cloudless sky. There is still time for a little excursion. A rental bike is quickly found, and after a little ride I start ascending the mountain Kubbi. Just a bike and hiking boots. Nothing that flies or burns fuel. Wonderful! That is fun, that is how it should be. Getting a bit out of breath, fresh, unfiltered air in the lungs, sitting on arctic heather tundra a few metres high with bare feet, enjoying stunning views on mountains, waterfalls and fjords – a lot of my ideas of good life are in this. More, please! Well, there may be a lot of it in a few days’ time on Jan Mayen.

Soon some final shopping is done, the last preparation before departure involves a big plate of local fried cod. Then, a little group of 11 gathers around the table on Sigurdur’s Aurora. Next to the skipper himself, mate Vidar and mountain guide Magnus, all from Iceland, and me, there are Anneli from Estonia, who is attracted by remote places that are difficult to get to („you can’t get there? Great, let’s go there!“), Dominique from England, a friend of remote islands, Erling from Norway, who had felt a desire to go to Jan Mayen already in childhood days, Fred from America, who has recently made an impressive expedition to Heard Island, Karl, who had been with Siggi to Greenland, Marcus, who is fascinated by polar history, and Martin, who has a strong passion for the volcanoes of the world.

Gallery Island – 13th June 2016

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Next to Aurora, Sigurdur’s new ship is alongside, the old Bør, now bearing her new name Arktika. That would be a good ship for Greenland … well, now we are on Aurora, heading for Jan Mayen. The adventure begins.

We have a lovely start in the nicest evening light. Sometimes the fjord lies calm and clear around us, sometimes a breeze from the table mountains further north pushes small waves up. The ship is stomping into a strong wind as we surround the last capes, but it should not last too long, the forecast is fine and we should have a reasonably calm crossing.

last modification: 2016-08-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange