The good news is: we finally got some sailing in. The bad news is: it was en route to Husavik, a port on the north coast of Iceland, after a severe gale was forecast for the northeast corner of the island. So we’re sitting here in port for about 12 hours or so, waiting on the force 8 to 10 weather to blow past.
We’d seen this storminess — the remnants of Hurricane Irene, I believe — on the forecasts for some time, but earlier prognostications had it well beyond the northeast corner by the time we got there. My watch last night — I’m back on with the Finnish couple — saw the wind start to come up in the final 45 minutes, just before 9pm. We had the mainsail (with two reefs) and the staysail out and though we were still motoring, we’d pulled the revs back more and more as the wind built. When we came back on 3am, the engine was off and Boogie had already turned Polar Bear around. We were reaching in anywhere from 5 to 25 knots of wind; the wind was up and down in crazily wide swings as we made our way southwest back to port.
Husavik is Iceland’s premiere whale-watching town and is a tourist center that has also retained its commercial-fishing emphasis as well. I’ve not seen much — Polar Bear was here in July, when I was back in the U.S. — and I likely won’t get much chance, but the view from the sea is quite lovely: rolling, green hills to the east while steep, alpine peaks line the western shore of the bay. Houses line the bluffs that form the north side of the harbor and and reach just a tiny bit into the hills behind. It’s cute, to be honest, with the commercial fishing on the south edge of the port giving it a gritty edge. Put Husavik on the list for later exploration.