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Argelvor's blog

About the Blog

This blog is about Elin and Alan's adventure in Greenland 2013-2014 aboard their sailing boat Argelvor.

Snow in Iceland – winter is approaching fast!

Aug 2013 Posted on 01 Sep, 2013 23:39

It has been some time now since we left some
news, but we are in a hurry to go north, and haven’t spend so much time on the
stops we have done on the way: sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, buy some food,
have a real meal, and then get some more sleep. But we have had some really
nice sailing since we left Crosshaven, Ireland.

We only got our main sail fixed, our front
sail was not possible to do anything about, it was too torn… But the harbor
master in Crosshaven offered us a second hand front sail – not exactly the size
of our high mast, but ok for sailing. We reached Man Island after about two
days in a town called Douglas. Nice place, but we only stayed for a short while
to do some purchase and to sleep!

Next stop was north in Scottland: the sailing trip to Scottland was
really beautiful. We really felt like we were in a fairytale; fog coming and going, lot of activity
on the sea with eating feast with birds, dolphins and whales, and we even saw
sharks ! Difficult to explain, but it was really breathtaking. Entering north
of Scottland was like sailing an a Norwegian fjord ; mountains on each side,
rough and wild landscape, and sometimes you could see a small hut/house by the
sea. If we had more time we would definitively take our time to sail around
this area ! We entered Stornoway late evening, and berth alongside a sailing
boat called “Elinca”. On board we
met James, Claire and Colette that were preparing a sailing trip to Antarctica
! Crazy dudes that wants to sail South…:) Opposite geographical goals, but same
adventurous spirit. You can read more about their sailing trip at
Really nice people and we wish them good luck on their voyage !
Leaving Scottland we were really excited to
reach the Faroe Islands. We only had two days of sailing, and the scenery that
met us under the fog was beautiful ! High cliffs and naked landscape; a bit
like the characteristic landscape in Svalbard but with much more vegetation. We
both kind of felt like “home” when we entered the harbor in Torshavn. Again, if
we had more time we would definitively explore this island more ! Maybe on the
way down again from Greenland ??

The first that met us in Torshavn was a
really nice guy inviting us for dinner serving fresh whale meet. I call that a
very nice welcome ! We had the dinner in an old refurnished wood fishing boat
that are taking tourists at sea to fish and explore the beautiful scenery of
the Faroe Islands. I would say, if you ever take the trip to Faroe Islands; go
on a trip with Nordlysid boat – I’m sure you will have a fantastic experience !
Here is the link:

Too bad we did not
have time to see more of the Faroe Islands, because we had to leave the next
day to go to Iceland to avoid the storm that was coming……
And a sea-sick Elin……
Knowing we had the storm coming, we really
hurried to reach Iceland. And at this point we only had a half main sail and a
broken (!) front sail…..again ! We were hoping to fix the sails in Faroe
Islands, but since we had to hurry before the storm, we did not have a choice.
So with help of the engine, we reached east coast of Iceland in only two days,
and on the way we got to see killer whales and even northern lights (!).
Entering Iceland was just as breathtaking as the Faroe Islands; I think my
comment was; It’s just like Svalbard only with hair ! And everyone that knows
Svalbard knows what I mean; you have the characteristic naked and rough
layered-like mountains, but here it is covered with green vegetation, and you also
have waterfalls coming out of nowhere – so in other words: just beautiful.
So here we are in Seydisfjordur, east of
Iceland, a really nice small (!) town with friendly people and surprisingly
kind custom officer who only wanted to inform us that the opening hour to buy
liquor and beer was from 16:00 to 20:00 pm…! Well, so I guess you can say
that we like this place 🙂
We found a guy with a sewing machine in one of
the neighbor fjord, Stödvarfjördur, to fix our broken main sail (the front sail
could unfortunately not be fixed for now…). Thank you very much to Anton
Helgason who did a great job sewing our sail, even though he is not a
sailmaker! But after this I really think he should consider being one 🙂 Thank you for your great service on a
Saturday afternoon and for helping us in a desperate situation. Now, we are
doing some last preparations and waiting for good weather to continue to our
final destination – Greenland !

We can really feel that it’s getting colder and colder now, and yesterday we
woke up with new snow on the mountains – a nice reminder that winter is coming
soon 🙂

Still going on !

Aug 2013 Posted on 14 Aug, 2013 22:12

If you have been following us on our
position page, I guess you are wondering why we now are back in Ireland…? Well,
not everything has been going according to plan… With our engine problem fixed,
it all started well from Dingle, and we were finally on our way in the right
direction. But after some days, we met some stormy weather. The wind was
stronger than we thought, and suddenly both the main sail and the front sail
broke down at the same time (!). The front sail suffered most damage, and after
some struggle we finally manage to put it down. But by then the sail was so
torn that it really did not look like a sail any more…. The plan was to get out
of the depression, but with the sails broken it was not possible anymore to go
close to the wind, and we were trapped in the depression system, just drifting
along. At this point we realised that we needed to reconsider our sailing route
to Greenland, since we could not fix the sails while sailing and had to get
back to a harbour to manage the sails. Alan managed to temporarily fix the
mainsail, so with a ‘half’ mainsail and our small forestaysail (trinquette) we
headed for Cork. We had almost only nice (and slow…) sailing back to Ireland,
and we even got the opportunity to sail close to the Fastnet light house in
calm and nice weather which really was a highlight experience after all the
negative ordeal we have had so far…

As all planned expeditions we always (and
of cause!) have a backup plan ! So even though we now are too late to reach the
west coast of Greenland, our plan is now to sail up the east coast of Ireland to
Isle of Man, via Faroe Islands to Iceland and then to the east coast of
Greenland to Ittoqqortormiit. From here we will find a nice overwintering place
in Scoresbysund, the biggest fjord system in the world and even more ‘arctic’
area than the west coat of Greenland 🙂

So we are still going ahead as planned,
it’s just the location that has changed. Luckily this will not effect or change
any of the jobs and/or planned activity we already have made in Greenland.
Right now we are doing the last preparations to be ready to go to the east
coast of Greenland and hope that we are now done with our share of bad luck,
and that the rest of the trip will go as planned !

All the best from Crosshaven, Cork 🙂