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Tuesday, 26 April 2016
If yesterday was paradise today must be heaven!
As we crept into the centre of the picture perfect mill pond a strange new noise came upon Shimshal. It was a thin layer of surface ice striking the hull as we inched towards our chosen anchorage in 8 metres and 200m form the shore. The anchor went down and set instantly.
What a place! Surrounded on three sides by mountains plastered with snow from shore to summit and behind us the the long reach of Lonafjordur leading down to the shimmering Drangajokull Icecap in the distance. It was mirror calm with the reflections only occasionally blurred by the faint rhyme of ice which bloomed like mushrooms on the sea's surface.
As if the geographical wonders weren't enough Helen spotted a bird of prey drop it's prey from it's talons as we approached.
After a whirr of photography it was time again for the hill. Helen scrambled up a ridge which was the only one to have lost it's snow. Dave dropped Sally and me off with our skis at the same place and we quickly set off diagonally on the snow skinning easily on slightly softer spring snow once more. Soon the gradient steepend and we zig-zagged up to gain a higher plateau that rose slowly to the flattish summit at 460m. We sat on rocks drinking in warm sunshine in our astonishing situation. Blue fjords, rolling snow clad peaks and far to the south the distant icecap.
The skiing was a delight too as the sun had softened the snow and once again we swooped down pausing only to admire our wiggly tracks and to blast away with the camera. All too soon we were back at the shore and loading the dinghy for our trip back to Shimshal for home cooked hot dogs and a celebratory cup of aero press coffee.
As if that weren't sufficient superlatives for one day it just got better and better. In the warm afternoon sun my cockpit wiring project (solar panels) went well and the evening brought even more scenic wonders. A touch of gold added colour to the reflections and then the long northern twilight faded, by mignight, into the short arctic night.
Sunshine, scenery, skiing, isolation, fine food and gorgeous coffee at Europe's most distant and remote outpost. Today we got the lot.