The access to the port on Vestmannaeyjar is rather narrow and hidden behind black lava mountains.
When we spotted a huge cruiser slowly making its way in, all of us started wondering if it’s going to make it. I have noticed a smaller ship, guiding it in. Although the cruiser was there long before us (it looked like a big white spot and I first thought it was a hole in the rocks), with the help of a small guiding ship it made his journey to the port sailing after us, carefully manoeuvring in the slim port entrance.
Vestmannaeyjar was a sleepy land until 1973, when Eldfell volcano erupted unexpectedly and destroyed many buildings, forcing a months-long evacuation of the entire population. About one fifth of the town was completely destroyed, before the ocean stopped the lava flow.
The island looks magical, especially the port entrance, which was almost closed and it is not that visible as it used to be.
The volcano is still boozing, warming the earth and spoiling the crystal clear air with the clouds of balmy steam. People are living carefully, knowing that the volcanos can be unpredictable and can change the lives here again.
The archipelago near the Southern Icelandic Volcanic Zone compromises of 15 islands and about 30 rock stacks and skerries. You can spot single houses on some of the smallest rocks, the shelters for loners and the sheep. More than four thousand people live there, finding a way to survive in this harsh and unpredictable environment.
The sailing season was in full swing and the docking was almost impossible.
After some time the port worker pointed us towards rotten keelboat, which was attached to a bigger one and that one was attached to the biggest one… I do not mind being glued to another boat, as long as getting to the mainland is doable and it’s not going to end in a possibility of anyone falling between two huge boats, when someone tries crossing over. I had a real panic attack, not being able to cross over from a second boat to the last one. The fear of falling down was so real!
I did not like my experience on Vestmannaeyjar. Besides there were no facilities for sailors whatsoever and we had only one choice – take a trip further to reach a public swimming pool.
The place was supposed to close within an hour and we needed to be quick. The rest of the crew was not happy either, as after more than 90 hours of sailing buying alcohol in a shop proved impossible. After spending about five minutes on discussing what we want to do, we all decided to leave and headed towards Grindavik, hoping to arrive there in the morning.
I do not regret we have stopped by.
Kuba went to see the volcano and touched its warm surface, Robert and Slawek went for a walk and I have found out that there is true in saying that the further north you sail the less of a proper marinas facilities you can expect.
Still, being able to walk on a land after such a long sail was a nice experiance. The people we met on Vestmannaeyjar were very helpful and friendly, the views were stunning and I started appreciate the simple things such as hot shower and a washing machine… which I was able to finally get in Gridavik and Reykjavik!