Maybe a poet could or maybe its because Im still learning how to speak english but I feel like I just cant get the right words to describe the legitimate beauty of this place. Fresh air, birds floating in the wind, mountains covered with snow dipping their grassy feet into the ocean, more waterfalls than you can count, beautiful and genuine folks, simple living, untouched terrain and waves, delectable food, glaciers, artic foxes and seals, the list goes on and on…
I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to visit Iceland once again. My first trip there was about 7 years ago and still remains one that I will remember forever and this new adventure just exceeded my expectations even more. Lucky we are. I was very excited to meet up with the girls again, the One Life crew‘s ultimate goal is always to have the time of your life and we did just that. The riders were Chanelle Sladics, Kjersti Buaas, Sarka Pancochova and I. There was even more spice to the mix since musician/photographer Cindy Santini joined us and did a really good job at keeping us entertained the whole time with her good beats and good jokes. To add to the dream team, we were fortunate to have the initiator of the whole idea and awesome friend director/cinematographer John Roderick capture all the beauty and amazing moments we witnessed along the way.
We started out in Reykjavik where we met up with Birna who pretty much became our great friend and guide for the trip. The plan plan was to spend a few days in the Capital and then drive up North along the shoreline all the way to the beautiful little town of Isafjordur where Borea Adventures‘ 60 ft sailboat was waiting for our crew. We were so pumped… Let the adventure begin!
One of the landmarks of Iceland, the Geysirs! A cool bubble right before the detonation!
The Icelandic horses look perfectly adapted to their environment. They are small but tough!
The crew!! Birna, me, John, Sarka, our Captain AKA The Greatest Sailor of the Arctic Sea Siggy, Cindian, Kjersti and Chanene! And off we go!
The evening we left Isafjordur, stunning!
This was our home for the week! Its incredible how such a small self sustained space can comfortably accomodate 10-12 people. We slept great, our Captain Siggy cooked the freshest and meals every day, we sang, we played, we pranked, we swam, we laughed and felt like one with nature.
As soon as we got onboard, Cindian was jamming. Sings alongs were mandatory and freestyle sessions followed every time.
And then this happened… We woke up the first morning and put our Splitboards onto the kayaks to get to the base of our first ascents. I never thought Id go snowboarding from a sailboat ever or get to the hill on a kayak, SO FUN!
The top view of one of our first hikes up!
Now let me introduce you to the heart of our whole expedition : Danny Boy!! Danny O’Farrell is a rad canadian guy who’s been getting his Masters in marine biology in Iceland over the last 2 years and works on the boat with the Borea Adventures crew. He was up there with us, guiding us around and bootpacking for everyone… At night, his true colors would come out and he would charm us with his Irish Potato songs… If we had a concern, a question or needed someone to show us the way, Danny would always be there with a giant smile :)
Up here is Danny Boy demonstrating the benefits of a morning icelandic bath on a rainy cold day!
The beds were surprisingly comfortable and even Kjersti and Chanelle managed to fit all their bags in there! We were just a big happy family. Sarka was sleeping above me and besides from a few of her flatulence occurrences, I really had nothing to complain about.
Just another day in the office with lil Sharky!! I only got to travel with her a few times over the years but I can say that this girl is one of the most hilarious and fun to be around chick I ever met. Good hang !!
Most of the time, we would get dropped off on the shore with the zodiak and just radio in to get picked up after a long day of splitboarding, NBD…
We hiked up and across for 3 hours over to the next fjord. The girls were stoked!!
The first sight of the next fjord. It was a dark foggy day but still just as breathtaking.
An old abandoned Whaling Station. Back in the days, the Norwegians used to bring the whales here and melt their fat into huge barrels of oil which was used for all kind of purposes like heating and cooking.
There was not a soul around except this little artic fox just having a nap in the grass watching us passing by and then ran away.
For most of the trip, we were riding slushy spring snow which was perfect and safe for touring at this time of the year. Lucky for us, towards the end we got a glimpse of how much of a powder paradise the zone becomes in the winter. Moments before getting to slash some pow left by a short spring storm cycle !
We traveled so much shoreline and saw lots of old villages and traditional buildings like this one who was well maintained over the years. They never had much wood to build with so most of their construction was made with rocks and moss.
Old fish huts are still being used all over the country. They hang the fish in there for several months until its dry. It seems like a great way to naturally preserve fish over long periods of time.
After 5 nights on the boat, we sadly had to come back to shore. Danny boy had promised to take us surfing and we scored on a little swell showing up. It was a blizzard out, snowing sideways and the wind was howling! Iceland was the first place I had ever surfed when I came 7 years ago and I was stoked to get back in that water. Danny lent me everything, his wetsuit, his booties, gloves and board. Lets just say that I was floating in his suit !
Just STOKED! I wasnt cold one bit since we were paddling so hard against the wind. the worst part was that every snowflakes felt like nails straight into your eyes.. I had never surfed in such conditions before, even after 3 years of surfing in Canada but It was so awesome.
The next day was time to head back to Reykjavik already. But the sun came out and we needed to take full advantage of it. After a morning of riding amazing Icelandic powder, we drove up to the beach once more and this time Chanelle came with! she is by far the best surfer of our group and she made it look too easy even with 2 wetsuits on!! yep, one on top of the other…
I got to snap this shot of Danny getting some out there on his own break. What a sweet spot, all to yourself, with the raddest backdrops anywhere you look… thats precious.
To top it all off, the rest of the crew did a beach clean up while we were surfing. They filled 4 big bags of all kinds of trash. Here is Kjersti posing with her biggest catch of the day! Even in such remote and pristine areas like here you can find trash all over the beaches. That’s just a really small hint of how big of an impact we are making all over the globe and it affects the whole ecosystem. On a good note, I just hope that our kids still get to swim in clean oceans, drink water from the waterfalls like we did all over Iceland and enjoy life as we know it.
It seemed so heartbreaking to leave one of the Earth’s paradise. At last, we can say that we made a lot new friends, saw more mind blowing landscapes than I could imagine, had a blast sailing around magnificent fjords, got to surf in the Arctic and left with good times memories that will remain with us forever… There will be a few One Life webisodes and a really cool TV show coming out as well so keep your eyes peeled. I just wanted to give a little preview of how much fun it was.
I have to shout out major thanks to Siggy, Runar, Danny, all the ladies of the Cafe and rest of the crew at Borea Adventures. They really made this trip an unbelievable experience..
Huge thanks to Birna for taking us around and answering our million dumb tourist questions… youre a sweetheart. Thanks to Walter and Jenny who made us a lovely dinner in their lovely home. Thanks to the Hostel in Isafjordur and the Icelandair Marina Hotel in Reykjavik.
Thanks to Cindy for creating melodies to go along the sceneries and it was a real pleasure to get to know you my friend! Thanks to John for making this trip happen in many ways and putting up with traveling with 5 girls for 2 weeks! I dont know many men who would have handled the task this smoothly! You’re the man. Thanks to Chanelle for putting considerable time and extra work to coordinate the whole trek. You killed it! Thanks to Kjersti for all kinds of creative “peeing in nature “displays and thanks to Sarka for the hours of non sense rambling we got to spend together.
It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I feel very blessed.