A blue sky, no cloud in sight and the sea as still as a mirror was the sight that welcomed me up on deck on tuesday. In the distance we could see the roofs of Reykjavik and it was a perfect day to arrive in Iceland. We had been taught about Daniel Solander during our trip from Shetland and as I stood at the rudder, I wondered what he thought about his first look at Reykjavik. I felt a huge relief to soon be on dry land and I think he must have thought the same.
On this last day of sailing we did very little sailing and I chose to be one in a team of three that drive the boat, keep an eye out for everyone on deck and stand as lookout in the front. This was the first time in three days that I had woken up without a fever, but I still didn’t feel strong enough to be in the workforce that day, which is why I chose this. It was such a beautiful day and I stood there sweating as lookout. I had become used to cold temperatures where you needed 3 layers during the day, but today I only needed one layer of wool and one pair of work pants, it felt amazing.
I have the 12-4 watch and at 2 o’clock our little boat named Berit was put to sea to pick up the Swedish ambassador and his wife. While we waited for them the engine was cut off, so when I switched to the rudder I was unemployed. We did a last sweep of the ship to make sure everything looked nice and then the ambassador came. Everything felt very festive and fun, everyone was excited. We all came together on deck to listen to the ambassador, Per, speak. He told us about the Icelandic and Swedish relation and how it is much closer than we think. Many Icelanders have Swedish relatives and our candy is sold in their stores. Gifflars are especially popular in Iceland, he said. He also told us about Solander again and was telling us everything that awaited us in Reykjavik and it sounded amazing. And there Solander was again in my head, making me think of him 250 years ago arriving at the same time as we did. For some reason I picture him in faded colors with everything looking bleaker around him, but he probably saw the exact same blue sky and sea against green mountains that I was seeing.
As we neared land I had to go back to my job. I started out at the rudder again and it was quite stressful. Our captain was a bit stressed that I was so out of course, even when I only lay 5-10° degrees wrong. That was because the pilot came on board and the harbor was nearing. I tried my best but I started sweating from the stress of it all. As my time at the rudder was coming to an end I started to get instructions into the harbor like “starboard 5”, “midship” and “port 10”. It was quite fun to steer so much, but then one of the others in my team came to release me and switch work tasks. It was a funny exchange because normally you tell the new steerer the course and he confirms it with the officer in charge, but this time he had to ask if he could take over on course “starboard 5” which we both found very amusing.
After arriving in port in Reykjavik, the ambassador and his wife gave us fika and we couldn’t be happier. My friends and I ate quickly, got changed and quite literally ran into the city. It was incredible to have solid ground under my feet again and the sunlight made the city look incredible. The church looming at the top of the city was a great companion during our brisk walk through the city and I think I fell in love with Reykjavik at first sight.