THE MIND GAMES

When we arrived to Sudureyri seventeen days ago we knew we would not be paddling for next day or two. That’s was fine as we have paddled for few days and felt that we were making good progress so far. We were looking forward to the stop as we had to do some shopping before our next leg, the Hornstandir. The first day of rest was fine, the second was ok, then as the forecast wasn’t getting any better came the time to become more creative with planning and paddling and we started to look for smaller weather windows at any time, day or night.
Sometimes those windows turned out to be much shorter than forecasted or not as calm as promised, in the end forecast is just a forecast and local conditions can alter it significantly. The start of the crossing to Adalvik was rough but doable. We had options to continue or turn into the safety of Isafjord. Both options were against the wind. We had quite a long discussion at the corner to agree that it was a good idea to continue, and that we were both happy to commit to the hard crossing. 

Then we became wind bound in Latravik for five days. Surprisingly the first few days were relaxing. The weather forecast was way of beyond paddling so there was no need thinking if we should be or should not be paddling. Finally, after the five long days, already eight since we left Sudureyri, we could see a window coming which might give us chance of passing Straumness. We decided to take on the challenge. 

We hard earned the progress, yet looking back it is interesting to see how decision “should we or shouldn’t” is made. Is having a “chance” to pass certain point and make desired progress good enough to go? Especially with the knowledge that it either has to be made all the way as there may not be a chance to turn back, and definitely no way of stepping out of it? The decision making this time was definitely influenced by the time sitting on land waiting. 

In contrary if long mileage is done and good progress achieved it is almost natural to look on same conditions and decide to stay on land instead of taking chances. We learnt that big part of this decision making progress depends on feelings of being strong or tired, both mentally and physically. Like the morning in Bjarnarfjordur. Day before we achieved a long day of 70kilometres and left the Hornstandir area, where we spent nine days. We were eager to continue. The forecast was ok-ish. We packed everything, changed to drysuits and just when we were ready to start to load the boats the wind came with strong gusts. Fresh on our memory was the knackering finish of previous day, which was giving us a feeling that this paddle would be about taking chances. So we pitched our tent again and decided to wait for better weather laying down in our sleeping bags. Listening to and watching the tent shaking with every gust we were reassured of making a good decision.  

The following day we decided to move on despite the forecast being almost identical to previous day. But looking at the sea, it looked friendlier, and we felt we could do it. And so we left and paddled in big following sea until Reykjaness. Because really, the conditions looked promising for the next day, today, to cross forty plus kilometres across Hunafloi towards Skagi area. 

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