|Mon 21-06-2021, 16:00Isafjordur, Iceland||Mon 28-06-2021, 08:00Isafjordur, Iceland||Tecla||7 Nights||TC-210621|
Enjoy 8 sublime days in midsummer, living an outdoor life in NW Iceland, with anchorages to yourself. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve can only be reached by boat and is a very special place that lures Tecla back every year. The North West Fjords in this almost uninhabited part of Iceland is remote, even by Icelandic standards. There are huge cliffs with birds breeding, abandoned meadows glowing in golden evening light, where the arctic fox cubs play and tundra flowers enjoy their short but brilliant season. There is plenty of sailing in the fjords and the Tecla crew loves to tack into narrow inlets and make the best of every breeze like dinghy sailors.
Tecla crew love to explore new places but they have taken Iceland to heart and like to return here each summer. This 8 day voyage is more suitable for beginners than some of their coastal journeys or Arctic expeditions as there is usually a fjord the right orientation for flat water sailing. It is still a remote area and some headlands to round so it would equally suit experienced sailors too. The waters around Iceland are renowned for spotting whales and so the wildlife spotter or nature lover in you will be right at home. The two berth cabins with private en-suite facilities with a shower mean you will also sleep comfortably in your heated cabin. In the fjords there is plenty of sail handling to take advantage of fickle winds that get effected by the mountains.
Explore the remote Icelandic coast from a unique perspective and the gateway to the spectacular floral Hornstandir Nature Reserve, only accessible by boat. This adventure is a great way to combine a longer stay in Iceland, the distances between the stops are not huge, but the rewards are great. Arctic Foxes, whales and the variety of birds living together with the flora and the geology of the landscape create a dramatic scenery. Sailing amongst the towering cliffs and in the waters around North West Iceland on a traditional ship is simply the best way to visit this fascinating country.
On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.
Icelandic is Europe’s oldest language, so what you hear ashore is closer to the old Norse that Vikings spoke than modern Norwegian. The population today has a very modern, chic outlook in Reykjavik but in the rural hinterland and coast they endure pitch dark winters and enjoy the summer burst of energy created by living in the land of midnight sun. It shapes their character and links them with their past. Icelandic sagas tell the tale of Viking’s arriving here and making Iceland their home. After centuries of warring the Vikings created a huge amount of early literature and written stories so you can really connect with the lives of sailors and first settlers that lived around 870 BC.
Isafjordur lies within the Westfjords and as a gateway to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, on the edge of the Arctic Circle. The vast nature reserve was left abandoned in 1950 and left to look after itself. There are no roads to this reserve, making the ship the only possible way to explore this magical place. The flora and fauna which has grown wildly there since it was left to nature with 260 flowering plants and ferns provide a great hideout for the arctic foxes.
On a sailing voyage, we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you must go with mother nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.
Setting off from Isafjordur, the Tecla will enter a larger fjord system called the Isafjardarjup. At the center of these fjords lies their maker, the glacier Drangajokull sits just under 1000 metres and watches over the blue waters below. The glacier once covering the land trapped the volcanos below. In this way, the magma below the ice formed the table mountains, now iconic to the area. After the retreat of the glacier the fjords where carved and are still being shaped by the fury of the North Atlantic. Drangajokull is no longer a calving glacier, and has terminal moraines at all its fjords. Making the navigation tricky at some spots and depending on the weather and wind forecast we will shape our course through the fjords.
The main destination during the week is Hornbjarg and its towering bird cliffs, it is home to many sea birds during the short and intensive summer like Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. A walk up the cliffs is breath taking and gives a view into the Greenland Sund and over the bay and mountains to the East. After an exhilarating day of sailing on the Greenland Sund, Hesteyri offers a splendid anchorage. On the banks of this shallow fjord we find the remains for a small settlement. The old doctor’s house is converted into a dormitory and serves the best Icelandic pancakes! Further into the fjord, an old chimney gives away the location of the old whaling factory. The Norwegians built the factory but did not run it very long. It was soon transformed into a Herring processing plant and in use until the late 1940’s. Hesteyri is not completely abandoned, the elf’s still have their throne overlooking the Westfjords. Glowing in the purple of the Lupine it is a truly magical place.
Outside of the fjord the cold East Greenland current collides with the warmer water of the Irminger current, a branch of the North Atlantic Drift. This attracts many large sea mammals like Finwhales, Seinwhales, Humpback whales and Minkey whales. The waters around North West Iceland are very rich and make up for a diverse foot chain. Sperm whales are attracted to the squid feeding of the plankton. Killer whales come to feed of the large numbers of salmon, mackerel and herring. The nutritious waters also atract the many seabirds. Arctic, and long tail skuwa’s chase the Arctic terns and Kittiwakes. Puffins Guillemots and Razorbills dive for the sand eels.
After spending the better part of the week exploring the fjord system we end our trip back in Isafjordur. Hopefully this is not the end of your Icelandic adventure. There is much more on offer and easy to combine after a week of sailing!
With the Tecla we will visit unique places that cannot be reached by anything but boat or ship. The road (mostly gravel track) around Iceland was only completed in 1975, and the NW mountains and fjords were one of the more tricky regions to link up. The absence of fertile lowlands and difficult mountain terrain forced the first settlers to look to the sea for their livelihood. Without any regular contact with the outside world a unique culture developed. Belief in monsters, evil sprits and ghosts was stronger here than anywhere else in Iceland. The area gained a slightly bigger population at the height of the fishing boom years but now wilderness tourism is part of the economy here.
Influenced by the warm Gulf Stream and prevailing South West winds, Iceland’s oceanic climate is surprisingly mild for the latitude. The Icelandic language has words for the eight different strengths of wind from logn (calm) to rok (strong gale) so it is unlikely you will be short of wind for sailing. The mountains can create both shelter and strong gusts but if the wind and swell is off the land then the seas in the fjords and close inshore can be surprisingly flat. Most the major fjord mouths do face West so in a gale from this direction, the ship will need to hide up one of the numerous side branches of the whole fjord sysyem.
Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.
Tecla is very much an adventure charter ship so the style of sailing is ‘hands on’ but her well trained staff recognise that her expedition style voyages attract all types and ages of guest crew. Whether you are a keen traditional sailor who want to learn all the ropes, a bird watcher or a sea lover who just wants to experience a romantic way of travelling, you can all feel part of this little ships community and do what you can manage to help sail the ship and contribute to life on board. She originally sailed with 16 but now prefers to keep guest crew numbers to only 12, so you find the ship pretty spacious.
We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.
Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
Nearby Reykjavik City Airport is the departure airport for domestic flights in Iceland such as Isafjordur. Isafjordur–
Isafjordur is easy to reach by plane. There is a flight twice a day. From the airport you can get to the Tecla by bus, which stops at the hotel just 2 minutes walking away from Tecla. Or you can rent a car and drive. It is possible to rent the car and leave it on the airport on both sides. Take some time and see more of Iceland along the way!
THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly
There is limited storage space on Tecla so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.
What did you enjoy the most? Very difficult to separate out the various events but certainly the fjord voyage was better due to the increased variety of the programme. What was the worst bit? A shore-to-ship rib transfer in rough and windy conditions. Why do you sail? Freedom, adventure, commonality of purpose. Summary of the voyage. Any initial doubts as to the number and experience of the crew were very quickly dispelled and we were impressed with the knowledge and the handling skills of the skipper and the 2 mates. Every opportunity was taken to enhance our enjoyment on both voyages and at every stage we were made to feel relaxed and under no obligation to crew the ship under sometimes testing (but enjoyable) conditions. As an observation, we must congratulate the skipper for her culinary skills under difficult conditions..........the food was perfect for the voyage. Two voyages on Tecla Spring 2019
This was a great voyage. A great mix of sailing in Scottish waters, some super hikes and an opportunity to see some of the immensely important historical sites in the Orkneys and Sheltands. Mooring alongside in Fair Isle was a great privilege. The ocean passage to the Faroes was quiet but as a result we were blessed with clear skies whilst slinking in and out of the islands and some of the best coastal views one could hope to see anywhere. The ocean passage to Iceland was a bit of a bimble until we were 60 miles off and then it got exciting. Thanks to a great skipper and permanent crew we snuggled into a fjord whilst the cruise ship ran aground in Reykjavik harbour. A good holiday, an adventure and fun. K Barker, Tecla Ullapool to Reykjavik, May 2018
What was the best bit? Sailing under the Skye Bridge on a windy, sunny morning. .. What was the worst bit? Being sea sick on the first day, but I can't blame the boat or the crew for that - just the stormy weather. Why do you sail? I have never sailed before, this was a 'give it a try' holiday - it hasn't put me off doing it again sometime Any other comments An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew was competent and friendly, the catering excellent - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla." Jonathan E. Sailing in Scotland
"Brilliant, I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. Food was excellent. I loved the spicy meat balls and my wife loved the fresh langoustines." Steve.
The voyage was " a delight. A competent and engaging professional crew, an interesting voyage with some challenges and some great rewards. Good companions to make the log spin around." Mike
What aspects did you enjoy most? "The sailing from Faroes isles to Iceland in perfect weather." What aspects did you enjoy least? "cannot answer this question as enjoyed every single moment" If you could sum up the trip? "It was my first voyage. I just thought I like being out, I like being active, and I like the sea, so I will have a look at sailing. After that marvellous experience I will certainly continue." Annon feedback form May 2015
Sailed on Tecla to St Kilda in June - amazing crew (Gijs, Janet, Barbara) and great company. I loved everything about the trip and strongly recommend to join the Tecla folks. Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, true sense of teamwork, great guidance and good sense of humour. Can't get any better." Cheers, Thomas M.
"Best Experience Ever (5 stars for sailing, crew and food) " David on TC28/04/14
I sailed aboard Tecla from Oban to the Scillies in very early May. It was cold, wet and mostly pretty windy. It was thoroughly excellent. The Tecla is a great little ship, but it was the skipper and crew (paid and "trainees") that made it for me. Great job, thanks guys. I plan to come again. Steve W
I‘d never been sailing in Iceland or on Tecla so this was a double first for me. What I like about remote places is that the people you meet are welcoming and pleased to see you. They seem to be secure in their communities and proud of where they live. In 8 days in Iceland I only saw one policeman very very briefly. Not at the airport but following us for about 30 seconds in a police car in Reykjavik. Was it cold in Iceland, Yes and No, on arrival there was no need for more than 2 layers on top and one below. But later when sailing and the wind picked up from the north it did require 5 top layers and 2 below but we were less than 30 miles from the Arctic Circle! Overall I really enjoyed the voyage and the wildlife. Adam Purser June 2018
Globe trotting Tall Ship Tecla in action and images. This historic gaff ketch is our Iceland Specialist and also has Greenland Sailing Expeditions. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.
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