Day 4 for AWF Iceland was designed to be a rest day. We had a long day of travel in store, with smaller stops along the way for pictures and snacks. But after 3 days of climbing, swimming, lifting, hiking, and bus pulling, everyone’s bodies needed the reprieve. We slept in and drove to Holmavik, a small town famous for a witch craft museum and a small shipping industry. While the rest of the group took time to stroll around and take in some of the sights, Sven, Einar, and I re-stocked on supplies and the grocery and evaluated how our meal planning had gone thus far. I think the food has been exceptional this year, in quantity, quality, and variety. The only complaints I have heard is that people are stuffed to the gills, which is something I’ll gladly continue hearing. To this point we’ve eaten burgers, salmon, pork tenderloin, chicken breast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, buckets of Icelandic Skyr, and fresh fruit & nuts by the bagful. I may be gaining weight on this trip, if anything. The refrain “bulking not sulking” has made its way into the vernacular of the group, largely thanks to Dan Edwards, the pride and joy of jolly old England and honorary NorCal gnarly. If we can continue the good eats the rest of the way, I think it will buoy the group for the challenges to come.
In the evening, we were presented with another cool opportunity that was unexpected: sea fishing. For what amounted to about 15 bucks a head, a group of 20 was taken out into the fjord and given poles to fish Icelandic cod. Now, because of modern technology, our captain was able to use sonar to position us directly over a large school of fish, so this didn’t take a whole heap of skill. But this didn’t limit the amount of fun we could have doing it. In roughly an hour we had caught over 30 fish, some of us 3 or 4 apiece. One particular catch was upwards of 11 lbs, easily the biggest fish of the day. For this feat, the catcher was given the privilege of eating the heart of his prey…. While it was still beating. I’m not joking, this actually happened. Erik, who is a bay area firefighter by day, snagged an enormous cod and by the time he had turned around the first mate had gutted it and placed the walnut sized heart on the ice chest for all of us to see. Then ensued the goading of the group, until Erik popped the thing into his mouth, chewed a few times, and gulped it down. Don’t know if this is tradition or just a disgusting way to trick some mainlanders, but I won’t forget it, that’s for sure.
The best part of this fishing expedition was the fact that we got to keep our catch, and are planning on preparing it for dinner tomorrow night. Boiled cod is an Icelandic dietary mainstay, as it turns out, so the circumstances could not have been better.