Nik, Kele, Grega and I were invited aboard Johann’s fishing boat…what a treat! Johann is a cod fisherman as is his dad and generations before him. He was raised on a small island north of Iceland’s mainland, called Grimsey. Approximately 40 people inhabited the island. By boat, it is 17 hours to þórshöfn When he was 18, he moved to þórshöfn where he has lived since. As is typical for Icelandic weather, it can change dramatically. When we got past the break water, the seas were a bit rough and the boat was pitching back and forth. For anyone with a weak stomach, this wouldn’t be the day to go out. It was challenging to photograph since walking around the deck wasn’t an option. Bracing myself up against something was my only option of staying afoot.
There were a couple of times I feared we might be throwing out a life line for Kele or Nik. They were brave enough to throw out a fishing line off the deck. Kele caught two and Nik caught one!
They also fished the modern way. I’ll try to describe it adequately. Along the side of the boat are large reels with computers. You drop a line with several hooks on it that resemble fish. The computer will react once it gets a bite, and based on the weight, will reel it in at the appropriate speed. Let’s just say the fish were biting today! It was amazing to watch Johann in his element. He was lighting quick at pulling them on board and “harvesting” them, (I’ll leave out the gory details).
The pitching of the boat didn’t seem to matter to him. Kele on the other hand almost landed in a fish hold…I had my camera ready! He was half way in but managed to recover.
My biggest regret was that I wasn’t able to capture the most exciting moments. In a rush to get on the boat, I left my iPhone behind, which I like to use for video. If I had had it, you would have seen Johann pull in 400 kilos of fish in under 7 minutes! There were 5 to 6 fish on some lines…one right after the other. It was hard to photograph, he was going so fast. The fish were big! The biggest was about 45 pounds. For anyone into fishing, you would have been in your glory with plenty of fish stories to tell. The trip ended safe for all except my camera lens! As I was photographing, my Canon 24-70 2.8L fell off the body and landed hard on the deck of the boat. I have no idea how it released. Maybe with all the jostling, the release button was pushed. I can’t seem to get it on the body. I’m hoping it’s not a total loss and a camera shop may be able to fix it.
As we arrived at the dock, Johann’s father met the boat. In his seventies, he is still fishing and a legend in the town.
Once docked, Johann and his father started to filet the fish. We came away with tons of cod…ok, that might be an exaggeration but it was a lot.
We returned to the Báran and celebrated with a glass of cognac.
Later in the evening, Nik hosted a dinner party complete with candle light. The entrees were duck, beef, lamp and whale. I resisted at first but then decided to try the whale…not my cup of tea. It tasted like liver!
I had so much fun getting to know everyone. I can’t wait to introduce you to more of my new friends on future posts…but it’s late and we have an early morning tomorrow.