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  • Janette Kerr Land of Ice

A fishy Icelandic tale

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

I’m up at 6am – a time that really doesn’t suite me but I’m off on a sea voyage with Skagaströnd fishermen who have agreed to take me. For the last few days it’s been so wild that I’m amazed when finally I get the call from Eiríkur – we’re leaving on the boat at 8am.

I struggle into as many layers as I can since the temperature is -4ºC, and with the chill wind factor it’s going to be even colder out there in the middle of the sea. I waddle down to the harbour and wait for them to arrive. I haven’t seen Skagaströnd at this time of the morning. The sky is pink as I leave the house and there’s a fresh icy breeze blowing, but it’s not snowing and there’s not a gale. I walk through the empty streets, meeting only one other person who turns to watch me as I head down to the harbour.

I hang about and watch pancake ice forming around the Dagrùn until Eiríkur and his son arrive and we board the boat, me a little ungainly, given I’m wearing 2 pairs of thermals, a pair of padded trousers, and thick waterproof snow-pants and can hardly bend my legs.

Ropes untied from the moorings we crowd into the little cabin and set off. It’s about 30 or 40 minutes before we reach the first net. There are three to bring in today that Eiríkur put out yesterday.

The computer monitor shows our position and that of other boats out here fishing, and it indicates our course to the nets.

It’s great to be out on the sea looking back at Skagaströnd and the mountains, feeling the waves moving below me.

Once we get to the nets we’re all out on deck and I'm trying hard not to get in the way. I watch Eiríkur and his son at work – bringing in the net, untangling the large cod from it and slitting them deftly before tossing them into the tanks, even if I do feel a pang for the death of such beautiful fish. Their ability moving with confidence around the deck is impressive – it’s all I can do to keep upright and keep taking photographs.

I’m not going to write anymore as the pictures speak for themselves. We return early afternoon; I smell of the sea and fish blood.

Big fish eat little fish

Thank you to Eiríkur for allowing me to come out with you.

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