föstudagur 5. september 2014

19 nýnemar á spegilsléttum firði

Nú hefur runnið upp tími nýnema við Háskólasetur Vestfjarða og eru þeir í óða önn að koma sér fyrir og kynnast staðháttum á Ísafirði og næsta nágrenni. Sjöundi árgangurinn telur 19 manns og hófst fyrsta námskeiðið þann 25. ágúst sl.


Síðasta föstudag, þann 29. ágúst, fór hópurinn í bátsferð um Ísafjarðardjúp. Veðrið var með besta móti, blankalogn og sól stærstan hluta dagsins. Einn af nemendunum, Mike Thayne, skrifaði stutta frásögn af ferðinni og fylgir hún hér á eftir, á ensku: 


“Coming to Iceland for the CMM program is much more than an adventure, it is a cultural experience full of people who are all here for the same reason.  Our minds want to absorb knowledge, but our hearts want to be set free by the feeling of adventure, and the unknown.  There are more isolated places in the world, but none that can bring a group of people from around the world together in such a beautiful way and place.  An introductory trip through the Isafjardardjup (“Djúpið”) region captivated my interest in Iceland, and provoked my imagination for research. 


Walking to the university in the morning, the air was crisp and clean, and the ocean calm and welcoming.  The feeling of Isafjordur can calm even the most anxious of souls.  One by one, classmates walked along a harbor that has been in use since the late seventeenth century, amongst towering mountains carved out by ancient glaciers.  In the same order we all gathered in the university and swapped stories of our homes and places of travel over coffee and tea.  At nine we all gathered on a boat and embarked on a little class adventure, set up by beautiful weather and a glassy smooth ocean. 


The first stop we made was at Folafótur peninsula, where we took a nature walk along the coastline, and saw ruins of the inhabitants.  Along the way, Kristín told us stories of true survival and hardship amongst Iceland’s unpredictable weather and oceans.  We ended our walk on a white sandy beach where crystal clear blue-green water crashed little waves onto the sandy shore.  Our Icelandic guide picked us up on a little rubber raft and took us back to the sea faring boat.     


With the sun still shining bright we boarded the boat and headed to our next destination which was more picturesque than many places I’ve seen.  Approaching Vigur island we could see a set of brightly painted houses, and a field of freshly cut grass.  The owner of the island met us at the dock, and walked us up to a windmill that had been built in the mid-1800’s, and told us the history of his family and farm, and of the puffins and other sea birds that migrate to his island every year to nest.  At the end of the walk we all gathered together again and had rhubarb pie and coffee as we gazed across the ocean, and watched seals fish and pose on exposed rock outcrops.  With our bellies happy with pie, we boarded the boat and headed to the old boarding schools of Reykjanes, where we would end our class journey.


As we pulled into Reykjanes, steam rose up from the rocks like smoke from a fire.  Iceland is well known for its geothermal springs and pools, and here in Reykjanes we all experienced groundwater that has traveled deep through Iceland’s crust and reemerged in a developed spring that is fed into a 50 m long pool.  Here we sat and swam, and let the hot water soak up our anxieties and stresses that were no longer needed for everyday existence.  After a two hours soaking in the pool, we gathered together and talked about former students’ research and opportunities for research in an area unlike that of any place on earth.  Tired from our adventure the boat ride back was quiet as people slept and contemplated research, or perhaps the beauty they had just experienced.  The trip had been a pefect day, and perfect introduction to the captivating nature of the land of fire and ice.”