Richard’s Hot Pool

lin_and_yvonne_and_lighthouse.jpg

We’ve just arrived at our second base in Iceland, Akureyri.  We have spent the last 10 days sailing here from Isafjord.  If we had come direct it would have been 180 nm but with weaving in and out of narrow fjords and exploring out of the way places we have logged 345 nm. 

Iceland is known for its geothermal activity and natural hot springs.  Many areas harness these and they are the source of the hot water for the houses and local swimming pools and hot pots.   Richard has spent hours pouring over guide books to see if there were any ‘natural hot pools’ on our route.

We thought we might have found one with the following description of Gjogur:  Legendary fishing centre at the mouth of Reykjarfjordur, now almost depopulated, but once renowned for its heroic open-boat shark fishermen.  15 – 18 boats at a time would brave the elements to catch shark for liver oil and its meat, what was cured.  North of the lighthouse are geothermal springs.

Hidden away at the end of a completely unrelated paragraph we nearly missed it, but there it was.  No matter how much we scoured the other guide books we could find no more mention of Gjogur or the springs.

It did not take us long to find Gjogur on the chart, and plan a visit into our itinerary.  The weather was kind to us for our visit to Reykjarfjordur, with slightly overcast skies and not a breath of wind.  We set off and motored from our anchorage in Trekyllisvik around the headland with the lighthouse and into Reykjarfjordur.  On the way Yvonne and I scoured the headland with binoculars looking for signs of steam rising, whilst Richard prepared a fantastic packed lunch for us to take on our search.

The anchorage at Gjogur is about a mile from the lighthouse, but the airport and runway are in the way so we had a bit of a detour.  We had no idea what we were looking for, and so tested every puddle or stream we came across – all disappointingly icy cold.  We searched the entire headland to the north of the lighthouse, but could find nothing!   We decided to start from the lighthouse and walk north, across the black stones and rock pools filled with sea water.  There amongst the rocks, we found a slightly elevated part and here the water seemed to feel warm.  Was it wishful thinking?  We continued on and found a pool of water with steam rising.  This must be it, but how disappointing, the thermal pool was being constantly cooled by sea water making it tepid and was full of multi coloured sea weed.  We certainly did not feel like stripping off and heading in.

Not to be deterred, Richard continued his scour of the area, and decided to climb higher up the rocks for a better vantage point.  From here he could see the steam, not from below him but actually from higher up!  There was a magnificent natural rock pool, which had been well dammed off with loose rocks, and retained the water to make a hot tub about two feet deep. 

Yvonne and I quickly scrambled up the rocks after Richard and found somewhere to change before joining him in the pool.  The water was luxuriously warm, unless you sat above the main heat source where it was scalding hot.  We enjoyed ourselves relaxing in the pool for about half an hour before turning pink.

This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  We continued from Gjogur to see the herring museum in Siglufjordur, the puffins on Grimsey Island, loads of whales in Skalfandi bay, the whale museum in Husavik, the abandoned island of Flatey and the nature reserve on Hrisey before sailing south down Eyjafjord to Akureyri. 

We will be doing this trip in reverse from the 9th to 19th August.  Iceland Highlights 2 on our website.  There is now a special offer on this trip of 33 per cent off making it £900 for 10 nights – why not join us and sample the hot pool for yourself.
richard_in_pool.jpg