The 2006 annals of North Sailing
Last year was an eventful one for North Sailing and one of the best from the beginning with regards to whale sightings. The weather was favorable making it easier for the crew to spot whales. The big whales, such as the humpback and the mighty blue whale, were frequent visitors in Skjálfandi bay.
Total sightings during the summer were 99,2% which is a bit more than in an average year. June, July and August were especially successful were sightings were between 98-100% and we only had to cancel trips for 6 days due to bad weather.
In January some renovations were made to the kitchen and upper floor in Gamli Baukur restaurant. At the same time Börkur Emilsson took over the running of the restaurant. Börkur is familiar with the concept as he handled the restaurant for the first two years in 1998 and 1999.
Some changes were made in employed staff. In April Einar Ó. Magnússon joined the North Sailing team. He is an especially experienced captain and very talented in various fields. In June Heimir Harðarson returned from his studies in Denmark and took over as marketing manager from Kristrún Konráðsdóttir who stepped down in end of July. North Sailing´s accountant Rósa Bachmann who has handled the accounting for many years now in part time job was hired full time.
In April North Sailing took over the Húsavík shipyard and has since then serviced 11 boats. During December, some restorations were done to the shipyard and they will continue into 2007.
In May we made the first 3 day tour: “Unique Adventure in the Arctic” on the schooner Haukur. The tour was a huge success. It offers a close encounter with nature, interesting historic sites, magnificent midnight sun, sail training and whale and bird watching.
In the beginning of the year North Sailing acquired an old house in need of refinement and new roles. The house was rebuilt and fitted on North Sailing´s site and Café Skuld was formally opened on June 26th.
During June and July the whale watching was at its peak where humpbacks and blue whales played the main role and 4 species were commonly seen on each tour.
In the last week of July the Húsavík festival ‘Mærudagar’ and Swedish days were held. The Icelandic president, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson opened the festival in a formal way and at the same time the Swedish glass exhibition from the Museum of Design and Applied Art.
The Swedish embassador, Madeleine Ströje Wilkens, attended the opening and announced on behalf of the Swedish foreign ministry and the Swedish king, Carl Gustaf XVI, that Þórunn Harðardóttir was appointed as an honorary consul servicing Norðurþing, Akureyri and Eyjafjörð. Various activities were offered in the week of the festival. Activities as sailing- and sircus lessons for the children, boat trips, live music every night and much more. The weather was excellent the whole week and many people attended the various event. It was estimated that around 4000 people visited Húsavík at the end of the week when the festival peaked.
At the end of July a German schooner, Dagmar Aen, visited Húsavík. She was built in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1931. The owner, Arved Fuchs, was captain on a voyage to Greenland where the crew was to research sea ice and its influence on marine wildlife.
Dagmar Aen stopped in Húsavík for one week and in that time her crew befriended the crew of Haukur. When Dagmar Aen left Húsavík Haukur followed her out the bay as a way to say farewell.
At the end of August humpback whales continued to play a leading role in Skjálfandi bay. One particular animal proved to be especially willing to jump. On August 19th his performance peaked when he did so around 300 times, to the amazement of both passengers and crews.
North Sailing´s annual celebration was held 24th of August and was rather unconventional as usual. This time we went to the mouth of the salmon river Laxá and barbequed on the beach where guests sang by a campfire into the night.
In the middle of September participated in the Vestnorden Travelmart for the 12th time, which this time was held in Reykjavík. In connection with the Travelmart, 15 buyers visited Húsavík and went whale watching with North Sailing prior to the meetings in Reykjavík. The Travelmart was a big success and North Sailing got more meetings with present and future clients than ever.
In September, schooner Haukur circumnavigated Iceland and stopped in 6 harbours around the island. They were: Siglufjörður, Ísafjörður, Bolungarvík, Ólafsvík, Reykjavík and the Vestman islands. In Reykjavík the boat was open to the public for two days and many people came to visit and mingle with the crew. The trip took all together 24 days and was a great experience for crewmembers that participated and the vessel proved well in hard conditions in it´s first long sailing tour where 867 nautical miles (1.607 km) were covered.
In the beginning of October, 13-15 year old students from the local school Borgarhólsskóli, sailed with us on Náttfari and schooner Haukur to Flatey island. On the way, minke whales, white beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises were spotted.
In the light of Iceland´s minister of fisheries decision to resume commercial whaling, North Sailing sent out a statement which can be viewed here: https://www.northsailing.is/news.asp?fID=254
In the beginning of November North Sailing´s newest addition to the fleet arrived in Húsavík. The ship is 109 gross tonnage oak boat and close to 28 meters long built in Esbjer, Denmark in 1964 and is one of the last one´s remaining in Iceland of it´s kind. It is uncertain when renovations of the ship will begin.
In December Café Skuld was opened for the locals and guests where they could enjoy some hot chocolate and pastries. Outside guests could sit by the open fire and the atmosphere was really cozy and in the Christmas spirit.
North Sailing and the local bakery, Heimabakarí
As can be seen from this summary, the year 2006 was an eventful one and hopefully the next one will be as lively and successful.
North Sailing wishes to thank all it´s customers and friends for last year´s cooperation and it is with anticipation in mind that we say: Welcome to Húsavík.