Our First Paddle in Iceland
It was our first "real day" in the Westfjords. We had driven from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður the previous day and it had taken almost all day. We left around 8 or 9 and pulled into the hotel in time for a late dinner. Albeit we stopped a lot on the way, it is a significant trip and we did take the "long cut" by avoiding Route 608 because we thought it was the wrong thing to do. We stand corrected on that point, but the drive along every fiord to get to Ísafjörður was a fantastic day and for us it was worth the trip.
We had been trying to contact Arctic Adventures via email to set up a trip with a local outfitter in Ísafjörður but what we did not realize as of yet is that their new email system was marking everything from me as spam and disposing of any attempt I made for communication. We finally called when we arrived at the hotel and Arctic Adventures called the local outfitter and had him call us during dinner and set up the trip to Önundarfjörður for the next day. We are very thankful for the after hours work that Arctic Adventues did to connect us with the local outfitter called North Explorers. Önundarfjörður is not a trip that is normally on their schedule when we visited but because it was short notice and Önundarfjörður was close, it seemed like a perfect half day trip for all involved. Anything we would do in the kayak, I felt, was a great way to experience the fjords. We were not disappointed. It was a perfect pick.
North Explorers is a business that is right near the hotel we were staying at in Ísafjörður. Everything in Ísafjörður is near everything else and it was easy to find. Our guide was excellent and fun to be with and really had a love and appreciation for the land and the nature around us. We learned a lot about the local area from him and even got restaurant recommendations. Because it was a custom trip, it was just the two of us and the guide and we could paddle in any direction we wanted to. The guide had a plan in his head after talking with someone else and it ended up being a perfect day.
The landscape in this fiord was stunning, and we picked a route to paddle deeper into the fiord at first, stop for a picnic, and then paddle back past where we started and around a sandbar to a beach to end the trip. It gave us a great feel for the diverse and rugged landscape and we were able to see animals like horses and sheep along the coastline and flounder and seals swimming in the water around us.
Doing a half day was perfect for us at this point in the trip as we had a full day ahead of us the following day for another kayaking trip with North Explorers and it gave us time to visit some other places in the area like the Arctic Fox Museum and do a short hike.