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Sailor, Skier, Carpenter, Guide | Vidar Kristinsson

It is all about the people you meet along the way; of stories told, food shared. We set sail in search of Icelandic peaks on board the Aurora, safe in the hands of captain Vidar Kristinsson. Carving out an existence in the isolated beauty of the Westfjords, he spoke of adventures past and wisdom gleaned.

5 years ago I came back to Ísafjordur for a summer job as a carpenter.

My family is from Ísafjordur and I have been coming here since I was a child. I grew up here in the summer farming with my grandfather. 

City life was draining me and I needed to get away. I did various jobs in Reykavík, mainly as a carpenter. But then I came here and started the journey of discovering nature and the forces it has. 

After the summer I decided to stay longer and got a job on a fishing boat and also started working for my uncle on Aurora as a mate and a guide. I did that on and off for about 3 years and then I decided to go to the Isle of Wight to take my Yachtmaster. When I came back in the winter of 2016 I took over Aurora and my uncle bought a new boat. 

I am now the captain on Aurora.

What I do helps me understand the environment around me. This constant journey in nature. Not to understand it but to live with it. 

We call the Aurora a floating mountain hut. She gives us access to the mountain by sea; we spend 6 months of the year afloat. Ski trips in the fjörds and kayaking. In spring we do a long expedition to Jan Mayen. Late summer we sail to Greenland and spend up to 7 weeks there, cruising around. 

Everything we do is dominated by the weather. We hang over weather charts all the time trying to figure out the best shelter. Looking at wind directions and sea conditions. At anchor we want to be tucked away deep in a fjord bottom. Away from wind and swell. 

Just in the last two years surfers start knocking on our door asking for ideas. Looking for the condition we want to stay away from. Offshore this boat can easily handle 40 knots wind and 15 foot waves. If was made for offshore racing. But I loved the idea. I know they do this in the warmer part of the world. But how do you get a 60ft floating mountain close to surf out here? A good challenge. I had been thinking about it for awhile. The area might have two places where I could anchor safely but the surfers needed to hike 7 km to the other side of the peninsula. Where very few surfers have never been. I don´t think anybody knows there are waves you could surf there. But the beach faces NE. 

Surfers understand the ocean very well and have really healthy and natural sense of the ocean. Most of the people we take out are mountain people.  When you are constantly in the elements it teaches you alot of things and you grow a sense and respect for nature. Surfers have so much knowledge about the ocean.  And we are sharing out understanding of nature.  

Surfers that find their way here are always on the hunt for good times in the ocean. It is always inspiring meeting people pushing their limits and seeking out new things. 

In big swell you don´t want to be close to land. It is much different offshore where the waves behave differently. While the wind was offshore on the other side of the peninsula it meant is was onshore where I was anchored. That means the wind is pushing the boat towards land. You never sleep well on a boat when there is onshore wind. You rather be somewhere else. 

It is my home. I would not want to be anywhere else but here. It is hard most of the time. But we are good at working hard.

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