Icelandic Adventures

We arrived Midnight Thursday night after a delayed departure from Heathrow Airport. We were kind enough to be picked up by one of our team mates (Arnar). We didn’t make any firm plans after hearing we play 4 rounds over Friday (evening), Saturday (double rounds) and Sunday (morning).

Yesterday, the weather was lovely with clear blue skies but let’s not forget the chilled breeze. We decided to go whale watching, which was an hour’s drive away in Grindavik. It was very cold on the boat but we managed a very quick sighting of the White Bottled Nose Dolphin and not before long we were very privileged to see some blow hole action! Our guide Megan, told us that in her 14years of working in Marine Biology she has never seen Blue Whales until four days ago. It’s quite a sad story about the Blue whales – their numbers have dwindled as they were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1900s. In the 1970s there was a ban on whaling that species but even today we estimate their numbers to be in the region of 5000-12000 and that is from hundreds of thousands. You really have to be patient to watch animals in their natural habitat, but it was amazing when you would see their light blue colour (I had always thought they were dark-blue) just under the water and then they would take a breath before diving down.

After this we headed straight back to Reykjavik for a dinner with our team before the start of the first game. Our team are old friends from the biggest town in the North of Iceland called Akuyeri. They all moved to Reykjavik some 20years ago and having started in the 4th division have made the climb to the 1st division. With a lot of strong players in the first division, they decided they needed reinforcements and so brought in Gawain and I was roped in at the last moment.

Our team played Hellir which outrated us on every board except top board. Gawain played GM Simon William (yes, Ginger GM) on Board 1 and it was a very complicated endgame where both players got short on time. I trusted Gawain’s instinct but I wasn’t able to see a clear win but Gawain managed to convert the full point. We managed a 4-4 draw, which is a brilliant result. I myself managed to lose but hopefully I can bounce back later today.

A very welcome hot drink! 🙂