Ride the Waves – Rib Boating in the Westman Islands

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It is safe to say that I have been forcing my body to produce more adrenaline than usual. The other day I had massive fun on a buggy. And then we went to the beautiful Westman islands and there we had incredible time rib boating. The best fun you have is the unplanned kind.

Summer here in Iceland has been a bit rainy, windy and cloudy this year. While complaining about the weather is a futile exercise, you always get excited when the forecast is good. We saw the stars align for a short trip to the Westman islands when we saw that the weather looked good and my sister invited us over there. So we drove out to Landeyjaröfn harbour where the ferry Herjólfur took us across to the Westman islands.

Rib boat in the Westman Islands harbor
Embarking on the rib boat.

Westman Islands is an incredible destination

There is so much to do and see in the Westman islands. We did as much as we could in the two days we stayed there. A visit to the Eldheimar museum is a must. It enables you to immerse yourself in the 1973 volcanic eruption. This was followed up a trek up the Eldfell volcano and a fantastic dinner at the legendary Slippurinn Restaurant. More on this later.

We were after a quiet sightseeing tour, went rib boating instead!

We are crazy about going sailing and we knew a several companies offer great sightseeing sailing around the Westman islands. There is a lot of see. The Westman islands is actually a mini archipelago with some 15 islands and some 30 rock stacks and skerries. The Westman Islands are beautiful, rugged and have a teeming birdlife. The puffin is, for example, inextricably connected to the Westman islands. Out initial thought was to have a quiet sightseeing tour but when we got down to the harbour the only folks that were on hand at that precise moment were the daredevils of Rib Safari.

Rib boating - Westman Islands.
Rib boating is not just about speed, thrills and spills. You also get to see a unique view of the Westman Islands.

All down to a T

We explained our longing to sailing and the end result that they invited us to join them to pick up a boyfriend of one of the company´s owners at Landeyjarhöfn. They would swing by the islands of Bjarnarey and Elliðaey and check out the sights there.  We enthusiastically accepted this gracious invitation. And man it was fun. As always, I looked out how they covered safety. And I am happy to report that they have this down to a T. You get a buoyant wetsuit and a life jacket which inflates in contact with water. They taught us how to sit properly on a rib boat. Lean back in the seat and have your knees flexible to meet the waves. And yes hold on the railing and if you want to be super safe.

Elliðaey island - a part of the Westman Islands.
Elliðaey island – a part of the Westman Islands.

Don´t Stop Believing. Never

And off we went. All of a sudden, they turned on music and a list of hits accompanied our rip roaring ride. The sea wasn´t super calm but the captain masterfully directed the boat over the waves of the North Atlantic. When we were out of the harbor he soon put the pedal to metal and boy were we elated when Journey´s Don´t Stop Believing came on! The feeling of speeding across the waves when there is nothing but ocean and sky visible on the horizon is for me the very definition of freedom. I have to go rib boating again!

Giant rockslide at the Bjarnarey island in the Westman Islands archipelago
Giant rockslide at the Bjarnarey island in the Westman Islands archipelago

The Devil takes the wheel – it is more fun that way

After making the stop at Landeyjarhöfn harbour we swung by Bjarnarey and Eliðaey islands. It was heartwarming to see a lot puffins in the sea cliffs since they having had hard times for the past years. But there they were in massive numbers. We also saw evidence of a huge landslide from the cliffs at Bjarney islands. Luckily nobody was in the cliffs collecting eggs as has been customary in the Westman islands since time immemorial.

When we entered the harbour again, the devil took the steering wheel and boy did we pull some Gs! The sea was calm like a mirror so now the captain gave it all he got. My video does not in any way capture the immense thrill of maneuvering and the speed that genius of a captain pulled off. We were going so fast that the wind tore at our faces. I honestly think my eyelids were going to be torn away!

I suppose you just have to experience it for yourself.   

 

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Ride the Waves – Rib Boating in the Westman Islands

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