Embarking earlier this year on May 1, nearly three months and 1,550 miles later, Guðni Páll Viktorsson completed the circumnavigation of the island nation he calls home. The accomplished Icelandic sea kayaker finished the journey beyond his planned 60 days due to extremely inclement weather conditions around the island.
Stormy seas plagued the first half Viktorsson’s journey along Iceland’s South Coast, a stretch notorious for large swells and challenging landings. “I have been very unlucky with the weather which I hope will soon start to change in my favor,” Viktorsson said. “Big surf and difficult landings. Everyday I had to break out of the surf in the mornings. I had to stay in the boat for long times, eight to ten hours, paddling without going to shore.”
He had to endure viscous sandstorms, took care of a farmer’s sheep in exchange for shelter in freezing temperatures, and lost his GPS in the ocean. Although he still had an old one with him, friends paddled out to him to get him a new GPS unit. “I am so thankful and touched from all the beautiful messages I have received,” Viktorsson said. Despite the setbacks, Viktorsson’s resolve was not shaken. Viktorsson is a British Canoe Union Four Star Leader, an honor that signifies a high level of paddling competence.
His quest, especially notable in the region as he is the second Icelander to ever attempt this difficult task, was also an effort to raise awareness for Symbian — a charity that affords Iceland’s less fortunate with food and shelter. “I thought this was a really important cause,” Viktorsson said. “Everybody knows someone who is in need of support from Symbian, and I felt it was important to remind people of those less fortunate among us.”
Learn more about the journey at aroundiceland2013.com.