National Geographic : 1969 Aug
Our circumnavigation of Iceland was over; only the run to Great Britain lay ahead. It would be epilogue-but what an epilogue! Winter weather had definitely set in. Gale followed gale, always from the southeast. They made the south coast we had to pass again on the way to Scotland a lee shore and the passage an impossible beat to windward. Gales Hold Yacht in Port Every morning in Reykjavik I checked the weather report. Day after day I returned to Delight and reported to Pat, "No go. What shall we do this afternoon?" Some days we followed old trails of the Vikings, riding Icelandic ponies. Averaging only 13 hands, or 52 inches tall, these rugged beasts have changed little since the Norsemen brought the first ones to the island in the long ago (page 252). 262 On our thirteenth day in Reykjavik, I made my usual trip to the radio shack of the Iceland Coast Guard cutter Maria Julia for the weather forecast. I noted that the mountains were white with fresh snow. I groaned. "Will we never get away?" I asked the old seaman on watch. "Far from home is far from joy," he replied. "Winds today will not be too strong. You may not get another such opportunity until spring. You had better go. Bless." We had sail on and were clearing the har bor within the hour. In three days, racing be fore a fresh northeaster, we made half of the 775-mile passage. We started to relax. With darkness on the third day came a rapidly falling barometer. Gradually the wind veered to head us. It freshened. By 2 o'clock in the morning it was howling in, dead on the nose, at gale force.