‘Islandia

Second interview: Iceland presidential candidate Ari Trausti

…We also met Ari Trausti, Iceland presidential candidate in today’s elections. It was pre-election day of silence so it was a great privilege that he devoted 45 minutes of his time to us.

At the end of the interview he confessed that he was very interested in the topic because he had been on the verge of doing something similar, a plane trip through the Arctic region, heavily sponsored, to gather relevant information on climate change, but that everything had come to nothing because the Russians had said niet, and the entire Siberian Arctic strip is essential for the analysis.

He is a versatile science-oriented statesman very involved in spreading scientific issues, especially as regards climate change. He basically told us about the real threat of climate change, the rising of the sea level at a pace of 3 mm per year, the deforestation as an unbalancing element in CO2 cycle, the responsibility of human beings – already exponential – in the process, apart from the periods of the Earth – currently interglacial.

…he spoke about research initiatives on alternative energy sources that would allow us to keep our lifestyle in a cleaner way, about awareness-raising campaigns … And he gave us five key ways of changing our habits to individually diminish the said effects, because it’s us, some more than others, who are directly responsible for a great part of the problem:

1. Recycling. 2. Using public transportation. 3. Buying local products to avoid the emissions produced by transportation from remote places. 4. Growing our own food in our garden or in small pots or greenhouses (there are many models). 5. Reducing consumption.

The future of the planet is in our hands, each one of us in our area of influence and activity. We can’t go on like this, we have to step outside of our comfort area and act differently.

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More on the sixth day: Compulsory recovery after the great crossing

Monday 25th crossing lasted a bit more than 6 hours, but it began at 6 p.m. after spending the day at Wick airport, Scotland, keeping an eye on the weather conditions.

We located two American pilots who were just back from Keflavik and shared with us all kinds of detailed information on their crossing, with the proviso that they were using a 6-cylinder engine, big turbocharged cylinders which enabled them to fly above the clouds, and we weren’t.

All this to say that when we got up on Tuesday to go to Egilsstadir airport the three of us (we two and Harro) showed clear signs of tiredness. We had slept well but it seems the fact that it doesn’t get dark at night shortened our sleep time. We left Heidi‘s little motel (in the middle of green field) and went to the airport in search of good weather conditions that enabled us to go to Reykjavik.

The island’s weather usually follows an alternate pattern, i.e. when it is fine West, it’s bad East, and vice versa, so you need to look for the transition moment to operate on both sides.

In Reykjavik the Spanish Consulate (Pablo‘s contacts from when he came a few weeks ago for his piano concert) will arrange for us a visit to a magnificent research center on the effects of climate change and its origins. It’s a visit we hope to carry out for the longest possible time we are allowed.

We spent the day at the airport, fiddling with the trunk and the pile of bags, labeled according to their use, packing the emergency equipment we had used for the crossing, making small repairs to the plane, and finally refilling the oil and about 200 liters of fuel, which is what we used up during the crossing – slightly more than 30 liters per hour.

People in these surroundings are extremely nice and willing to help in everything; they smile readily even if they can’t say a word in a foreign language.

Late the evening, Benini, the owner of the motel, who works as a controller at the tower, came to pick us up so we could call it off for the day and buy something to have for dinner outside our rooms in the field.

Today, Wednesday, more rested, we will give it another try.

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Sixth day: In eastern Iceland, where shadows are long at midnight

Today, Tuesday, we have woken up in Iceland. We have slept in a three-room hotel, in the middle of the valley formed by the estuary. There’s hardly any traffic here.

It’s a beautiful day, the Sun shines between the clouds and we are wearing the quality wool undershirts we rightly put in our baggage.

Crossing the ocean has been incredible. The only problem is we can never be certain of the weather conditions. These are unknown and changeable places. Serious trouble can happen here at low altitudes.

We did the crossing at 3,000 feet and Harro a bit higher. We have flown along the coast of the Faroe Islands.

The airport where we landed is near the east coast. It’s called Egilsstaðir, surrounded by snowy mountains and half way into the estuary. The local newspaper took a picture of us when we arrived.

We arrived past midnight and the Sun was shining bright creating a very long shadow. Only, our bodies were longing for the horizontal position.

The place we are at is pure green landscape, snowy mountains and nice people. If the weather is ok, we will leave for Reykjavik today.

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Fourth day: End of the first stage. We are at Wick. From here to Iceland

Wick is the Viking word for estuary – the manager of the Norseman Hotel tells us – because this part of Scotland was a stable Viking settlement.

We have finally completed the first stage of the journey, which brings us close to the first leap over the North Atlantic: to Iceland. Harro, a highly experienced German aviator was waiting for us here. He will escort us in his CT light aircraft to Greenland.

On the way from Newcastle, and as suggested by Andrew, the owner of Farnorth Aviation, we decided to stop by at Insch to wait until the weather at Wick let us land.

It has been the best experience so far. Due to the presence of low clouds we had to look for the landing field among green valleys in the Highlands with the help of Aberdeen control.

We landed on a 500-meter freshly mowed lawn runway at the end of which we found a house-tower-club run by Kent, a retired air traffic controller. The house was partly built through collections of contributors and partly thanks to the work of volunteers from Insch’s Community. A paradise for amateur pilots.

When the clouds cleared at Wick and after having watched some of the Valencia GP classifications and drunk some good tea, we took off to land an hour later at Wick, little before the field was closed again (weather is a lottery in this part of the world).

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