Coastal Kayaking Adventure
This expedition really is a journey into the wilds of Iceland. The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Jökulfirðir glacial fjords and Ísafjarðardjúp bay really are the perfect setting for a remote kayak adventure. We discover secluded spots which are inaccessible by any other means and escape to places where others simply do not go.
Moving from camp to camp we discover the wildlife which flocks to these regions during the summer time. Sea birds come from far and wide to breed along these shores. Marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals are a common sight and the Arctic Fox is an ever-present beauty.
We paddle under towering cliffs, negotiating the waves and rocks which demonstrate nature’s raw power. We will take time to explore rocky coves and inlets and try our hand at surfing small waves should we encounter any.
The camp to camp aspect of this trip along with the exposure to the open ocean and long open water crossings make to journey more suited to kayakers with substantial experience under their belt. If your experience is limited we suggest exploring other trips such as Wild Camp Discovery or Glacier Fjords Kayaking.
We had the most amazing sea kayaking trip, with wild camping at a beautiful bay. Thank you so much to our fantastic guide Ronja who made the trip so much fun and looked after us so well!
- All food
- Ferry and car transfer on the first and last day
- Kayaking gear (kayak, paddle, neoprene pants, dry top, spray skirt, life vest, paddling boots, paddling gloves and additional dry bags)
- Professional guide
- Travel to and from Ísafjörður prior to and after the trip
- Food on the first day until the trip departs
- Personal medical insurance
- Personal equipment and clothing
We meet at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) at 7am for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarmi at 8am. The destination is our renovated farmhouse Kvíar which stands on the shore between the fjords of Veiðleysufjörður and Lónafjörður. Please note that your guide may already be at Kvíar with the group on Paddle in the Wild, in which case you’ll join their trip. Of course, there will be another member of staff at the office to brief you and help prepare before handing you over to the crew on the ferry who will deliver you safely to your guide at Kvíar.
We pack our boats and start paddling. Our first task is to paddle across the bay to the South side of the fjord near Höfði to get a good look at Leirufjörður fjord with the elegant Drangajökull glacier in the distance. The name Leirufjörður (e. silty fjord) explains itself when we see the clay and silt coming from the glacial river of Drangajökull. We then head along the shoreline towards Grunnavík Bay. En-route is a nice rock arch that we can pass under at high tide. There is also a good chance to spot porpoises close to the shore, especially if the sea is calm. At Grunnavík there are a few summerhouses and a nice church that we can take a look at. We set up camp, eat dinner and sleep on the beach.
Distance: 20 km
Today we head out of the Jökulfirðir glacial fjords and into the big bay of Ísafjarðardjúp. We pass many beautiful waterfalls on the way that people rarely experience since they are so inaccessible by foot. We continue along the coast of Snæfjallaströnd and camp either in the beautiful cove in Ytraskarð (20 km) or near the breathtaking Möngufoss waterfall (24 km), all depending on conditions. Campfire on the beach and watch the beautiful sunset.
Distance: 20-24 km
Our first stop on the last full day of kayaking is the island of Æðey. The island is inhabited by one family during the summer months and is a nice place to stop, relax and enjoy life on the island. The waters around the island are covered with puffins and other sea birds. Literally! After visiting the island, we do a long crossing (9 km) to the island of Vigur. The birdlife on the island is quite amazing and the farmers have raised special rock walls for the eider ducks to nest. Puffins are found all over the island. The beautiful and colourful houses are very picturesque and the small coffee house is a great place to stop and relax. We then get going again for the last leg of the trip. We paddle to the village of Súðavík, where a car will pick us up. We then make the 20 minute drive back to Ísafjörður. We arrive back in town at approximately 4pm, in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavík.
Distance: 22 km
This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the group.
Remember the less you bring, the easier it is. There’s plenty of space in the kayaks if you pack wisely.
- Thermal base layers, at least two sets of tops.
- Wool or fleece thermal mid layer.
- Hiking pants. We don’t recommend cotton as it is cold and takes a long time to dry.
- Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore. The lighter - the better.
- Wool/fleece hat.
- One pair of warm gloves for camp.
- 2 to 3 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks.
- Light hiking shoes for strolls in and around camp.
- Sleeping bag rated to at least 0°C. Down is best since it packs smaller than synthetic.
- Sleeping mattress. A thin inflatable one is best as it easily fits inside the boat.
- Sun glasses.
- Sunscreen and after sun cream.
- 1 litre water bottle.
- Personal medical kit i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets etc. Don't forget your personal medication which you may need (e.g. Asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it).
- 2 x Dry bags*
- Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife. (optional)
- Don't forget your camera!
*We use dry bags to keep our personal gear dry, especially sleeping bags. We have a small selection of dry bags which you may use but you should bring at least two of your own. Test it to make sure that all of your gear fits inside!
We supply all paddling gear and clothing. However, feel free to bring your own if you have it available. Your personal gear is guaranteed to fit perfectly and it is comfortable. We recommend good dry pants and top with rubber cuffs or at least a 3mm neoprene wetsuit with a windproof top. A full dry suit is definitely best but can be pretty warm and cumbersome on sunny days but great to have if things get rough. Footwear should preferably be neoprene boots with ankle support and thick soles to safely negotiate the rocky shoreline. Neoprene gloves, mittens or pogies are great at keeping your hands warm.
We use neoprene wetsuits on our trips. However, you can upgrade to a dry suit if you would prefer.
We also have sleeping bags and sleeping pads available to rent. Please select this option during the booking process.
I've been looking into your exciting kayaking trips and I really want to see whales. What is the best trip for that?
Whales are more common in Ísafjarðardjúp Bay. So, this trip would certainly be a good option if you would like to see whales!
What kind of kayaks do you use?
We use plastic sea kayaks. We have both single and tandem kayaks available. We highly recommend using tandem kayaks for our multi-day trips as they are faster, more stable, hold more gear and a lot more social than the singles! Tandem kayaks are not only for beginners, in fact, experienced kayakers will know that tandems are a better choice for longer trips. However, if you are an experienced paddler, then of course the single kayaks are available.
My kayaking experience is limited but I do a lot of outdoor activities and consider myself in good physical shape. Do you think I'm fit to participate in this trip?
We consider this trip to be suitable for experienced paddlers. We will be paddling in areas which can be exposed to strong winds and moderate swell. The camp to camp style as well as the long distance covered and open crossings add an extra element to the trip.
But don't despair! If you have limited experience and still want to experience a multi-day kayak trip we recommend Wild Camp Discovery where you can take things at an easier pace.
I've done fair a bit of kayaking but I can't roll. Is that okay?
You don't need to be able to roll your kayak Greenlandic style. It's very rare that people capsize on multi-day trips as the boats are loaded with gear and very stable. We recommend that people take a weekend course to refresh their skills and learn simple self-rescue techniques. The more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy the trip.
Do you sleep in tents on this trip?
Yes, we do. We supply the tents but you should bring your own sleeping bag and mattress. If you prefer to stay in the comfort of a house, we recommend Glacier Fjords Kayaking where you spend one night in Hesteyri and two nights in Kvíar farmhouse.
I have specific dietary requirements and/or allergies to certain foods. Can you cater to my needs?
Of course, we realise that we’re not all made the same and have different needs and desires. We try our best to cater to your needs. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly.
I don’t have everything on the gear list. Is it possible to rent gear from you?
Yes, we have certain items available for rent. You can rent a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and a dry suit from us if you would like to. Select this option during the booking process.
How do I travel to Ísafjörður?
Here you can see your options on how to travel to our beautiful town: How do I get to Ísafjörður.