‘We’ve gone back north to the Hali grounds. The weather forced us off the Westfjords fishing grounds. So the decision was to head for Reykjavík for a half-landing, then wait for the weather to improve and go back out when it had calmed down,’ said Árni Gunnólfsson, skipper of Brim’s freezer trawler Vigri.
Like the rest of the fleet, Árni and his crew had no choice but to seek shelter while the spell of exceptionally bad weather passed over Iceland, causing widespread damage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Árni Gunnólfsson said that they were on the Hali grounds when it became clear that this was more than one of the usual storms on the way.
‘The wind speed was hitting 32 metres per second when we hauled, and as fishing had been good, we decided to go for a half-landing instead of seeking shelter while the storm blew itself out,’ he said, adding that i had already spent time in the shelter of the Ísafjörður Deep during the trip as they sat out a spell of bad weather.
‘The catch had been very good and there’s fish showing up on all fishing areas now. The cod are back and we did well on cod to the east of the Strandagrunn and to the west on the Hali grounds. We had a 330 tonne green weight of fish after seven or eight days and one of those was spent dodging bad weather.’
He said that there are still heavy seas but the weather is improving. The forecast looks good, at least until Sunday.
‘We sailed from Reykjavík yesterday afternoon and had the first haul here on the Hali grounds around midday today. Then the wind speed was 23 metres per second and you can feel the weather’s getting less wild. 15 to 18 metres per second is fine, but anything over that can cause difficulties. We’re searching for saithe now and it looks like we’ll have breathing space now until Sunday at least, according to the forecast. If that’s accurate, then we’ll probably have to shift southwards, but it’s too early to tell yet. The only thing we can be sure of is that we’ll be landing in Reykjavík on 22nd December,’ Árni Gunnólfsson said.