From Iceland — People of Grímsey

People of Grímsey

Published June 2, 2016

Harpa Þórey & Gabríel, shopkeepers (pictured above)
“We moved here in 2005, from Akureyri. The life is very different, and it’s quiet. My husband is from here. We have the fish market, and a couple of boats, this shop, and a hobby farm with fifty sheep and nine horses. We had a couple of lambs yesterday, but they came too early, so they died. The sheep needed a little help and had become sick. It happens.”

Svavar Grímsey fisherman by Art

Svavar, fisherman
“I brought in two tonnes today—the catch varies from seven hundred kilos to five tonnes. We’re catching Gràsleppa now—lumpfish. They’re only here for thirty-three days a year, so I have thirty nets out. I put them out, leave them there, and bring them after two or three days. The sea is pretty rough, so all the nets are close to the island, but in summer, we fish at Kolbeinsey. My father and brother are in the same company—they’re out fishing cod in Drangsnes right now.”

Anna María Grímsey by Art

Anna María, multi-tasker
“I’ve done many different jobs here. My first was ‘stocking the lines’—putting hooks onto fishing lines. Then I was a cook for the men building the new harbour, cooking for fifteen guys and a girl. I couldn’t cook! But they all lived. Then I had the store for nine years, and the post office. I deliver the mail. I work with the ferry, on the white forklift you can see at the docks. I’ve also been working with the Gullsól guesthouse, where I’m the manager. I’ve been in the women’s association for twenty-five years. And worked with the various fish companies. I used to teach dance in the school, and now I clean it. Kind of everything—I can’t say no!”

Karen Nótt Grímsey teacher by Art

Karen Nótt, teacher
“I’ve been here for three years, I’m from Laugarvatn. We have ten kids in the school and three in the kindergarten. Then in the ninth grade, they move away to Akureyri, with relatives usually, when they’re aged fourteen. The school was built in 1966. It’s used for almost everything that happens indoors on the island. It’s the community hall, the school, the kindergarten, the doctor’s office, and the library. We have a zumba class here. And sometimes people hire the place, like a fishing group we get each year.”

Lady Gagga Grímsey by Art

Lady Gagga, multi-tasker
“A lot of tourists will fly to Grímsey for just a few hours. The plane waits for them, and just goes when they’re ready. I take them around and show them the island by car. We go down to the lighthouse, and cross into the Arctic Circle. If there are some puffins, we’ll look at those. Then they get some time to walk around, see the nature, and feel the fresh air. Grímsey is a nice place to live. There are good people here.”

Grímsey sad man

Gunnar, power company worker
“I’ve come from Reykjavík to fill in for my boss. It’s been pretty lonely. There’s not much to do. I don’t know anyone!”

Also read: Living On The Edge: Three Days On Iceland’s Arctic Island.

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