- Exploration In The Arctic Pt. I
Iceland Of The South
Iceland: Every year roughly 65,000 flights come and go from the capital city of Reykjavík. These planes ferry bankers, economists, tourists, musicians, writers, politicians, farmers, craftsmen, builders, scientists, and psychologists back and forth between the home island and separate lands.
Desolation Island: there are no flights to Desolation Island. No one has ever landed here, ever! And there are no cities. The only representation of mankind is a small outpost of nomadic scientists studying the island’s biological profundities, like the wingless butterfly. Desolation Island is one of the most remote places on earth – not to mention one of the most difficult to get to – and yet it has a few things in common with Iceland.
Both of these islands are geological masterpieces. They have a bunch of fjords, glaciers, and tons of treeless ice-scapes. If you look at a picture of the two side by side you might easily mistake one for the other. Also, Iceland is close to the 50º latitude, while Desolation is close to the 50º latitude, south. The island is stowed away in the Furious Fifities, a vast conveyor belt of meteorological monstrosities located in the southern hemisphere. Giant sea storms rage here unobstructed and free of continental road blocks. When storms descend on the island it’s with velocity. Desolation Island is the Iceland of the south, but wilder, less elvish, and more defiant. No one has ever surfed here. But like Iceland, pack your hoods and booties, because there’s surf.
As I think some more about Desolation Island, I wonder what it’s actually like to surf there. What’s it actually like? And what are the chances that I’ll see a photo of Dane Reynolds throwing fins there like he did that time back in Iceland when he was wearing a tweed overcoat and a bus-full of famous surfers almost slipped off an icy cliff?
The fact of the matter is, getting to the cold is all about cash. It will take the resources and interest in sending four professional surfers to the bottom of the world. But who’s going to go to an island with no airports and only a handful of gravel roads and the first nazi grave from World War 2?
Wherever there’s money, there’s people. Surfing is not about people, it’s about no people surfing good waves. And its also about money, so that no people surfing good waves equals lots of money. Therefore I conclude, the time it will take to see a photo feature of someone shredding Desolation Island is the time it will take to surf all the other unsurfed places on this planet that are less expensive and more easily accessed. Until then we can only imagine the island’s picnic basket of icy Uluwatus peeling off into the sunset with no one there but nomadic scientists and wingless butterflies.