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Front Page » April 27, 2010 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 1,548 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

Wow I have been staring at this page all week knowing I have to write something and nothing is jumping out at me. As one sports season wraps up and another one is already under way, I feel like I could use a break.

I would like to jump on a plane and head over to Iceland to see the volcano. Okay, I would really, really like to go to the Bahamas and lay on a beach, swim and do nothing for about a week. But the Iceland thing has an appeal too.

I spent a year up in the land of ice and fire back in 1975. I was stationed there on a base next to Keflavic. I tracked Russian subs during the height of the cold war. It was an adventure for me just out of high school.

Four of us arrived there after we completed "A" school for our job. We were mandated to go to classes to understand a little about the culture of Icelandic people. We were encouraged to leave the base and explore the country.

Three of us took them serious and headed to Reykjavik the very first weekend we were there. What a learning experience. Americans were not well liked and we found ourselves being ignored when we were in some places.

We also found out that personal space is not the same every where in the world. That two foot imaginary bubble we like to keep around us is just that-imaginary. After getting run into many times, we learned not to take it personally. I was glad to get back to base and my comfort zone.

I actually did venture off into the heart of the country many more times through out the year I was there. I signed up for several USO tours, one of which was to the island of Westman.

The Westman Island is a cluster of islands south off the coast of Iceland that had a volcano on it that erupted the previous year. We had a cute tour guide named Swen who showed us the effect the volcanic eruption had on the town. The community had rallied to save the fishing industry by spraying the lava flow with water from their boats before it completely closed off the only port in the town. They were successful.

We sat on an ash field and I burned my hand getting up as I pushed an inch deep into the rocks. We saw the puffins and the steeple of a church that had been buried in the lave flow.

I visited the cities of Gridivik, Gulfloss, Selfloss, Geysir as well as several more visits to Reykjavik. I went to Whale Bay and witnessed the slaughter of the whales and prevailed through Iceland's Cod wars with Britain.

I had to deal with 23 hours of daylight (two hours were dusk not dark). We had 20 hours of darkness in the dead of winter. During the year I also was also treated to some of the most amazing displays of Northern Lights.

I saw the experience through the eyes of an eighteen year old. I would love to go back and see the country through the eyes of an... uhmm... older person.

The base was decommissioned and reclaimed by Iceland in 1996. We were always told that the only part of the base we owned was a square foot that the flag pole was on. Still it is sad to know it is no longer there.

The volcano in the news has brought back some good memories even as I have read about the economic disasters and inconveniences it has meant to others.

I don't know, the Bahamas still sound good and I have never been there. I could certainly see it with fresh eyes.

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