WORK/PROJECT: Volunteers will be working on various different things in and around Djúpavík, which is a small village in the North-West of Iceland.
Tasks will be different; among the main tasks will be to build and maintain hiking trails and walking paths in the area, alongside the paths we will put up sticks and signs. Other tasks will also include taking down old farming fences which have now become danger hazard instead of marking division of properties and land.
In Djúpavík there is an old abandoned herring factory which needs to be maintained, the main tasks this year will be to clean its rooftops. The building is used now by artists and to host diverse cultural events. Furthermore volunteers will be cleaning the coastline between Djúpavíkurkleif and Stekkjarnes. And finally, if time allows, volunteers will be helping locals doing some gardening work.
ACCOMMODATION: Volunteers will be hosted in a local summer house, sleeping on bunk beds. Bringing a warm sleeping bag is needed. Food ingredients will be provided and a kitchen will be available, volunteers will share the duties of preparing and cooking meals.
LOCATION: Djúpavík is located at the head of Reykjarfjörður on the Strandir coast in the Westfjords region (Vestfirðir), in the municipality of Árneshreppur. Perhaps one of Iceland's most remote areas, it is a sheltered bay in a remote region, largely untouched by modern developments where silence reigns and nature continues to shape a rugged, mountainous landscape. The distance from the capital is around 360 km.
You can hardly get further away from the bustle of the towns to enjoy life in the beautiful and peaceful landscapes of this remote area. The bay Djúpavík is among the least frequented parts of the country. The roads up there are only open during the few months of the short summer; it is one of the remotest corners of Europe, where the coastline is covered with vast expanses of driftwood that originated on the other side of the Arctic Ocean, in Russian Siberia; the region is stunningly beautiful and somewhere to really experience Iceland’s wildness.
There has been small farming communities in the district for hundreds of years, but the story of Djúpavík really began in 1915, when Elías Stefánsson started a herring salting station; that worked until 1919 when he went bankrupt; then a herring factory built in 1934 changed the lives of the people for a few years until the last big catches were landed about 20 years later.
Djúpavík is dominated by the huge ruins of its old herring factory and the rusting shipwreck of the 100-year-old former passenger and cargo ship Suðurland. When the herring industry was at its height in the mid-1940s, hundreds lived in this remote location, women salting the fish, men turning the remains into animal meal and oil. The factory went bankrupt in 1954 following a disastrous collapse in fish catches, but the huge costs involved in demolishing the building – once the largest concrete structure in Europe – means that its huge shell remains, reminiscent of a Hollywood set.
Few years ago, world-famous Icelandic band Sigur Rós held a small number of concerts in Iceland. The venues were specially chosen, and the old herring factory in Djúpavík was one of them.
LANGUAGE: English will be the official language in the camp; high proficiency is not a requirement.
TERMINAL: Closest International Airport: Keflavík (Reykjavík), KEF. Closest bus stop is Hvolsvöllur. SEEDS organises the “minibus option”, a shared transport from Reykjavík to the camps and vice-versa, which apart from being cheaper and more convenient, allows volunteers to meet fellow campers and have a relaxed trip, while stopping on the way for interesting and tourist sites.
EXTRAS / SPECIAL REMARKS: Participation fee EUR 120,- (Euros). Excursions are planned for SEEDS’ volunteers, kayak trips in the fjord and a visit to the area and pool in Krossnes, among other recreation activities.