geothermal swimming pool at Krossness. This nearby spigot shot the scalding water out. The spray and steam was cast into the cold air like a rippling flag marking the spot - the furthest north I have ever been in my life.
Djúpavík was perfectly picturesque. The boat docked here in the 1940s, brought in as extra housing for workers in the Herring Meal Factory's heyday. Eva saw the rusty ruin differently, as a blight on the scenery. Its deterioration saddens her. The corrosion is weighted in meaning. Next to the factory is an old, unremarkable car similarly rusting away. Its windows are covered in garbage bags. Her neighbor refuses to remove it or store it away inside the factory with Árneshreppur's other dead cars. "It is part of the landscape!" the neighbor argues. They are rarely around to have to look at it.
Ási and Eva moved to Djúpavík, there wasn't yet a road connecting Árneshreppur to the rest of the country. So, they got a motorboat. Amazingly, they were only people in the region to have one. The lifelong residents of Árneshreppur were just used to moving slower, staying put, living off of the sea - fishing, hunting seals, using driftwood to build houses. The people that remain here are content. Some site the fact that this part of the Westfjords has the lowest unemployment rate in Iceland as a sign of promise. One could just as easily say 'there are only as many jobs as people.'
Djúpavík and come back every summer. It makes me feel like that corner of Árneshreppur is safe for at least another generation, it is protected by an attachment and a love. Hornstrandir, that hikers' netherworld in the center of the Westfjords, was still inhabited as recently as the 1950s. Once the last people left, Iceland put the area under national protection as a Nature Reserve. An uninhabited wilderness. Forty-eight people keep Árneshreppur from a similar fate.