Woman Swims to Shore from Vestmannaeyjar

Vala Hafstað

Early this moring, Sigrún Þuríður Geirsdóttir became the first woman to swim from Vestmannaeyjar islands to Landeyjasandur beach, South Iceland, mbl.is reports. She started off from Eiði, on Heimaey island at 1:10 am and made it to shore four hours and 31 minutes later. She covered a distance of more than 11 km (6.8 mi).

For the first two hours, she was accompanied by dolphins, and interested spectators also included gulls, fulmars and puffins, which watched her closely. Sigrún is a close relative of one of Iceland’s best known swimmers, Eyjólfur Jónsson, who was the first man to swim this stretch. He did so in July of 1959.

“I felt great at the beginning of the swim,” Sigrún states. “Then I felt nauseated and threw up a bit, but felt good otherwise. My thoughts were clear the whole time, and I tried to think positively all the time. In my mind, I was singing and thinking how far I had made it, compared to other distances I have swum.”

Sigrún is the fifth Icelander to swim from Vestmannaeyjar islands to Landeyjasandur beach. On the beach, she was well received by rescue workers from Hvolsvöllur.

Sigrún is used to swimming long distances. In 2015, she became the first Icelandic woman to swim across the English Channel. That was a 34-km (21-mi) distance, from Dover, England, to Cap Gris-Nez, France, which she covered in 22 hours.

In September, she plans to swim across the English Channel again – this time on a relay team of women, who call themselves Marglytturnar (meaning the jellyfish), whose aim it is to bring attention to the declining flora and fauna of the ocean, due to pollution. They plan to collect donations in support of Blái herinn - an Icelandic environmental association, best known for its efforts to clean Icelandic beaches.

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