Tourism Pioneer Takes an Accidental Swim

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Tourism Pioneer Takes an Accidental Swim

Tourism pioneer Jón Eiríksson, better known as Jón Drangeyjarjarl or “Earl of Drangey” island on Skagafjördur fjord in north Iceland, fell into the ocean by accident after ferrying tourists to the island, but managed to swim back ashore on his own accord.

Eiríksson explained to Morgunbladid that he had just taken a group of tourists to Drangey island on his boat when the accident occurred by the pier, which he built himself.

“I thought I’d do some fish angling for dinner while the people were on the island. I turned the boat around as usual and was going to step on board when I slipped, fell onto the pier and from there into the ocean.” 

“The boat was loose and drifted away from the pier. I thought it was rather silly to be there like a fool with people on the island and no boat, so I decided to swim after it,” Eiríksson said. He caught the boat after 20 meters but was unable to climb up the stairs.

The “Earl of Drangey” then fell into the ocean again so he decided to swim ashore and then his boat followed. “The boat just offered its right bow to me where I was sitting on the cliff so I could walk onboard like a gentleman,” he explained.

“I thought it was kind of it, not every Skagfjordian stallion would have done the same [Skagafjördur is famous for its horses]. I then sailed the boat back to the pier and had put on my flotation suit before the people came back onboard, like nothing had happened.”

Eiríksson said he has no doubt that good spirits followed him during his accidental swim like they have done during all his previous trips to Drangey where he has caught eggs from cliffs since 1951. He returned to the island with another group of tourists the next day.

Eiríksson, who comes from the farm Fagranes on Reykjaströnd beach in Skagafjördur, decided to build a pier both on Reykjaströnd and on Drangey to shorten the trip to the this famous island from 60 minutes to 20 minutes.

The tourism pioneer said there had not been a lot of traffic this summer although both native and foreign tourists regularly ask for trips to Drangey.

The outlaw Grettir Ásmundsson from Grettis Saga found shelter on Drangey and legend has it that he once swam to the island with a torch of fire on his back from the mainland.