One of the goods pieces of news I got was that the course was planned for Gufuskalar. It is a 2.5 hr drive on a good day up the W coast of Iceland, near the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The facility itself is an abandoned Loran – C station that had been maintained by the USCG until 1995. It must have been a tough location to live for a single enlisted person or young family because of its location and weather. In the past, I have experienced fierce and persistent winds in the 80s that drives rain and snow like darts and takes your breath away. Still it is a unique and overall rewarding place to work because of these conditions and the dogged and uncomplaining nature of the Icelanders.
The class turned out to be smaller than expected because a number of potential students withdrew . It was probably a good idea that our student from Indonesia was one of the ones who decided to bail. A medical student, a couple of nurses, physicians and an EMT from Iceland as well as a nurse/paramedic from Finland showed up.
The first day was like most. I lot of talking about basic stuff. They are all courteously attentive and no one left. Although the weather was clear with just a touch of a breeze (about 20+MPH) in the beginning, conditions worsened toward the end of the day. The second day was pure Iceland and it stayed much the same through Friday. The attached picts and your imagination
The true value of this course (Wilderness Advanced Life Support) is really dependent on smart people with good ideas who are open, willing to challenge what I have to say and willing to share their ideas with all of us. I also have an expectation to learn new ideas that I can steal and then share with students at subsequent courses. Especially as we look toward doing more international courses, flexibility in what and how we teach are ever more important. There are new medications, tools, and procedures. There are even different generic names for familiar medications (e.g., paracetamol for acetaminophen; salbutamol for albuterol). This course worked for me.
As I intimated earlier, the landscape is breathtaking, some of it practically in our front dooryard. Snæfell mountain is across the road from the classroom. This 1450 m+ (4750 ft+) inactive volcano typifies Icelandic geography. The land begins as flat coastal and then rises abruptly. Because of the weather, Einar took a different route back to Reykjavik. Unfortunately, the conditions made taking any good pictures a joke. Suffice it to say, I saw more of this stark beauty.
I spent my last day in Iceland packing, sightseeing and visiting with Einar and Muncey. They seemed happy with the outcome and are hopeful we can do this again in 2 or 3 years. There was a young physician in the class that we hope will be interested in taking over from me in the future.
I made it back to GA despite arriving at the Keflavik airport 35 minutes before departure, lugging 75 lbs pounds of luggage on my back between terminals at JFK and surviving the cattle call for my flight to JAX.
And you wonder why I do all of this