Let's take a moment to acknowledge how completely ridiculous this is. The human body loses heat about 20-25 times faster when wet, even when you're cruising down Splash Mountain on a 110-degree day. Gudlaugur was over three miles from shore, in an area of the world where "shore" is a loose collection of glaciers tied together by frozen hatred. He shouldn't have lasted longer than 20 or 30 minutes at the very most, certainly no longer than Leonardo DiCaprio.
And Gud didn't even have any nude drawings to keep him warm.
Undaunted by the impossibility of his situation, Gudlaugur swam for six hours. Six goddamn hours in a body of water that shares a border with the Norwegian Sea. Most of us couldn't spend six hours in a f**king bathtub, and this stout Nordic fisherman paddled all the way to dry land. When he realized he'd come ashore at a place where the cliffs were too steep to climb, he went back into the ocean to swim to a better spot. And by "better spot", we mean "a field of razor sharp, solidified volcanic lava."
This was a problem, because Gudlaugur had kicked his boots off hours earlier to avoid drowning. But, as you can guess, he walked across the field anyway, losing tons of blood as the deadly terrain chewed his feet apart. Yes, Gudlaugur was living out the plot of Die Hard, except his Hans Gruber was the entire coastal area of Iceland.
Gudlaugur Sigurgeirsson via Faz.net
Greenland is Sgt. Powell in the metaphor.