Blog 4 - Our Whale Tale


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August 14th 2017
Published: August 15th 2017
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Blog 4 – Our Whale Tale - Lake Myvatn to Husavik and onto Akureyri, the capital of the north

Dear all

Well we awoke to another day of heavy showers and the weather was much colder just 9 degrees. Packed the car and headed off to find our first attraction, the mighty Dettifoss Waterfall. Forgot to mention the Iceland word for waterfall is ‘foss’ so Dettifoss has the reputation for being the most powerful foss in all of Europe. So we set off up Highway 862, a secondary road and thankfully it was bitumen. We drove across more volcanic ash landscape, then across land covered in sheets of stone finally making it to the Dettifoss carpark in the middle of nowhere. Walked about 1.5kms over the stones and then heard the roar of water and saw the cloud of mist rising – this was no ordinary little Aussie waterfall.

As we walked along the clifftop we could see an almighty surge of water racing past – the power in the current and rush of water going over the edge was truly awesome. 193 cubic metres of water tears over the cliff every second. So we took lots of photos and watched in awe at Mother Nature before walking back along the cliffs to follow the river for a short walk. It is very hard to believe how much water is in Iceland!

We retraced our drive along the 862 and started on the road to Husavik some 120 kms north. We were driving there to go on a whale and puffin bird adventure and it departed at 2pm. We had an eye on the weather all the time as it was getting wetter and the wind was blowing. Being optimistic we hoped it would just ‘go away’. When we arrived in Husavik, just 60km from the Arctic Circle the sun was shining, the odd shower was happening and the air temp was very cold. We had lots of clothing layers on including beanies, puffer jackets, rain jackets etc. Had a lovely lunch at the harbour before getting kitted out in our flotation suits, gum boots, waterproof gloves and goggles for the big ride out to sea in our fast rib boat. We were told that it was going to be very rough out there but not to worry because the whales were there!!! Great!

So we sat on our pommel like seats, pulled on the gloves and goggles, tied our big suit head protection on and off we went. My goodness it was some ride – straight out to Lundey Island to see the puffin birds. By now the weather was really turning bad and we were going straight into the wind and the waves. The boat was banging into the waves and then we were airborne before crashing down. It took us 35 ins to get out there and GG got drenched when one big wave crashed over us. Talk about a wild ride. All I could think of was, there had better be good puffin viewing and even better whales.

The puffins were amazing. Millions of them were nesting and flocks would fly into the water for food etc. Taking photos was almost impossible as we were rocking up and down so badly. I just clicked and hoped for the best. Luckily a few photos worked out ok.

Then the driver fired up the motor again and off we roared. Further out to sea in the worsening weather. I was starting to think how bad is it going to get and how can you see a whale when you feel like you are in a washing machine! Well amazing things happen and we saw a spout – he gunned the motor and we all shot over the waves again trying to get as close as possible to the whale as it began to surface. It was quite amazing how close we got to it. We were all trying to take photos as well as protect our cameras from the water coming into the boat.

We spent another hour repeating the process, usually waiting about 10 mins then following it again as soon as another spouting occurred. We were joined by other boats and two of the traditional wooden boats. My goodness they rocked and rolled around and we were so happy not be on one of them!

We were all feeling quite cold when they decided it was time to head back into the harbour. We had another exhilarating ride back in but this time with the wind at our back and the boat going with the waves rather than against them so it was a much more comfortable ride. We arrived back in the harbour and of course the driver just had to let it rip for our benefit – a few big high-speed turns with the boat sitting right up and us all enjoying the high speed thrill -hanging on for dear life and getting sopping wet!! Then it was all over. We got off feeling absolutely exhausted and thinking – did we really just do that and did we actually get any whale photos in the crazy seas? Looking at our photos later than night we were thrilled. Of course it would have been easier to go to Hervey Bay to see the whales but then we wouldn’t have had a Husavik Whale Tale to tell.

After we recovered with a hot chocolate we drove another 50kms to the beautiful city of Akureyi. Along the way detoured to see the Godifoss Waterfall, regarded as the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. Now this foss did not disappoint – it was absolutely stunning. The sun was shining on the water and the colours were amazing. Such a contrast to the mighty Dettifoss we had seen in the morning. Message to our dear friend Ros, we were thinking of you and your love of waterfalls when we saw this one so these photos are especially for you. We definitely thought it was without a doubt the best foss.

Arrived at the Icelandair Hotel feeling hungry and exhausted. Enjoyed big bowls of seafood soup in a great little restaurant right in the main street. Outside the café was a burger caravan called “the Aleppo Kebab Shop”. The owners were making the most of a new life in Iceland. After a lovely evening walk through the city we walked back to the hotel and were amazed to see kids still swimming in the outdoor swimming pool – temperature 2 degrees with cool wind blowing and showers. They breed them tough in Iceland.

Cheers to everyone from Leanne and Graham


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