Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Whales, waterfalls, wonders!

I was up earlier than my usual inclination when on holiday but it was to make sure we had time to get to Husavik for our whale watching trip. We got there early! This meant we were able to go on an upgraded trip that included seeing the puffins at Lundy Island and travelling on a schooner (rather than a plastic boat). So I bravely took my sea sickness pill and stepped aboard.

I enjoyed my time, managed not to throw up and saw dolphins and a whale, so for me it was successful. Sandy was on cloud nine, especially when they turned the engine off and raised all 7 sails. My favourite bit was the hot chocolate and cinnamon roll!

The word of the day is 'Pufflings' which is the word to describe baby puffins! So sweet!!

The whale was either an unusually large Minky or a juvenile Finn Whale.

We then bought the makings of a picnic from a supermarket and found a lookout point on the peninsular to eat (very English, picnicking in the car!).

The landscape we were driving through became more and more bleak but was still beautiful. I remember thinking that you could hear the 'birth pangs of creation' in this raw volcanic setting. Sandy said it was not a scene of devastation following a disaster but a landscape that promised new life. This feels like the nursery of a continent - and the ability of tiny plants to grow through rock and lava is a symbol of the power of life.

If Peter Jackson had not chosen New Zealand to film Lord of the Rings, then Iceland would have been the place - sulphur fields would be great for Mordor!

We saw Europe's most powerful waterfall - Dettifoss. 44 metres high and thundering with tonnes of glacial meltwater, it was so dramatic. Hard to take in such power and scale.

On the way back to Hotel Sel at Myvatn we spotted some steam spouts, so stopped to investigate. We found a red, orange and yellow landscape of mud pools and steam vents. Historically this was a site where sulphur had been collected - deposited by the gasses and steam pushing up from magma trapped in the rocks below.

What an amazing day - we have experienced so much. Iceland is proving to be a fascinating and diverse place, full of wonder and beauty. Very strange and powerful - and there is so much more still to see.

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