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The Whale Tale

Wednesday, 5:50pm
Vigafjós Cow Café, Myvatn

While we wait for the cows to be milked (on the other side of the glass partition from the café) I may as well catch up on the trip blog!

We set out from Seydisfjördur on a rather gloomy morning and made our way over the hill and the end of the fjörd to Eigelstatur. First stop was to a drug store for contact lens fluid, which was ridiculously expensive. Memo: bring more next time!

The first four cows are getting hooked up to the milking apparatus. Seems a bit uncomfortable, but the cows have that glazed look of punching the clock workers in the eyes — I guess we all have our jobs to do.

Back to the road: we drove north-east towards northern Iceland. The first couple of valleys were green but as we got closer to the middle of the island the rain-shadow of the surrounding mountains reduced the vegetation to low green moss or even raw rock. If the weather had been better we might have stopped for a few pictures along the way, but it was gray, gloomy and overcast and we pressed on. We drove past Reynalid and the hotel we would be staying at and continued up to the north, driving on a gravel road part of the way, until we came to Husavik, the “whale watching capital of the world”, a medium-sized town on a huge bay. We had a quick lunch in one of the restaurants by the harbour — not memorable food — and signed on for the 3:30 sailing of North Sailing Whale Watchers.

The vessel, a wooden-hulled ship about 50 ft long, set out from harbour into the gloomy bay. At first the wind was moderate, and we cruised northwards towards a couple of other ships which had spotted dolphins. We got close enough for several sightings of four dolphins swimming together and feeding, but after 15 minutes they decided they’d had enough of us and took off for parts unknown.

The ship turned south and west and passed Husavik again, in search of a whale. No whale did we find, but we did get a fair bit more wind, some larger waves, and some ice-cold spray. After a freezing hour we belatedly accepted a long thick raincoat each, supplementing the layers of fleece and Gore-Tex that were already employed. It was really cold.

There was a brief sighting of a minke whale called out, but if it was there it was having none of us: it dove, and swam off before surfacing somewhere out of sight. We returned to port slightly seasick, freezing cold, and still without any whale photos. My hunt continues. 🙂

We checked out of Husavik and drove back through the fog. When we got back to Lake Myvatn and our hotel, the sun had come out from the clouds and all seemed much better with the world. We checked in, stopping for a quick photo of the gorgeous Icelandic horses grazing between the hotel and the lakeshore, and had a great fish dinner before calling it a day.

Looks like the cows are almost done. The café gave us a tiny sampler of the fresh milk: delicious. Time to be on our way.

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