it was always going to be pretty hard to follow up our day eight adventures in storurd, but day nine really outdid itself as probably the dumbest day in iceland.
we kicked things off with an early morning awakening in myvatn, or “lake of midges”. fortunately, the midges are all late sleepers, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as we got ready, got our coffee and hit the road. our camper was starting to exhibit signs of adventures and travels. and in the background of this photo, you can see a cracked and collapsed lava field, i assume a result of geothermal activity below. and the actual lake of the midges in the far off distance.
anyways. our first stop was to a nearby waterfall. it was another high volume and powerful one and also another people-y one, so we arrived early to have the best chance at low crowds. this one is called godifoss, or “waterfall of the gods”. we were able to view it from all sorts of vantage points, with only maybe 1.5 miles of walking.
the best view was at the base of the waterfall. after a slightly treacherous set of stairs, we did some rock hopping and were able to mostly have the place to ourselves.
once we had sufficiently enjoyed the views and taken the photos, we got on the road to akureyri, a port town on the eyjafjordur fjord on the northern coast of iceland. we had a little bit of time to kill before a scheduled whale watching tour, so we hit up several bakeries (still on a quest for that very first cinnamon roll from day one), visited an iconic church, and walked around a bit.
eventually, we made our way to the whale watching tour company, where we began preparations to be on a zippy little boat in the cold waters of the fjord. it included the insulated flotation suits, plus life vests, and this time, goggles.
all was going well. i was in good spirits. but then. HUMANS.
you see, several of us whale watching folk arrived on time, got changed, and were ready to go. but, alas, a few registered participants showed up late, so we all waited around until they arrived and got dressed. no big deal. except then, when we started towards our boat, you’d better believe those late folks made a concerted and aggressive effort to bumrush to the front of the group so they could have the first to seats on the boat. eye roll.
then spent the next couple of hours following around one humpback whale, with the view of the back of these peoples heads. also, their phones all being held up the entire time. our seats were like motorcycle seats that we straddled, so it was impossible to see around them (especially without making things worse for the six others behind us). and the final frustrating part of the whole thing was, whenever we did spot the whale, no matter where it was in relation to our boat, we immediately turned the boat and faced straight towards it.
i realized early on that there was no point trying to get a good pic of the whale. it was so random where it would pop up, and so quick, and so far away, that i just tried to capture it with my own eyeballs. fortunately, our guide took a zillion photos and sent them to us. this is when i realized that if he, with his fancy camera equipment, vast whale spotting experience, and higher unobstructed vantage point was only getting the following pics, i knew i made the right call with putting away my dinky iphone.
i did have a little bit of smug joy at the end of our tour. while all the folks ahead of me had their iphones trained on the waters just ahead of us for the final whale spotting, our friendly humpback leaped out of the water less than 100 feet from the right side of the boat. it was pretty fantastic. but you’ll have to take my word for it because i only have my memories. 😉
we sped back to the little port town, changed out of our gear, loaded up in the campervan and began a five hour commute to the next campground. it was a little bit miserable. we rolled in, very late, to basically a farm. there were two friendly dogs that we played with a bit, and lots of sheep roaming about. and rested up for our last day of adventuring.