Adventures In Iceland; Looking For Whales, Finding Puffins And Coping With A Bit Of Rain
I slept badly last night. Fears about the lack of dark affecting the kids’ sleep proved accurate and we had a lot of little visitors. I had trouble falling asleep too and it wasn’t until we had used some spare pillows to block the light coming around the sides of the slightly too small blackout blinds that I managed to drift off.
So it was after 9 before we were all up, showered, dressed and breakfasted. A quick peek out the door told us that it wasn’t raining at all, so we decided we would go down to the harbour and see if we could get on a whale watching cruise. We’ve been on a few of these over the years, so it wasn’t a biggie if we didn’t make it.
First of all we had to talk DD2 into going on a boat. She gets quite queasy on the ocean but agreed to give it a go again so off we traipsed. Luckily there was room on one of the Elding cruises. We went on a rather small boat with about 30 others and first headed out to one of the puffin islands to take a look at these birds.
On the boat all 4 of ours had to put on life jackets and we managed to procure an anti seasickness tablet for DD2 which definitely improved the experience for her, at least at first.
As we traveled to this island, the guy commentating told us that the puffins in the south of Iceland have failed to raise any chicks to adulthood for a couple of years now. As the water has got warmer, the specific kind of fish they usually eat have disppeared from waters as a kind of mackerel have moved in and eaten them all. The fish the adult puffins catch now are too big for the chicks to eat, but the mums still catch them and give them to the babies, who all simply starve to death. How sad is that?
Although there weren’t many puffins around on the island, there were a few bobbing around in the sea. We got to see a few quite well and they are just so cute; like a cross between a parrot and a penguin with short little stubby wings.
After that, it was out to Faxafloi bay to look for whales. The kids took turns out on the deck with their father, while I stayed in the cabin for a bit with the little ones. At one point we all went out but then it started to rain and got quite rough. A couple of Minke whale were spotted by a couple of people but for the rest of the trip they were quite elusive.
The highlight was probably when the boat hit a decent sized swell and DD1 and 2 got absolutely drenched by it as they were on the front of the boat with their dad. I shouldn’t have laughed as they were both quite stunned by it, but they soon warmed up inside with blankets.
The 3.5 hours sped by without a decent sighting, so we got given complimentary tickets to use anytime in the next 2 years. Yay! An excuse to come back to Iceland again. Perhaps we can do a stopover on the way to North America or something…
Even though we didn’t see a whale, we really enjoyed our cruise with Elding. We saw some fantastic seabirds and the staff were pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. We look forward to going back and doing it again sometime.
Once we were off the boat, we went in search of Pizza for lunch, then back to the Hotel where we all relaxed for a while.
By now it was raining heavily, but we chucked our wet weather gear on and headed down to the waterfront to look for the viking ship sculpture. It wasn’t hard to find and we had it all to ourselves apart from someone fishing off the rocks surrounding it.
Then we headed along the path, into town for some dinner. We went for a Mexican place that served some Icelandic dishes including Minke Whale. DD3 was horrified by its inclusion on the menu and neither DH or I were brave enough to try it. I had Icelandic fish and chips instead and they were very nice.
Then, because it was raining harder than before, and the kids were getting stroppy, I took the younger 3 home in a taxi. It took about 3 minutes and cost the equivalent of £10 (did I mention how expensive everything is here?) but the cab driver was friendly and helpful, so it was worth every krona not to have to drag 4 soaking wet, belligerent, tired kids up a hill to bed.