Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Whales and Wild Horses

On our way further north, we made a stop at Dettifoss, an amazingly powerful waterfall in Iceland that is capable of transporting 23,000 tons of water and debris a day! The waterfall and the beautiful canyon that its waters have carved evoked memories of America’s Grand Canyon.

After some more driving, we ended up in the middle of nowhere (no town, just farmhouses) to set up “base camp” in Skulgardur, about 45 km east of Husavik. It is here that we made time to finish our On Assignment projects (photographs and scientific results) in preparation for presentations.

Of course, we also took time to have fun our last official 'field day' in Iceland. We drove into Husavik, the 'whale watching capital' of Iceland and took a three hour boat ride in the freezing cold wind and rain to see some humpback whales in the bay. Sea sickness abounded with the rough seas but in the end it was a good experience for all-- especially when we saw a large snout of a humpback whale breach the water’s surface right next to the boat!

After warming up with hot drinks and food at a local restaurant, we headed to Saltvik farm to ride some horses. It was a fantastic experience and the saying 'if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait 5 minutes' certainly held true! Though it was cold, the rain stopped and the sun peeked out for a while, casting rays on the bay while we galloped on the backs of horses in flower covered fields of Iceland, on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Wow.

As our time in Iceland comes to an end and we reflect on past experiences, we can simply say, 'what a ride!' We have done and seen so much that it is hard to believe we have only been here for 18 days. It seems like a lifetime.

During our time in the wilderness of Iceland, we have left only footprints and taken only photographs, as it should be.

Onwards and upwards!
Joseph and Uly