While you could easily come to Iceland just for the scenic wonders, there are also numerous adventure tours that are offered all around the Ring Road, including: scuba diving, horseback riding, glacier walks, and whale watching. It’s the later tour that we chose to be our one splurge of the trip. To ensure our spot on the boat, we prearranged an afternoon visit to the whales from Akureyri with Ambassador Whale Watching.
Since the tour didn’t start until 1 pm, we used the morning to leisurely hang out in our room, clean out the car, get caught up on the blog, fold laundry, and enjoy some breakfast treats from the local bakery. We then made our way to the tour office where a bus drove us to the boat about 25 minutes away. The brief ride immediately convinced me that having our own car to drive the Ring Road is the way to go. When I asked the driver to pull over so I could grab a quick shot, imagine my bewilderment when he said no!
We boarded the boat with 40 other eager whale watchers and headed out toward the Greenland Sea. I will admit that I was incredible stoked to shoot whales breaching high out of the water, which is why my heart sank when my camera took this prime opportunity to fail me. No matter what I did, the shutter would not release. Finally, I sat for a few minutes alone and received the lesson. This trip – while great for photography – is about a lot more than pictures.
Back out on deck I joined Trevor and Kelly looking for whales. Sure enough, after scanning the waters for movement, we spotted a couple mighty creatures coming to the surface for air. Even from a distance they were impressive! While other photographers snapped photos of the tails coming out of the water, I held Trevor in my arms and smiled at the moment, knowing there is always a reason for everything.
Of course on the boat ride back to the dock, I fiddled more with my camera and it made a bunch of strange noises before seemingly working again. So no tails of whales, but I managed to snap a great shot of Trevor and Kelly in the sun.
When we arrived back to town it was close to dinnertime and we were hungry. We stopped at Iceland’s equivalent of a family chain restaurant reminiscent of TGI Friday’s, and waited almost 45 minutes for our food. While passing the time, I noticed a bunch of blond Icelandic girls all seated around a table with their heads buried in their smart phones.
We then made our way to the small fishing village of Siglufjordur for the night. The drive took us through two of the longest mountain tunnels I have ever passed through in my life, each about five miles in length! The town used to be bustling with over 10,000 workers handling boat loads of herring, but in the late 1960s when the fish disappeared, so did most of the people.
After we checked in to Guesthouse Siglunes, I spent a couple of hours wandering around the decrepit town, snapping photos with a camera now functioning only on manual. Rusted fishing equipment, colorful worn nets, and interesting old buildings made for some interesting photos, like this one.
And this one…
Back at the hotel, we all tried to sleep as a jovial group of tourists sang Icelandic songs with the help of a lively accordion player. As you might suspect, Trevor was less than enthusiastic that it sounded nothing like Metallica. They eventually ended their fun and we all crashed hard after another long day.