When one hears the word Iceland the first thing that comes to mind is ice. At least that’s what I naively thought before my epic visit. Believe it or not there is actually a lot of grass and vegetation. From the moment I stepped out of the plane and onto the runway in Reykjavik I knew that this would be a fabulous trip.
I have to confess that I didn’t do much planning for my epic Icelandic journey. In the spirit of spontaneity I decided to book my flight on Thursday, and board my plane on Sunday-three days later . I had a general idea that it would be cold in July, that there must be ice, and whale watching opportunities. I immediately knew that I was in for an amazing trip when I stepped off the plane at about midnight and was so graciously greeted by the midnight sun on the horizon. This was the first time that I had the privilege of gazing at the midnight sun and I was immediately enchanted .I checked into the Park Inn Hotel , unloaded my backpack for the night and sunk into the soft bed so that I would be well rested for this exciting adventure.
The next day I awoke to a cool and grey Icelandic summer day. After a quick breakfast I asked the clerk at the front desk if he could recommend any tour companies that would best suit my interests. I was pleasantly surprised that there were a wide variety of activities ranging from overnight expeditions, day tours, and active excursions of all kinds. There were just so many options to choose from, and finally I decided to take a whale watching cruise.
Iceland is truly one of the best places in the world for whale watching. These majestic mammals enjoy Iceland’s frigid waters and actually live around the coastline. Whales can be spotted throughout the year but the busiest season is June-August.
The most common sightings are of minke whales, white beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises, and if lucky you will spot orcas, sperm whales or the great humpback whale‘s tail when it dives into the deep sea. During the summer months you will also enjoy the presence of sea birds such as the charismatic puffins, arctic terns and guillemots
With my raincoat zipped up and a warm hat on my head I boarded the boat that would sail through the frigid grey waters into the world of these beautiful giants. For about half an hour I sat at the edge of railing and let my thoughts drift into the quiet sea around me. It was one of those moments of peace that will forever be a part of me. All of a sudden the silence was broken by the captain bellowing through the loud speaker,”10:00 minke whale!!!”.At that moment everyone aboard grabbed their camera and ran to catch a glimpse and perhaps a photograph of the minke whale coming up for a breath of air. Soon after the captain again shouted, “3:00” and everyone rushed at once to the opposite side of the boat. I have to admit that it was quite funny to see everyone run back and forth all at once. Surprisingly the constant shift of weight didn’t rock the boat.
We had a great cruise that day. Thankfully we spotted quite a few aquatic celebrities, such minke whales, orcas, dolphins, leaping salmon, and puffins. It was both inspiring and humbling to be so close to a such beautiful creatures.
The cruise returned us to the shores of Reykjavik in broad daylight at 11:00PM .Thankfully the light summer nights allowed for some late souvenir shopping before heading back to my hotel room to get some rest for the next days adventures.
Until next time.