A Whale of a Tale

Yes, that sign says what you think it does

Yesterday was a nice taster of Iceland… volcano crater, basalt columns, fish dinner. But today was going to amp it up. On the schedule was glaciers, cliff walks, ship wrecks, and geothermal pools. We even had some surprises thrown in (which you may be able to guess from the picture above).

In front of the mighty Snaefellsjokul

We started at our digs at the base of Snaefellsjokul, the volcanic glacier which served as the start to Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It was covered with cloud most the time, but when it disappeared, it was quite spectacular.

Welcome to Arnastapi!

We then headed west along the peninsula, to the town of Arnastapi. Here we were situated on a dramatic cliff coast line, with a few kilometers of hiking ahead to reach the nearby town of Hellnar. In Arnastapi this big stoney fella greeted us and sent us on our way hiking along the spectacular coast line.

Dramatic coastline

The hour long hike was turn after turn of glorious scenery…

Just hanging out with the chicks

…dramatic coast, bird life, centuries old lava fields, you name it. It was pretty breathtaking.

Where’d she go?!

Kate even had a chance to play a bit of “Where’s Wally” as evidenced above.

I’m sure the services here would be pretty cool

In Hellnar, there was this quaint little church. I can’t recall having seen a church with a more dramatic backdrop than this one.


From there we kept making our way around the peninsula, stopping at all kinds of remarkable places. We found some more cliffs for shenanigans photos…

Don’t look down!

And we also arrived at this black sand beach, where the wreck of a French boat still lined the shore. Amazing to think that it could still litter the shore over 70 years since it washed up.

Watch your step

We were pretty flat out for the day, but we still found time for a pensive sit and reflect on Iceland…

Just kicking back in Iceland

Continuing on around the coast we came across our first real dramatic spontaneous event. “Who wants to see a dead whale?” asked David our guide. We were all up for it, so he did a quick stop and attempt to turn our small bus around. Best laid plans. Reversing just a few centimeters too far back and we tipped a little over the edge of the road. Oh dear! We weren’t going anywhere.


It wasn’t at all serious, but unfortunately we were a bit stuck. Help was on the way, but fortunately some big burly Icelanders came in by in their dump truck and helped us lift the bus back on the road. Woo hoo! Off to see some dead whale.

Now for those of you who are a bit squemish, best to not look at some of the following photos. But as David pointed out to those who were a bit reluctant to look, your chances of being right next to a sperm whale were pretty much nil. Kate and I jumped at the chance.

Poor whale…

So sure it looked a bit disgusting. And yep, it smelled a little ripe. But it wasn’t as bad as you may expect and it was amazing to be so close to something so huge. Apprently it washed ashore in April, having already died of old age. It was incredible that it was so intact.

Not sure what to make of this

This was quite a find and was a good opportunity for photos.

Kate will have some “tails” to tell on her return

Insert a joke here about having a “whale” of a time

Might seem a bit morbid, but it really was so incredible to come across.

“This is how you do it son”

Having seen the great whale, we kept moving around the peninsula. We made a couple of stops in small towns. In the first I was greeted with these friendly folk… what appeared to be a dad teaching his son how to slit the throat of a fish,. How odd.

Chocolate! With Lentils!

Next place we wheeled in to a supermarket. Two finds! Firstly another flavour of our favourite chocolate bar. With lentils! Before you get excited about lentils and chocolate, we worked out they were pretty much just small smarties.

Next was a strange malt-orange christmas drink. I have had christmas drinks in Norway and they were delicious! So I had to try. You can be the judge of what I thought…

Pic 1: Healthy Optimism

Pic 2: Down it goes

Pic 3: Hhhmmm…. not sure about this one

It was then time to head back to our previous nights lodgings, but with an important stop on the way. Geothermal pool!

Time to relax in the sundlaug

Oh yeah. And it was so nice. Very basic, but after a long day there was nothing like soaking in a natural geothermal hot pool.

Mmmm… tasty cod

To finish off it was another nice dinner, with cod this time. Perfect sustenance for a long day. As I type this I am looking at a sunny midnight. Best get some rest for another busy day tomorrow.


  1. July 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

    these pictures are so lovely!

  2. July 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Those live pictorials of your random-food-adventures are the best.

  3. AyakoGlen
    July 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Absolutely spectacular photo’s Mitt. And the dead whale. Yum – when dipped in a bit of soy sauce. If i was there i would have sunk my choppers in!!!


Leave a Reply