Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 9 - North Iceland - Whales, Waterfalls, and Nature Baths

I'm standing on Godafoss Waterfall
One of the things I was most excited to do was go whale watching in Iceland!  Our tour guide, Linda, signed us up for a trip out of Húsavík, a town known for excellent whale watching.  We also got a chance to see another amazing waterfall on this day called Goðafoss.  Read about our adventure here...

Day 9 - North Iceland - Whales, Waterfalls, and Nature Baths

Whale Watch Boat with North Sailing
We left Akureyri early.  Our travel agent had arranged for our guest house Gula Villan to give us a breakfast basket to go.  We drove Rt 1 to Rt 845 to Rt 85 to catch our 10 am Whale Watching tour with North Sailing.   

It had been pretty cold the past few days (40s Fahrenheit), and we were concerned that we would be freezing out on the boats.  To our surprise and relief, the boat supplied the passengers with warm coveralls to protect us.  

The sail was lovely and the crew hospitable.  The naturalist spoke in English and gave us information about the local area and resident marine mammals.  Iceland is a popular feeding ground in the summer for a number of whale species so it's not surprising that whale watch cruises do well there.  We were lucky to get views of a humpback whale, multiple minke whales, and white-beaked dolphins.  In addition, we enjoyed the beautiful views of the fjords and got lucky with some blue skies out at sea.

Bundled up in for our whale watch!
HumpbackWhale Fluke

We returned three hours later hungry and happy.  We strolled into the busy Naustid restaurant where we enjoyed delicious and heaping bowls of fish soup.  It was the perfect way to warm up after the boat trip.

Fish soup and bread at Naustid
From Húsavík, we headed back to the Ring Road (Rt 1) and retraced part of our drive that morning to seGoðafoss waterfall. From the parking lot, we could walk up to the top of the falls or down to the base on the opposite side.  The water was a turquoise color and it was definitely one of my favorite sights on the trip.  

View from base of Godafoss

Next we went to Stöng Guesthouse.  This guesthouse is off the beaten path but close to the popular tourist area of Myvatn.  It offers dinner for purchase and a continental breakfast.  There was a hot tub on the property but we didn't take advantage of it.  Instead, we decided to drive into Myvatn area to visit the well know Myvatn Nature Baths.  This large geothermal spa is very similar to the Blue Lagoon in the south.  We enjoyed soaking in the warm water and relaxing after days of exploring by car.  We were even treated to a mens' a capella choir that was singing and shooting some sort of movie in the pool! 

Myvatn Nature Baths
We visited nearby Daddi's Pizza for dinner (I mentioned Icelandic people love pizza right?) where we enjoyed a large delicious pizza at a reasonable price.  After dinner we happily returned to our guesthouse to retire.  

Between whales, waterfalls, and nature baths, North Iceland is proving to be a jewel.  

Humpback whale

READ ABOUT THE NEXT DAY HERE: Day 10 - Myvatn - Craters, Sulfur Pots, and Steam Vents

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