A travel story by Michela Garosi
A light drizzle taps on the window of our guesthouse in the heart of Reykjavík. It’s only 9 am but we need to rush to start our adventure. We’ve got a hard day of driving along the Ring Rd, the longest of our tour on our Kia Sportage.
The coffee, so loved by Icelanders as by Italians, awakes us and makes us reconnect with reality: it’s time to refuel, pick up our camping equipment for the week and buy all of what we might need in the middle of the wilderness round the country.
Out from Reykjavík we finally enter into the real magical dimension of Iceland. All around us nature is poetry. A dazzling green from above the volcanic hills goes down until it touches the road, horses with thick fur peek out and waterfalls welcome us everywhere, looking like tears from the mountains.
Four hours later, when we reach Hvammstangi, the sky finally is partially cloudy and the light struggle to come out. We would love to spot some gray seals. 11 kilometers North from the village we meet a lighthouse instead. It’s the first one that lights up our adventure. Skarð Lighthouse is more than 50 m high and dominates the bay. It’s just adorable, so we decide to test our drone in the Icelandic sky. From above this country is even more beautiful!
After a brief “aerial distraction” we are back to our safari in search of seals, therefore we continue along the mud road that runs all around the peninsula. It’s our first day of driving and our red machine has already become brown as all the vehicles we encounter!
Suddenly, just like it happens in Africa during a safari experience, we spot a certain number of cars and a group of people staring at the sea. We immediately join them and finally we meet the first seals. There are seals on our left side who play in the water, others on the right resting on the rocks. All around us the atmosphere is just magical and an endless peace dominates the bay.
On our second day we wake up in Húsavík, in the North of the island, 472 kilometers from the capital; the city now is a distant memory. The Bay of Húsavík is known throughout the country for an intense whale watching activities, mostly concentrated from April to August, before the migration of the mammals to warmer seas.
The North Sailing oak-boat named Hildur takes us on a unique sailing tour combining whale watching, puffin watching and a sailing adventure. Thanks to the visibility, there’s a big chance to see whales, but today we are even luckier than we expected, ‘cause after a couple hours sailing we are literally surrounded by humpbacks! Look like they are posing for us getting closer and closer! These gentle giants are from 12 to 15 meters long and when they come to this bay in the summer months they are super hungry. Watching whales out in the wild it’s truly a unique experience and feelings are difficult to describe. Maybe pictures will help…
But Iceland is also known for the Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula artctica). Their funny expressions are widely popular and we would love to see them, too! Our tour includes also a bird watching experience, so our vessel brings us to Puffin Island (close to Húsavík), where over 300.000 puffins come to nest during breeding season. At this time of year however the cute birds are about to migrate offshore (the migration time is around 15 August), so even if we succeed in spotting some, they fly so fast that they are almost impossible to photograph; except for one which comes close to us showing his red beak full of tiny fishes.
Sailing back to the base we couldn’t ask more than a hot chocolate accompanied by simple cinnamon pastries. Now that we are hot, we are finally ready to head to Góðafoss and Myvatn region.
To be continued…