Thursday, 14 July 2016

Akureyi whale watching

Coastal Drive from Sauoarkrokur to Akureyi, whale glimpsing in the evening  

Chatted to the woman running the B&B who had a full house of 26 last night. She was very pleased with the tourist boom.

She advised me to take the coast road to Akureyi. It was a beautiful drive with blue sea, snow on the mountains and green slopes lower down. I just stopped to admire the view every now and again. 

Siglufordur was a fine little old fishing town. At the height of the herring boom there had been millions of fish processed there daily in factories. The fish had been landed on many wharves now changed into eating houses. The herrings were over-fished in the 50s and 60s and the population only recovered after a fishing ban. The Herring Museum was a low light recreation of the fishing industry. The centrepiece comprised two large fishing vessels that one could walk around. Lots of fishing gear, tackles and nets etc. were hanging up. It was a rather melancholy sight and would have been improved by better lighting and more explanation. I sat in the old harbour area with many other tourists including Icelandic bikers and had salmon and mackerel salad. 

I chatted to a woman who runs unions in N Iceland. Everyone working in Iceland is in a union and pays 1% of their salary to it. So the unions are quite powerful.

There are several political parties here including a pirates’ party of people wanting transparency and those 3 MPs work very hard but have rejected ministerial office. 

Akureyi is pleasant town with nice streets with old houses and shops. I think I shall enjoy my 3 days here. 

I went whale watching on an evening sailing. There were about 40 people on a boat. We had a young female guide who explained that we were looking for blow holes to indicate the presence of whales. One has glimpses of whales; first as they breach the surface of the water, then the pectoral fin as they go down for a deep dive. We saw about 4 whales playing around in the fjord, the last one was also playing around with his flippers. It was a beautiful and slightly mystical experience. The light was also beautiful with a gorgeous sunset at midnight. I felt very rewarded to have seen whales on my first evening out here. 

Good: the coastal road to Akureyi
Surprising: seeing whales straightaway
Hotel Nordurland Kea hotels 2 nights

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