Friday, 15 July 2016

Husavik whale museum and watching

Drive to Husavik whale museum, museum of exploration, whale watching, puffins, fish and chips in Akureyi 

I drove over to Husavik for more whale watching. I wanted to do this again because the bay there is the best place to see whales and I hoped to see more than in the Akureyi fjord. 

Husavik is an attractive little fishing port that has morphed into a whale centre. There are at least three different whale trip companies. I visited the whale museum. and enjoyed learning about the different types of whale, their appearance and habits. There were also huge whale skeletons from stranded whales displayed; the one from a blue whale had a fine blue setting and a baby whale skeleton. This made the whale watching much richer. I went on a smaller boat wearing huge waterproofs and with about 30 people on the boat. I sat next to a woman from Southampton who was on a bird watching tour with a group of 12. Our first stop was an island home to thousands of puffins. I learnt to identify the by their fast busy flight. The cliffs were pockmarked with holes for puffin nests, there were hundreds flying around the rock and picking up fish from the water. We then saw about 4 humpbacks. Whale watching is about the glimpses that one gets of these creatures, I saw blow holes, a glimpse of a whole breaching and the huge black flukes of the tails going down for a dive. Again we saw whales being playful. It is an experience that one has to do a lot of self-construction on. I looked out at the grey choppy waters and am amazed that people could go whaling with tiny boats in the 19 c. I am also baffled that nations want to kill these creatures, they are so beautiful and it violates the marine environment. 

I also went to the museum of exploration which is an eccentric collection based around women explorers, the Arctic and the moon. The museum has display about women explorers at the front with panels that included a young Australian woman sailor who did a solo circumnavigation of the globe. Later on there was a section about an Icelandic woman who has done a South Pole exploration. There was then a fascinating section about how women were prevented from joining the NASA space programme in the 1960s because of prejudice. 

On my way back I stopped to look at the beautiful light coming down through clouds onto the grey arctic waters a moment of great beauty. 

I had a long drive back to Akureyi getting just in time for supper of Icelandic fish and chips in a cheerful cafe, two pieces of cod and nice thin cut chips. Back at the hotel I chatted to the receptionist who is a student alternating work and travel. It is much easier to chat to people when one is solo.

Good: whale watching
Surprising: The museum of exploration

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