Friday, 6 November 2009

Iceland Day 3 - Whale Watching

Ack, who am I kidding, my job is never going to let up sufficiently before the year is out to let me write the posts I'd like to share on the remainder of my trip to Iceland. I keep trying to make the time to squeeze in an update, but it's not happening. The worst of it is that I am on a global project so tomorrow morning I have a conference call first thing with the team in EMEA and then starting at 9pm I have 2 hours of calls with the team in Asia Pacific.

Take it from me, if anyone ever asks you if you want to work on a global project say no and run like hell. If I think too hard about it I want to hide under the covers, preferably with the hottie from digital strategy who sits a few rows away from me and brightens my day considerably every time he passes my desk en route to the printer. Is it wrong of me to wish him to be less environmentally conscious and to print his work out more often ;-)

Anyway, since I lack time to do a proper written update I decided I shall just try and post a few photos on the rest of the trip. Sunday was our 3rd full day in Reykjavik and we trundled down to the harbour and booked ourselves onto a 1pm whale watching tour. We had about an hour to kill before the boat left so we snapped a few photos....

These photogenic little boats are Hvalur whaling ships :-(

A view back to Reykjavik!!

Ooooh it was brass monkeys on the boat I can tell you. I was completely coveting a woman's toasty looking, and seemingly fleece lined, water proof pants. Oooooh I would have been snug as a bug in a rug in those. My top half was fine as I had on my thermals, t-shirt, cardigan, cardigan and coat, but I had been stupidly optimistic about two layers - thick tights and pants - being sufficient to keep the chill off my lower half. Still it was more than some of my fellow tourists were wearing. Some of them had bare skin exposed to the elements. Bare skin!!! Can you believe it? I got frostbite just looking at them. As soon as we were out on open water they were the first ones to take advantage of the complimentary and incredibly unflattering red and blue boiler suits. Not me, I made do with frequent trips inside and a whale punch - not as vile as it sounds, but hot chocolate laced with rum. Yum - to keep me warm. I have my style standards. They may be low, but they do exist.

The tour was great anyway, but unfortunately I don't have many photos to share since the dolphins and Minke whales are very quick and the porpoises notoriously shy. Minke whales take several fast shallow dives before disappearing under water for up to 30-minutes at a time making them difficult to capture on camera, but we tried our best. "I'm staring so intently at the water for whales I think I see the northern lights" said Melissa. Ha ha!!

I did get this dolphin shot though and while it's hardly gonna make the cover of National Geographic I was pleased as punch at my lightening fast finger on the shutter.

I was less successful when it came to capturing the Minke whales and after a while I decided that staring at the water through a camera viewfinder trying to take a picture of the wildlife was no way to actually enjoy the experience I was having, so I gave up.

After two hours freezing to death on the boat we were chomping at the bit for some hot food and were very happy to see the fish shack was already open where Minke whale was upsettingly on the menu. I ordered lobster bisque while Melissa plumped for scallops. I've never been one for lobster finding it too tough, but the lobster (langoustines?) I've tasted in Iceland were melt in your mouth delicious.

We also tried Egils Maltextrakt mixed with Egils Appelsin - which according to the woman who served us is what Icelanders drink at Christmas. It's actually pretty tasty, although I was quite disappointed it lacked alcohol. The packaging certainly looks beer-like, but as the name suggests it's actually a malty drink. "Does it taste like Marmite or Bovril?" queried a fellow British tourist who was wondering about trying it himself. Um...neither because, those vile products are actually made of yeast extract, not malt you dozy bugger I almost said, but didn't. Honestly.


spandrel studios said...

What fantastic timing you have, catching that dolphin mid-dive! Must have been something to see it in person... your trip sounds amazing!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Spandrel,

It was pure luck that I got the dolphin. There were two or three of them jumping so I just kept snapping and eventually I caught one.

It was great anyway I highly recommend it, but definitely wrap up warm if you decide to go whale watching in Iceland :-)

Jonathan said...

Your photos - particularly the one of the statue - reminded me of a trip I made some years ago to Finland.

The peoples of the north inspire me; they live through such hardship (compared to us).

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Jonathan,

They certainly put up with harsher weather, although I think with the appropriate clothing it is not so bad. I personally prefer the cold weather to the hot as at least you can dress for the cold weather. With the hot you don't have much of an option. Not sure I could deal with the 4hours of daylight in winter though :-)

Dorothy Rimson said...

Nice photos. Clicked on exact right time...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Dorothy :-)