Iceland is known to have 4 seasons rotate in 1 day, and as the popular saying goes amongst the population – ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes’. We had thought about hiring a car to drive around the island as soon as I found out about the trip (it was a suprise honeymoon), but were very aware of the drastic weather situation faced in the Winter. Having monitored the weather religiously, we picked up the car on an icey Reykjavik morning and headed to the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of the country. We heading to find killer whales (orcas) on a meer hunch from a marine biologist we had met the day before on a boat trip, but any chance was good enough for us.
Luckily, there are only two bridges in the peninsula – we were told the orcas had been spotted playing under a bridge in the area a few days earlier, so this gave us a clear direction. Getting there was snowy and icey, but we stopped at a whaling fjord near Borgarnes on the way and made it to Snæfellsnes by early afternoon. Our encounter with the whales was brief, amazing and mesmerising, and involved us jumping out of the car, over a bridge and onto a little island to watch a pod of 10-15 whales swim into the bay and guide their prized herring under the bridge to feed.
I had never seen a whale before, and was entranced by their graceful and playful nature; they were not bothered by our presence or of the other couple that had joined us, they just wanted to play and feed. The baby killer whale that was present was thoroughly enjoying itself, splashing the water with its’ tail and doing some backflips, and before you knew it they were gone. Had we been a few minutes later for whatever reason, we may not have seen the whales and the seals that came out of hiding afterwards, and this is something I will never forget; a true once in a lifetime event.
After a long drive back we headed to The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to soak up the events of the day, and what an end to the day it was. I’m glad we decided to go for a swim at night, as it really was like being on another planet; smoke plumes, perfectly warm water and the piercing starry sky. Put it this way, if I lived in Iceland, I would go for a swim there every single night.
The next post in this series will take you on our journey to the iceberg lagoon of Jökulsárlón!