I woke up to a lovely sunny day on Sunday and lay in the tent thinking how much I was enjoying camping. The trees were casting moving shadows on the canvas, along with a bird that flew past and some insects that were crawling up the tent. All I could hear was the birds singing and the wind blowing. Heavenly.
Moving on from Asbergi, we nearly missed one of the great sights of Iceland, but, luckily, Tim had previously spotted a sign to Dettifoss. We drove up another unmetalled road (these are secondary, maintained routes with numbers, but no tarmac) to the east side of the waterfall, first having a look at the ‘baby’ waterfall downstream called Hafragilsfoss, which was exciting in its own right.
Dettifoss has car parks both sides and the roads are good enough up from route 1 for coaches to bring in hoards of people. It is still worth the scrum. The sheer power of the flow takes your breath away. We could see the spray from quite some distance away and, after we decided it wasn’t the dust trail from another Icelandic driver hacking at high speed along the road, we could see this waterfall was going to be something special.
You have to clamber down some rocky steps and make your way past boulders and other tourists (you need a bit of patience if they come from a tour bus) but the reward is spectacular.
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and you can almost feel the thunder of it in your chest. We were lucky to be there on a sunny day as there was a double rainbow formed in the spray.
It was very tempting to keep on edging closer to the edge to get that perfect shot, but after Tim pointed out just how much the water had undercut the rocks at the edge, I decided to make do with what I had.
We then drove on to Husavik, via a very pretty route that snaked past meadows and cliffs with snow-capped mountains in the distance.
It is hard to make progress here when there are so many photo opportunities. We camped in the convenient town campsite, which is just a half a ten minute stroll from the centre, where we wanted to go whale watching. The facilities vary hugely here in Icelandic campsites. The best have lovely heated showers, a nice kitchen with a seating area for bad weather and lots of loos. This campsite, however, is quite large- everyone wants to come here to see the whales. There are over 100 people here and there are 4 toilets and 2 showers. The facilities are quite clean, but there is only one hand basin to clean your teeth. There is a generous supply of hot water, which flummoxed me for a while. Then it occurred to me that the rotten eggs smell in the loos is not down to people eating too much meat. The water is volcanic, and a free resource. It also explains why all Icelanders do the washing up under a running tap.
We have been eating pretty well so far, but it is quite hard to understand what is in some of the packets. The meal on Monday was pretty inedible- what I thought would be a nice stir fried cod with Chinese vegetables ended up with cuttlefish and veg and with pineapple in it. We threw half of it away (if you know Tim, that is saying something!).
Although it has rained nearly every day, Tuesday was the first time we have had to retreat to our tent to drink our coffee in the morning. It did not stop raining all day. This was a shame as we wanted to go Whale watching. In the end, we decided to go for it, but went on the RIB tour, as we were advised that this is the best chance of getting to the whales because they can react very quickly if there is a sighting. It was cold and wet, we saw no whales, not even a dolphin, but the trip was FANTASTIC. The water was choppy, so we had an extremely exciting ride crashing over the waves. We got very close to a whole load of puffins and came in close to the puffin colony on Lundey Island. There were so many puffins there they seemed to form a swarm above the island. We were close enough to see the colour of their beaks and how they dived in the water. It was a shame that several people were sick…. but I did have a blast. The final ride back into the harbour was exhilarating, culminating in the skipper taking us in a very tight circle. Advice about whale watching. Do not bother with it unless the weather is good, they can’t find the whales.