The weather was not exactly the best, with low cloud / sea fog and rain, and temperature down to ca.4 deg C.
The whale watching was a very cold and wet experience, but totally worth it. We all had to wrap up really well, to keep out both the wet sea spay from the choppy seas, and the cold wind. However, all discomforts were quickly forgotten when we began to see whales and dolphins in the bay.
We then encountered a hybrid whale (mix of Blue Whale and Fin Whale), which has been revisiting this bay for a number of year, which has a distinct (broken) dorsal fin.
We managed to gain some excellent photos of this whale, which was quite huge in size (photo above).
The next whales we encountered was 2 Humpback Whales, with their distinct white large fins.
These whales were more prone to lifting their tales out of the water on point of diving (photo above).
We were also lucky to see quite a few white nose dolphins, which were performing their usual acrobatic stunts jumping out of the water (photo above).
This was also a really great experience, riding Icelandic Horses for a couple of hours along the coastal cliffs of Skjálfandi bay. The staff there were really great and really looked after us – which was highly appreciated. The horse riding was in the cold rain, but we really enjoyed the whole experience, especially riding along the beach section. Dina was our horse riding expert.
We later posted the their logo stickers on both our Expedition Vehicles, to help advertise their excellent service.
Day began with a cold start, after a quite cold night at Mount Askja (Dreki) Campsite. However, as the day progressed, the weather changed much to the better, with blue skies and some occasional warmth from the sun – excellent road trip conditions.
Our first location of the day, was to visit the new lava field from last years Bárðarbunga / Holuhraun extremely active volcanic eruption.
Once at the new lava flow, we walked over the leading edge of this new (less than a year old) lava, along with a friendly couple from the Netherlands, who were also exploring the same area of the new lava flow.
Gunnar conducted 2 quadcopter flights over the lava flow, to film the area with GoPro. During the second flight, the quadcopter experienced full technical failure (probably die to steam & fumes) and crash landed out of sight, into the very sharp new lava – probably the worst place to lose a drone. However, after ca.20 minutes of searching, we managed to recover the downed quadcopter (miracle!), which had sustained serious damage, to both the quadcopter frame and GoPro.
We were hoping the video would be unaffected by the crash, but we are currently experiencing major difficulties extracting the data from the file – we will have to work on this later to see if we can recover the data.
During this long and quite challenging drive through the lava fields, we had the good fortune to have a beautiful view of Herðubreið mountain (1682m) on our left hand side most of the way, which looked spectacular.
During this long drive, we experienced a number of river crossings, a couple of which were quite interesting, as the river levels are higher than normal for this time of year. Everyone enjoyed the river crossings, especially both drivers. We also encountered a couple of deep and dirty large puddles along the roads, which left the cars looking respectfully dirty in true exploration style.
We then drove to Dettifoss (Europe Largest Waterfall) via Grimsstaðir, where we were treated to a spectacular view of this amazing waterfall.
It was nice to be able to walk right up to the edge and experience the full power of the mighty waterfall.
Following this we then retraced our steps to Highway 1, and drove west to Krafla, to experience this geological hot spot.
We passed through by the geothermal energy power station, and walked out to the natural hot springs, with boiling mud pools and fumarole area.
Due to the late timing, we then had to move straight on to Reykjahlið (Mývatn), where we camped the night, after partially cleaning both exploration vehicles and re-inflating the tyres back to normal road use pressures (from the deflated mountain road half pressures).
Overall, it was a very long and tiring day, with a lot of challenges along the way. We were all very tired and extremely hungry by the time we reached our campsite, but fortunately there was an excellent restaurant just across the road, where we could rest and recover, before retiring to bed.
The ferry arrived on schedule, and the unloading went quickly and efficiently.
The weather on arrival was similar to that which greeted us on arrival in Faroe Islands – Low cloud / freezing fog, with light rain.
We then drove to Egilsstaðir Airport, where we fitted the Front Runner Roof Rack System, and loaded the spare wheel onto it, as well as redistributed the weight and equipment for both cars.
We then picked up Anja at the airport, after her Air Iceland internal domestic flight from Reykjavik earlier in the day.
Once we were all sorted, we then drove into Egilsstaðir town centre, to do some food and equipment shopping, buying Iceland SIM cards for internet access, fuel, as well as eating a good lunch, before really starting our epic journey.
Today’s journey was to drive to Mount Askja Camp Site (Road 1 (50km) & 901 (32km) F905 (20km) F910 (65km): 167km) – a challenging drive.
We had a really great first day’s drive in Iceland. We really enjoyed our first river crossing experiences, which went well, and was quite exciting, as the rivers are much higher than normal for this time of year, so it was good that we had the high lift. Unfortunately, the motorcyclists in front of us had a much harder time negotiation the river crossing.
Here is a short video of our first river crossing in Iceland:
The F-mountain roads to Mount Askja are renowned as difficult to negotiate, and we were certainly enjoying the challenge, with lots of very interesting driving conditions all the way.
We met a couple of very helpful and informative Vatnajökull Park Rangers on the final section towards Mount Askja campsite at Dreki.
Here we set-up camp, in very cold conditions, with the outside temperature ca.04 deg C, with the temperature due to drop to -1 Deg C tonight (COLD).
The campsite was quite full, with lots of super jeeps, and cool expedition vehicles – impressive sight.
After establishing camp, we took an evening walk into one on the river canyons close to the campsite, to experience a little more nature, before retiring to the tent for the evening, where we had to use the burner to heat the tent.
Woke up to good weather conditions in Klaksvik Campsite – sun shining on the tent, blue sky and no rain.
After breaking camp, we drove from Klaksvik (Eysturoy) to Tórshavn (Streymoy), in order to catch the Smyril Line Ferry to Iceland.
With good weather all the way, we were treated to some spectacular views of the Faroe Islands magnificent landscapes.
After arriving in Tórshavn, we took a walk around the city centre and waterfront, before checking-in for the ferry.
In the Ferry Check-In line, we had the fortunate opportunity to meet some very nice Icelandic folk, who gave us a lot of very useful advice for our trip ahead, for which we are thankful.
Neil also participated in a Gallup Interview, concerning the Faroe Islands Tourist Board, where he was interviewed to provided feedback on how we enjoyed our time on the Faroe Islands, as well as provided feedback on what we thought the Faroe Islands could do to improve the situation for future visitors (e.g. improve Campsites, Improve Road Signs (with actual road numbers), Improve Parking Options, etc.). For participating in the interview, we were given a music CD from the Faroe Islands, which we look forward to playing on our travels in Iceland.
We then boarded the Smyril Line Ferry M/S Norröna, at the same Torshavn Ferry Terminal we departed from just a few days ago.
Our 2 Arctic Trucks were the first vehicles to board the ferry today.
After boarding the ferry and eating dinner, we once again used the swimming pool facilities (with its natural wave function – see Day 2 Blog).
We then used the remainder of the evening, to catch-up with 2 days of blog news updates, via the ferry “internet connection”.
Also today, Anja flew from Stavanger to Reykjavik, via Oslo, where she almost missed the flight to Reykjavik, due to lightning and thunder storms over Oslo, delaying her first flight by an hour. Luckily, she managed to make the connection, and safely arrived in Reykjavik later in the afternoon.
The day started well, with a quick & efficient departure from Eiði Campsite, where the weather had improved dramatically from yesterday (low cloud / fog and rain) and during the night (wind and rain).
Today’s weather was much more stable, with the low cloud / fog of yesterday completely gone, but with continuous grey cloud coverage all day, cool, but no rain.
Departing from Eiði, we drove across the 662 mountain road, where we were treated to excellent views of both Risin & Kellingin sea stacks, as well as many spectacular views around almost every corner and valley we drove.
We then drove the full length of Eysturoy, along the W side of Funningsfjøður and NE side of Skalafjørður down to Toftir, where we were treated to many spectacular views of the mountainous islands along the way.
Leaving Toftir, we then drove to the top of the hill to the windfarm, where we had full and clear view up and Tangafjøður, and Tórshavn in the distance.
We then retraced our steps on Highway 10, then through the undersea tunnel (Highway 70) to the island of Borðoy, which exhibited some interesting colourful tunnel lights in the mid-tunnel section.
We then set-up camp at Klaksvik campsite mid-afternoon, to ensure that our tent was pitched and ready for our later return that evening (just in case of rain).
We then continued our drive along highway 70, and crossed the narrow bridge to the island of Kunoy, where we drove through a very narrow (one lane) tunnel, to the W side of the island and to the end of the road before returning and continuing our drive across Borðoy along Highway 70 via 2 more very narrow (one lane) tunnels, which was quite interesting, especially when meeting full sized trucks coming the other way.
Once through the narrow tunnels, we crossed the narrow bridge to the island of Viðoy, which was the last of the Faroe Islands that we could visit in the time we had, where we drove to the very end of the road in the north at Viðareiði.
The day ended with the sun finally breaking though occasionally, whilst we were preparing the tent for the evening.
A day full of spectacular views and interesting challenges.
Day began at a reasonable time (ca.09:00), despite sleeping in the cars overnight at Gamlarætt Ferry Terminal (Streymoy).
The poor weather conditions remained the same as the night before, with very low cloud / fog and rain, preventing any views of the fantastic landscapes all around us, and making driving conditions slow.
Occasionally, there were some quick breaks in the low cloud, which allowed occasional glimpses of the landscape, but these were the exception, with rain and low cloud / reduced visibility the main weather condition throughout the day.
We spent the first part of the day exploring the island of Streymoy, then crossing the tunnel under the Vestmannasund to explore the island of Vágar, where we drove to the very end of the road at Gásadalur.
Here, Gunnar conducted a quick “pit-stop” adjustment to Exploration Vehicle 1 (with the kids help and technical advice of course).
On the way back we stopped at Sandavágur, to explore the town centre, voted the most well-kept village in the Faroe Islands, which appeared to be preparing for a street festival / celebration.
We then drove the bridge over the narrow “Sound of Sundini” to the island of Eysturoy, to Eiði, where we put up the tent for the night at the camping ground, where we were well received by the Campsite Manager.
Here we had the opportunity to adjust the packing within the 2 Exploration Vehicles, and to catch-up with our website blog news articles, etc.
The long-term weather forecast for both Faroe Islands and Iceland for the next few days looks relatively good,
so we are quite hopeful and optimistic that we are going to have favourable weather on our side, most / all of the time.
Short-Term Weather & Sea Conditions Forecast
The short-term weather & sea conditions forecast for the next 2 days is also relatively good,
suggesting that the first 2 ferry sections of our trip (Stavanger-Hirtshals & Hirtshals-Torshavn) will go well, without any rough passage or potential sea-sickness issues.
Regular Blog News Updates
Whenever and wherever we can, we will refresh the Blog News with “daily” news updates of our travels and experiences, and download a set of representative photos and videos for our epic journey for that day.
However, there may be some days when we simply don’t have any internet or mobile phone services, so please be patient – we will come back, as soon as we can.
We would like to collectively thank everyone who has helped us achieve our goal, however large or small a part you played, it all really helped in the end – THANK YOU
We are very thankful to Pauline Otreba for her very kind donation of this excellent book.
Pauline is a fellow geoscientist, working with Neil in Eni Norge (Well Operations Department).
As soon as the book arrived, Neil started to read it, and will probably have finished this excellent text book by the time (or well before…) he actually reaches Iceland.
This book will add value to our geological experiences over the next 4 weeks.
A concise and authoritative field guide to an exceptional natural laboratory, this title in the Classic Geology in Europe series is an essential companion for those visiting Iceland to observe the Earth in action. Rifting of the crust, volcanic eruptions and glacial activity are among a host of processes and features to be observed in this fascinating land.
Nowhere else on Earth is the volcanic and tectonic architecture of seafloor rifts better exposed. Large icecaps and extensive river systems grind down the volcanic pile at rapid rates, dispersing and forming thick sequences of sediments. These formations are further modified by the pounding waves of the North Atlantic causing intriguing landforms that exhibit an intricate balance between the construction and erosion of land. Iceland is the only part of the North Atlantic Large Igneous Province that is still active and the only place on Earth where the construction of such provinces can be observed directly. As such, it is a window into the formation of proto-continents early in the Earth’s history. For the past seven million years Iceland has been situated at the boundary of major air and ocean masses and has consequently been exposed to extreme climate changes. The effects of the climate on the rock-forming processes are clearly illustrated by diverse sedimentary and volcanic successions and by the wide range of volcanic landforms formed in sub-aqueous to sub-aerial environments; each succession reflecting the characteristics of internal and external processes.
Icelandic culture cannot be fully comprehended without understanding its geology. Thus the book will interest not only student, amateur and professional geologists but also others attracted by the natural environment and seeking a deeper understanding of what makes Iceland the unique place that it is.
‘This is a lovely pocket-sized guidebook with a wealth of geological detail on places to visit in Iceland and with clear information on specific sites and places of interest along the way. It would be a welcome and affordable addition to anyone’s bookshelf.’