Notes from the Field: 16 September 2015


Foggy, cloudy, windy, rainy. Again. Apparently the north of Iceland has had day after day after day of this weather, all summer. It kept me mostly inside today, not because it was particularly awful but because it was raining enough that I couldn’t walk outside for more than five minutes before my glasses were so coated with water droplets that I couldn’t see.

When I first headed out this morning, I saw off in the dim, misty distance what looked like a bunch of warehouses on fire. As I got closer I dis covered the buildings were the Hveravellir Farm greenhouses, the glow was all the lights and the ‘smoke’ just the steam for the geothermal heating.

I spent about half the day in Husvik, a small fishing town and probably one of the earliest settlements in Iceland. I did a bit of shopping and wandered about the harbor, which had a large wooden sailing ship at dock, but spent most of my time in the Húsavík Whale Museum. Fascinating place… They had whole skeletons for 10-12 different species, almost all recovered from stranded whales that had died.  And I learned that Sperm Whales can dive to at least 3000 meters and can hold their breath up to 120minutes – the ultimate free-divers!

The rest of the day was spent in Jokulsargljufur National Park, primarily at Ásbyrgi Canyon. I saw a total of four other people during the hour I spent in the canyon – presumably the rain was keeping them away – and even though I had no great panoramic views of the horseshoe-shaped canyon, I had the distinct privilege of walking through one of Iceland’s few forests in almost complete silence, with only the patter of rain and the occasional bird call for company.

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