Our fifth day was dedicated to the exciting wildlife that you can encounter in the north-eastern part of Iceland: whales and puffins. Large whales and thousand of puffins!

Destination Iceland, Ring Road  and Road no. 85 from Lake Myvtn to Husavik
Where I stayed / Recommendations We stayed in a tent on a “glamp” campground (“originalnorth”) located near road no. 85, about 20 km south of Husavik, and can recommend this accomodation as a real unique experience
Restaurants Restaurant “Gamli Baukur”: very good food, decent prices, and a nice view of the Husavik harbour
Things to do and see Godafoss waterfall: one of my personal favorites
Whale and Puffin watching: amazing!
Recommendations in a nutshell Don’t miss the exciting Icelandic sea life!

Iceland is not the most attractive place regarding its land-living fauna – the only mammals on Icelandic ground are a few rodents and rabbits, and the artic fox. However, the Icelandic sea life is spectacular. Husavik is often branded “The Whale Capital of Iceland”, and with Iceland being one of the best places for whale watching worldwide, Husavik could also be called “The Whale Capital of the World”.

Godafoss waterfall

Having stayed at the Myvatn lake, we started early into the day, after a final view of the Myvatn lake:

Myvatn

Our first stop, just 30 minutes on the ring road in western direction, was the famous Godafoss waterfall. Being pretty far aeay from Reykjavik, up in the north, we almost couldn’t believe our eyes, when we counted more than 15 large tourist busses on the Godafoss carpark. Which flooded the entire area with tourists.

Godafoss

Fortunately, these busses have a tight schedule (and obviously all have the same). After an hour, all busses and most tourists were gone.

Iceland is full of great waterfalls, but each one is somehow special. Godafoss (which translates into “waterfall of the gods”) and Seljalandfoss (link to day 2!) were my personal favorites.

Godafoss

What I liked most about Godafoss is the proximity that you can get to…

Godafoss

…and the numerous perspectives from both sides that are easily accessible. And the rainbow above the spray!

Godafoss

We started on the left side

Godafoss

and went down to the river level…

Godafoss

…and up to the cliff, where the water falls down a good 12 meters.

Godafoss

There are smaller steps ahead of the big fall:

Godafoss

And the entire area is very beautiful.

Godafoss

There’s a footbridge to cross the river and walk from the left to the right river bank. Depending on the time of day, pictures are nicer from one or the other side.

Godafoss

Then we headed for the Whales and Puffins.

“Puffins Island”

We had pre-booked a carbon-neutral whale watching tour with North Sailing. However, when we did not really manage to see lots of Puffins down at Dyrholaey, we decided to change the tour and go for the “whales und puffins” excursion. Good choice! After leaving the harbor of Husavik…

Husavik Harbor sight

…the boat went straight to a small island in the Bay of Husavik, which looks a little bit like an upside-down muffin:

And this “muffin island” is the “puffin island” – our very nice Spanish tour guide told us that more than 80.000 (!) puffins live on this small island! And while approaching the small island, we were surrounded by numerous puffins. In the air, on the sea surface, on the island – puffins everywhere! These small black dots on the picture below – all muffins.

And they are really so cute, when they try to lift up from the water into the air, running over water, flapping vigorously their little wings…So, muffin–puffin island turned out to be a great spot for watching puffins!

Humpback Whales!

Then we turned towards the mountains on the western side of the bay to look for whales. And it didn’t take us more than 10 minutes to spot the first humpback!

Humpback Whale

It was an obviously smaller, young one, which was accompanied by dolphins that wanted to play with it. However, the whale did not like it and tried to get rid of the dolphins by flapping his vertical fins. Seeing the whale getting more and more stressed, our captain decided to leave it alone and so we left after a few minutes.

We encountered the next humpback just a few minutes later – this one being quite relaxed and not taking any notice of us.

Humpback Whale

We followed it for about 20 minutes, taking lots of pictures:

Humpback Whale Humpback Whale Humpback Whale

The third humpback appeared on the scene, and we followed this one again for more than 15 minutes…

Humpback Whale Humpback Whale Humpback Whale

…adoring the elegant movements and trying to get a picture of its tail fin (which difficult with just a cell phone camera…):

Humpback Whale

So, overall we spent a great afternoon in the bay of Husavik, and on our way back to the harbor we even met another humpback:

Humpback Whale

This part of the ocean seems really full of them! Our tour guide told us, that the continental rift runs right through the Husavik bay. Frequent seismic activity enhances the nutrient content of the water, thereby fostering the growth of plankton, and subsequently of all the other organisms higher up in the feed chain. Like the whales and puffins. Anyway, this was my first encounter with humpbacks and the cute little puffin birds, and a pretty awesome one!

Husavik

So, we came back to Husavik with a big smile on our faces. After this experience, all the other things to do at Husavik seem a bit dull, but we had a short walk around the village anyway. There’s a nice little church

Husavik Church

with a colorful inside:

Husavik Church inside

And there’s a small park full of flowers at this time of the year:

yellow flower

Glamping in Northern Iceland

Having booked a “glamping” tent for the night in the middle of nowhere south of Husavik, we decided to have an early dinner at Husavik, and chose the “Gamli Baukur” directly at the harbor. As I don’t like eating fish, I went for a Risotto – and it turned out to be one of the best ever! After dinner we went to the “glamp” ground (“originalnorth”, www.originalnorth.is). They had sent us the GPS coordinates in advance, but in the end it was really easy to find. We got tent no. 2:

Glamping tent northern iceland

with a great view of the river from our bed:

Glamping tent northern iceland

Concerns about the low temperatures at night were absolutely unnecessary – there are two infrared heaters in each tent, and in addition heated bedsheets. So, it’s really warm and cosy! And would have been a wonderful night if the birds had not been that loud throughout the night. OK, that’s complaining on “a high level”…it was really a unique and lovely experience!

Before we went to bed, we decided to explore the vicinity a bit. There’s a small road that we followed along the river,

glamping ground

and we ended up at a small lake.

lake in northern iceland

A very calm and peaceful area! And an overnight stay that we can recommend umambiguously!

Greetings from Godafoss!

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