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Iceland 2007

Part 2 - Myvatn, Krafla fissure & Whale watching.

1.08.07 - Myvatn

It had rained all night but it finally stopped at about 7.30am, after some breakfast and a shower we decided to try and circumnavigate the lake. We cycled down the east side of Myvatn Lake in a clockwise direction. It was an overcast day with a little drizzle and there was a chill in the wind. We decided to stop for a warm and for what we Brits call 'Eleven's' at the Cowshed Café. I had read about this place in the guide. It is literally a cafe in a cowshed, with big picture windows looking in on the milking parlor. They told us that they normally milked the cows at 7.30am and 6.00pm, so we decided it would be nice to come back later and see the milking. After a good cup of tea and some lovely Carrot cake we were suitably warm and set off again. Just down the road was the sign to the 'Dimmuborqir' we decided to have a look around.  As we got there, there were several coaches disgorging their occupants. The coach party leaders made us laugh as they walked around holding their red numbered tennis table bats above their heads leading their charges like Pied Pipers. This area is an amazing set of lava formations formed from a steam lava pool formed during an eruption in the Ludentarborgir. This pool later drained away towards the lake and the pillars were formed by steam as it rose through the lava. It is one of only two in the world; the other one is in Mexico. We followed the red route to the Kirkja, a lava cavern given the name as it is like being in a rock church. From there we took the light blue route through the middle.

Our next port of call was the Höfdir klasar nature reserve a little further down the lake side. It is a slightly strange nature reserve as parts of it are tended as a garden. Unfortunately we arrived just as a tourist bus was emptying, which meant that we didn't see that much as they weren't exactly quiet! However we did see Redwing, Redpoll, Goldeneye duck and a female Harlequin duck with chicks. It was then 4.45pm so we abandoned our planned circumnavigation of the lake and headed back to the cowshed for something to eat and drink. Due to the cold winds and persistent showers we hadn't managed to find any where for a brew and have our lunch, which we had brought with us. The ride back to the cowshed wasn't that far but it was straight into the teeth of the biting wind. Frank had problems seeing as she had to pull her hood down so far to keep out the cold wind. We were glad to get to the warmth of the cowshed cafe. As we had missed out on lunch we decided to have something to eat. I had meat and vegetable soup and Frank had a mixed plate of raw smoked lamb, smoked trout and gravelax salmon all with cottage and mozzarella cheese, dill sauce and salad.

The cafe has big picture windows looking in on the milking parlour and while we were eating they brought in the cows and started milking them. Later they brought in some of the fresh milk for us to try it was still warm and tasted gorgeous. The rain had stopped as we left the Cowshed café but the wind was still cold. It didn't take us that long to get back to the campsite and we immediately headed for the hot showers

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2.08.07 - Myvatn

After the rather dismal overcast day yesterday we couldn’t believe the change in the weather. As we made breakfast we could see blue sky appearing through the clouds. We decided that today was the day to try and finish our circumnavigation of Myvatn Lake. We set of clockwise and headed down to the Höfdir Klasar nature reserve to had a look at the weird lava forms in the lake from the other side. As we walked around the Kálfaströnd the sun kept coming out in tantalizing bursts. There were several Borrows Goldeneye on the lake but there were always a good way off and you would have needed a telescope to get a good view. Just before we got to Skútusadir we spotted a small track and headed down it to see if we could find a good spot next to the lake for lunch. Unfortunately there was still quite a chill northerly wind so we found a sheltered spot behind a small bluff.

After our lunch we had a look at the rather strange psuedocraters at Skútusaðir and while we were there a family of terns entertained us. The parents were diving for small fish in the lake and feeding a rather noisy chick, which sat on a rock just below us. We headed on west and turned north over the river Laxa, reported to be one of the finest Salmon Rivers in Iceland. As we headed north you could see the small hill Vindbelgjarfjall 529m which sticks up as a lump on the west side of the lake. As the weather was so good by now with hardly a cloud in the sky we decided to leave the bikes by the side of the road and climb to the summit. The climb is 252m and the paths zig zaged up the NW flank. Due to the clear weather there was an awesome view from top, with Myvatn Lake and the psuedocraters spread out before us. The climb is about 5km long as a round trip and it took us about 45mins to get to the top.

As we headed around the west side of Myvatn lake we stopped to have a look at several Whooper Swans on the shoreline, while we were there a guy on a Thorn tourer came by. I waved and he stopped to have a chat. He was Australian and had taken a year off work and had biked across the states from LA to New York then flown to London and cycled up to Aberdeen where he had caught a ferry to the Shetlands. From there he had caught the Norröna to the Faeroes and then on to Iceland. He had had travelled clockwise around route 1 and had come that day from Akureyri. He said that his plan was to go across to Norway and then down south to Amsterdam. There he would then meet his girl friend and then travel through Africa but not by bike! He admitted that after being on the road for 6 months he had had enough. I do wonder about long solo tours, it does sound idyllic just you, the bike and the open road but without a companion to share the experiences it must get lonely. We wished him well and he carried on his way. It didn’t take that long to finish the circumnavigation back to Reykjahlið and to finish the day off nicely we were treated to a wonderful sunset of Myvatn Lake.

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3.08.07 Námafjall

After the beautiful day yesterday we woke to rain and it took us a while to get going the plan was to go to Krafla and the Myvatn Thermal baths. As we went over to the supermarket we met up with the Aussie guy we had met yesterday, he was standing outside the tourist information centre. As it was cold standing outside we went inside for a warm and a cup of coffee. We had a long chat with him as we waited for the weather to improve. It turned out that he was also a teacher in OZ and it was quite interesting to hear what it was like teaching in Australia. From what we gathered they have the same problems and it's not that different from teaching in the UK. John was obviously quite a character and from all accounts a bit of a staffroom lawyer. We eventually got going and headed up past the settling ponds from the geothermal vents towards the steep climb to the top of the Námaskard. From there we decided to leave the bikes and walk along the Námafjall ridge above the fumaroles and boiling mud pits we had seen a couple of days ago. The ridge was covered with steaming and hot sulphurous vents and gave us a different perspective on the whole Hverir area. As we came back down the ridge we heard a siren and actually saw a police car pulling over a driver, apparently this is quite an event in Iceland! As we got to our bikes we met a Belgium couple who were also touring, they had apparently been at the same campsite as us and were heading off towards Dettifoss. To us it seemed a little late as it was now 17.18hrs. The lassie looked absolutely nithered as they talked to us. They asked us about where the National Park boundaries were, as they were hoping to camp wild. Unfortunately I had left my main map in the tent so I couldn't help them but we wish them good luck. We decided ourselves that it was too late to go up to Krafla and headed back down the hill to go swimming at Jardbadsholar the Myvatn Nature baths.

It's a novel experience as it is a lagoon which they had scrapped out of the volcanic cinders and fill with water from the geothermal fissures. It is kept at a constant 39-40ºC and contains a high sulphur and mineral content which gives the water a soapy feel and makes it quite buoyant. It a strange experience as you are in a large outdoor pool but being lovely and warm whilst being rained on and watching people outside all wrapped up in woolly jumpers and waterproofs! Frank wasn't looking forward to getting out and didn't really want to, as she reckoned that it was the first time she had been properly warm since we got to Iceland! I think she would have happily have stayed there all night!

As we had been in there for nearly an hour and a half and our fingers and toes were looking like prunes, we thought we had better make a move and brave getting out into the cold and the rain. It actually wasn't that bad, but we were glad to dive into the hot showers before changing!

On the way back we turned off the main road to have a look at the Grjótagjá fissure where there supposed to be some natural thermal pools. The gravel road had some huge washboard ruts that nearly took your teeth out! When we got to where we thought they were there was a parking spot but no signs of the thermal pools. Frank went off down a small track to see if they were down there and I climbed a small lump of cracked lava to the west of the road. On top I found a long fissure in the lava with steam coming out. I called Frank back to have a look at the fissure which was quite impressive. There was a triumphant call from Frank 'found it', the pools were down in a small cave. The water was quite warm and seemed warmer than the thermal baths. Our guide book had said that it had been closed as the temperature had got too hot at about 60ºC, however the Swiss couple we met there said that their guide said that it was now cooling down. It can't have been that hot as a chap and his daughter turned up and got in the second pool we found! As it was then getting late, we headed for the campsite and our evening meal.

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4.08.07 - Krafla

Although the weather still wasn't very good we decided that we had better go to Krafla come what may. After a hearty breakfast of cereals, fried egg, bacon and mushrooms with fresh tomato bread that I had got earlier from the supermarket, we donned the waterproofs and set off. Well it was a shame that we hadn't got going earlier yesterday as the wind was much stronger and it was much harder going up the Námafjall than it had been yesterday due to a strong crosswind. When we turned off route 1 onto the 863 although it was a good tarmac road we made slow progress up hill against a strong cold head wind. As we came over a brow Krafla power station came into view and I spotted some maintenance buildings that would give us some shelter from the wind. It was actually the entrance to the Visitors centre which opened at 13.00. As it was 12.50 it was good timing as it gave us time to eat a Danish pastry to revitalise us a bit.

Weren't we glad to get into the visitors centre as it was nice and warm and it gave us the opportunity to thaw out a bit. We were the first visitors of the day and we were welcomed by a pleasant young lad who firstly showed us a film on the building and operation of the power station and then took us up a long set of stairs to the turbine house. Unfortunately you don't see a lot in the turbine house just two blue turbine casings, but we made out that we were impressed and asked several questions to make it worth the climb. On getting back down we met a couple in cycling gear, they were from the states and were touring around Iceland. We had a long chat with them, commenting about the cold and the wind, as they to had also come into the centre for a warm. They unfortunately had a slow puncture on one of their bikes and took the opportunity of the shelter of the visitor centre's wall to mend it. We wished them luck and left them to it and headed on into the wind. The last part of the road up to the car park at Leirhnjukur was quite steep and the wind was incredibly strong which made for tricky riding, Frank decided that it was safer to get off and walk the last bit. We struggled into the car park and parked the bikes behind a notice board thankful to get a bit of shelter from the gusty wind. As it was way past lunchtime a brew was in order. It was fun trying to stop the wind shield from blowing away and we had to build a small wall of stones around it to keep it place. Just after we had made our brew the two American tourers that we had met at the power station turned up. I invited them over to share a brew with us, unfortunately we had only two mugs so they shared one cup and we shared the other. I think they were quite tickled about having a real cup of English tea complete with fresh milk and in such an inhospitable place. It was obvious that they were grateful as the lass said "That sure hit the spot!" They thanked us and headed off to have a look at the Krafla Hverir, whilst we had another brew before setting off to have a look at the Krafla Hverir ourselves.

These hverir are not as impressive as the Námafjall hverir, but what are impressive are the lava field and ash craters from the most recent eruption in 1987. The lava field quite extensive fascinating with all the colours and shapes of the lava which are amazingly beautiful in their own way. Although it was raining overcast and misty, with the steam rising from some of the vents it rather gave a primeval atmosphere to the area, you half expected a dinosaur to appear around the next corner!

While we were there we decided to battle with the wind and have a look at the Veti crater, although with the cloud level as it was we didn't see that much. The crater is an immense size with wonderfully blue water in the bottom that was caused by a massive explosion when they were drilling test bore holes for the geothermal power station. Apparently after the explosion parts of the drilling rig were found 3km away and amazingly no one was killed! The run back down past the power station to the main road was a doodle as we had the wind behind us and it made up for the crawl up in the morning. We hurried back over the Námafjall to camp and a well earned evening meal.

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5.08.07 - Hverfjall

It was still raining this morning and very overcast but I kept an eye on the barometer it was steadily rising about 4mb in 30mins and with the lessening wind and breaking cloud meant my prediction that the Low that has been dominating the current weather would move away and we would have a better evening to climb the volcanic crater Hverfjall. We decided to wait and spent most of the day either reading or catching up with the 'Captain's log'. By about 5.00pm it had indeed cheered up so we set off to climb the Hverfjall volcanic crater. It dominates the close skyline to the east of Myvatn lake and as we climbed up the diagonal ascending path to the crater rim we began to get a great view of the lake. When we reached the crater rim I was appalled by the senseless graffiti that had been placed at the bottom of the crater. There was this most beautiful natural wonder and it had been desecrated by senseless morons who had descended into the crater to write in light coloured rocks there names or 'I love Bjork' ! What possesses these morons into spoiling such a wonderful natural place that they have climbed up to see. I had read about this graffiti in the guide book which also said that it was prohibited to descend into the crater, however there were no signs or ropes to prevent people from doing so, it beggared belief! It really quite upset me and I know that I embarrassed Frank as I shouted at a couple of young girls who were setting out their bit of graffiti. Unfortunately they were too far away to hear my rant but it made me feel better!

I cheered up as we continued around the rim as the sun came up and we got some spectacular views of the Myvatn Lake, the surrounding mountains and down on to the Dimouborgi. What really cheered me up was the sighting of Iceland's national bird the Gryfalcon which flew back and forth below us for a short time before heading off to the lake. On our way back to the campsite we were treated to a wonderful evening light and sunset which gave rise to a few 'Arty farty' photo opportunities!

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6.08.07 - Myvatn to Húsavik

The weather had certainly improved this morning and it was nice and dry as we broke camp, hopefully they have got the forecast right for our whale watching tomorrow. It was a good tarmac road as we started to climb out of Myvatn Lake. The gradient wasn't steep but you knew that it was there especially with the NW head wind. As we past through the Hólasandur we had good views of Gæsafjöll 882m to the north east and the landscape was quite barren for a few miles with little vegetation apart from the Lupins which seem to grow in rows. As the road leveled out I could see in the distance some large white lumps just off the road. On getting near to them they turned out to be 1ton bags of fertilizer. Perhaps they were hoping to improve the land for grazing; however there didn't seem to be much top soil to improve! We soon reached the highest point and found that they have removed the emergency shelter, a landmark that I had been expecting to see. As started down the other side the terrain seemed to become softer and the barrenness gave way to rough grazing with the odd sheep dotted about. We had hoped to have lunch where a stream crossed the road in a small dip. Unfortunately it was in the lee of the wind and was quite midge infested so decided to go on a bit and found a grassy track by a gate. Well there were no midges there when we got there but they must have been canny and just waited until we got the brew on to descend. There was little we could do but sit there and eat our lunch wearing fly nets!

All the way down the 502 we felt somewhat cheated as the head wind was still against us and was increasing. What should have been a nice run down to Laxamyri was hard work as we had to pedal hard downhill. At Hveravellir we passed a mass of greenhouses utilizing the local geothermal source for heating, with the near 24 hr daylight of the north of Iceland it must be a very productive business. The whole valley was quite a contrast to earlier in the day as it was a very fertile, with hay fields all the way down with the backdrop of the snowy . At the junction of the 85 we passed the family home of the late TV presenter Magnus Magnuson and as we toiled up the last hill into to Húsavik it seemed hard work as we were getting tired. We finally reached the center of Húsavik, which was bathed in full sunshine and decided we had better fined the whale-watching place and get our voucher exchanged for our tickets ready for the morning. The North Sailing's hut was easily found on the harbour front and we set off for our next task which was a supermarket. This was fortunately just down the road, however it had closed at 18.00 and it was then 18.10! Perhaps we should have made that our first priority, oh well never mind. Fortunately we did find a garage that was open that had fresh milk and decided that we would have to use one of our emergency dehydrated meals.

The campsite was just out of the town, as always uphill, the facilities were a little basic but it was a good price, you paid for one night and could then stay for up to 10 nights. I suspect it was the town council trying to encourage people to stay in Hsavik, however improving the facilities might have encouraged more people to stay.

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7.08.07 - Húsavik, Whale watching.

We woke from a very cold nights sleep; the cloudless sky earlier in the night had caused a temperature drop. At one point in the night I had every piece of clothing on and at one point considered putting on my down jacket which I was using as a pillow! I think part of the problem was the lack of a good meal inside us to keep us warm during the night. One small dehydrated pasta meal obviously wasn't enough. It didn't take us long over breakfast as we didn't have a lot, so we popped into the supermarket on way to the harbour and picked up some Danish pastries. Our whale watching and sailing vessel for the day was the Haukur, which means Hawk in Icelandic. We were greeted by Nils the First mate and guide who welcomed us on board. Unfortunately the weather was rather overcast as we set off and we wondered if we had got our forecast wrong and that we should have come over a day earlier. We motored out into the Skjálfandi bay and headed towards Puffin Island, there were only 14 of us onboard, which was rather nice as there was plenty of space. On reaching the island we were soon in amongst the puffin colony that breeds on the island, but like most seabirds they scattered as the boat approached and due to the draft of the Haukur we couldn't get too close to the island to see the nesting birds. From there we headed out into the bay to try and spot some whales.

We motored around the head of the bay scouring the sea with our binoculars and Nils even climbed the shrouds to get a better view. However the whales seemed quite elusive at this end of the bay, but we did see some White Beaked Dolphins which swam across the bows of the boat. Einar Magnusson our Skipper was listening in on the radio to the other whale boats which were further down the bay, they thought they had spotted some whale activity down there, so Einar decided to raise the sails and head down to the south end of the bay. Unfortunately there wasn't really enough wind to really put the Haukur through her paces, but it was great to be able to help raise and trim the sails. By this time the weather had started to improve and the sun came out, we continued to move around the bay looking for those elusive whales. Nils offered us a cup of hot chocolate and a cinnamon roll, which was quite welcome, as breakfast seemed a long time ago! After a rousing cheer for the skipper Einar we were offered "the captains privilege" a rum ration to round things off. We were getting near to the end of our trip and we still hadn't seen any whales. Nils was telling us that this would be his first trip out for several seasons without a whale sighting and he was concerned that it might be his first duck. Nils and Einar were determined not to be beaten and kept moving about the bay chasing anything that looked like a whale surfacing. I said to Nils that perhaps we picked the wrong day and that we should have come the day before as there would have been better weather and more wind, however Nils said that a choppy sea made it more difficult to see the whales.  We kept looking and I went up to the bows for a final look when suddenly there was a shout from Nils, he had spotted a couple of Minke whales mid way into the bay. There was frantic movement and the Haukur's engine roared into life as we chased over to where it was spotted. It was away off but we saw it come to the surface a couple of times before it dived, perhaps not a close view but it was a new whale spot for us. Nils and Einar were now conscience that they had over run there time, as we had been out nearly an hour longer than their allotted time. We hurried back to the harbour at Húsavik and I helped Nils to get the sails in. We thanked Einar and Nils for a great trip and even though we hadn't seen many whales it had been a lovely boat to sail on. Before we left they let me have a quick look below at the saloon.

We headed for the Café Skuld for a rather late lunch, it is on a terrace above the harbour and is quite a sun trap with a lovely view of the harbour with the snowy topped Kinnarfjöll mountains as a backdrop. After having been suitably refreshed we had a look around the harbour. It was a typical fishing harbour with a ice house busy dispensing ice for the fishing boats off loading their catch On the far side of the harbour as we were looking at the fishing boats, 3 local lads came by and climbed onto the boat's prow next to us and did acrobatic dives into the harbour. It was good fun to watch and they were quite accomplished, although we did feel sorry for the one who didn't have a wetsuit on, he must have been absolutely freezing as the water looked very cold! We watched the Haukar going out on its second sail of the day at 5.00clock and waved to Einar and Nils as they sailed past the outer harbour. We finished off an excellent day with an excellent meal at the 'Salka' restaurant near the harbour. We had a puffin starter, which was quite tasty; it had a taste a little like a cross between beef and liver and for main course a mixed seafood platter. It may have cost us a second mortgage, but you just can't go to a new country and not have at least one meal out!

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8.08.07 - Hsavik to Godafoss

Frank decided to pass on visiting the Icelandic Phallological Museum, so we spent the first part of the morning looking around the Whale museum in Hsavik. It is a interesting museum explaining the different types of whale as well as the history and conservation of whales around the world. Up in the roof there was a large gallery of whale skeletons. About mid morning we set off for Godafoss, it was easier cycling along the 85 that morning with the wind behind us. Just after crossing the river Laxa we pulled into a lay-by where there was a monument to Jóhann Sigurjónsson (June 19, 1880 - August 31, 1919). We found out afterwards that he was an Icelandic playwright and poet. As we cycled past the flughavn we realized that we were amidst a lava field with cracked lava mounds and contorted steam vents, but judging by the amount of scrub trees and vegetation it was a fairly old eruption. Just before our turn off we past one loan tourer who gave us a wave, however he didn't look that happy battling against our tail wind. Fortunately the 85 has a good tarmac road surface for most of the way, however at Rauðaskriða they were resurfacing the road and we had about a mile of loose gravel to negotiate. I imagined we would get shot blasted by the cars as they went by, but luckily only one passed us.

As we turned over the bridge over the Skjalffandaflöt River we hit a nasty crosswind and were glad to get over it and continue south. Lunch spots along this road were few and far between and we had to make do with a small track to a field just off the road. We got some funny looks from the passing cars as we brewed up, but who cares we are used to it. The sun was starting to come out as we continued on up the 85 with hay fields and farms on both sides. Part way up we came across a Transport museum, if we hadn't spent so long in the Whale museum we may well have stopped, but we decided it was getting late and we wanted to get to Godafoss before it clouded over again. Just as we got to the junction of route 1 we got a cheery wave from two fellow tourers who had just turned off the main road and were heading back the way we had come, I just hoped that the wind might drop for them.

It was a short ride along route 1 to Godafoss, you could tell where it was from the row of parked coaches. We thought we had better go and look at it while the light was still good, but the world and his dog were there jostling each other for a view of the falls. Frank got quite worried about all these little old ladies who were balancing and teetering about on the rocks near the edge. It was such a melée, we were surprised no one fell in! We decided that the weather might be better in the morning and that we could go there first thing before tourist buses arrived, perhaps it might be a bit more peaceful and tranquil. We left the hordes to it and went over to the campsite and booked in. It was just before 6.00pm and we were the only ones there so we had the pick of the pitches it was a nice grassy field behind the hotel, unfortunately it had no showers but got some hot water from toilet block in our folding bucket and had a strip wash it the vestibule of our tent. Our sole use of the site was soon short lived as 2 hikers turned up followed by 3 German tourers with Bob Yak trailers, 2 other German tourers and a couple in a car who turned out to be English. As we made tea we chatted to the two German lads who were camped next to us, they had come from Akureyri that day and were complaining that in Iceland you just can't do 70 - 80 km days due to the terrain. It sounded like we had been lucky with the weather over the last few days as they had been in the Western fjords and one day they had a storm so fierce they could hardly stand up let alone cycle!

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9.08.07 - Godafoss to Myvatn

Before breakfast I when over to the falls and this time went up the east side of the falls which was great as I was the only one on that side, but even at 8.30am there were people at the falls on the other side! Whilst we made breakfast we chattered to the English guy, he was from the midlands and was on holiday with his girlfriend, they had hired a car and were touring around Iceland for two weeks. He had paid about 500 a week for the car and it would have been 1,000 to hire a 4 x 4 for a week. He had met an English family who had hired a 4X4 so that they could go into the interior, but had said that it wasn't worth it as they thought it was too barren and boring. Frank was chuntering over breakfast, as she wasn't looking forward to the start of our route as she could see that it was a steep climb right from the campsite with no flat to warm her legs up on! I didn't like to tell her that it was a 2-mile long climb out of Godafoss with about 700ft of climbing!

We decide to give the legs a good stretch before we set off, it wasn't quite a bottom gear hill but it was a good grind up to the top. When we looked back it was easy to spot Godafoss from the plumes of water spray rising from the valley floor. As we rested at the top there were several Whimbrels calling and flying round us and on a small lake near by the cackling of a flock of geese, unfortunately they were too far away to make out exactly what type of geese they were. One benefit of climbing hills is the run down the other side and our run down to the junction of the 845 was great, Frank reckoned at one point she was doing 34mph! From there it was a fairly gentle climb past Laugar and along a fertile green valley which had a bit of a sting in its tail as we could see that at the end it was a steep climb. As Frank tended to slowly grind her way up the hills, I told her that as there was a lake at the top, which would make a nice place for lunch, I would push on and get the brew on. It was indeed a long drawn out climb up to the Másvatn and I found a nice spot just off the road by the lakes side and got the stove going. When Frank got there she threw herself down on the grass and tore off her right cycling shoe yelping as she did so, "What's the matter have you been stung?" Apparently her shoe had been killing her all up the hill but she didn't dare stop as she knew that if she did she wouldn't get going again! The culprit seemed to be the stiffening plate, which seemed to be causing friction on the sole of her foot, fortunately it hadn't caused too much of a blister. I poured some cold water from the lake on it and placed a large plaster over the area. Once we had got going after lunch the plaster seemed to be doing the trick and the foot seemed to be all right, although her Shimano cycling shoes, which had been very comfy over the years, will have to be replaced for next year! As we stopped at the top of the final hill looking down on Myvatn Lake below us the wind dropped and Myvatn finally lived up to its name as we were surrounded by thousands of flies. Fortunately they are not of the biting kind just the annoying ones that try and get into your eyes and ears!

We decide to go back to Reykjahlid via route 1 on the east side of the lake and we were glad we did as we got near to the turn off to the Dimmuborgir two large raptor shaped birds flew across the road right in front of us and one settled on an electricity pole and the other on the pole behind. On getting the binos out it was obvious that they were Gyrfalcon juveniles. I decided I had to have a photo, so fixed on the X2 and carefully climbed over the fence and step by step made my way across the broken ground taking photos at every step expecting the falcon to fly at any moment. He obviously wasn't that bothered about me, as I got right up to the bottom of the pole and he just kept looking at me with a quizzical 'should I be frightened of you or not' expression! I turned to Frank to see her reaction that I had got so close and she was signaling at me like a whirling Dervish. I suddenly realized that she was pointing to the pole right next to her and blow me down but sitting on that were the two Gyrfalcon parents, unfortunately they were more wary of me as I couldn't get so close and they flew off to the lake side. As we left the two juveniles flew a few feet across in front of us on their way to join their parents, what a brilliant view, as they were obviously quite inquisitive.

Photos Slideshow
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To Part 3