4 October 2008

Chapter 16: A walk along Hesteyrarfjörður

Continued from Chapter 15

The weather was truly being kind to us. Birna and Hrólfur were amazed by it, as were C and F who had been coming here for a number of years. Blue skies greeted us almost every day and when it clouded over, it didn't bring much rain at all.

One morning after breakfast, (which really should have been called brunch, given that all the lodge guests possessed the singular propensity to wake up at 10am each day), C suggested that we walk down the beach to where she had seen the skeleton of a seal that had been washed up on the rocks.

Click on the images to enlarge

HornstrandirThe red line shows the direction in which we walked from Hesteyri

The boys were keen, ghouls that they are, so off we went. It was a group of 10 as the 6 of us were joined by Hrólfur's stepson and a French/German couple with their toddler Anouk.

La_FamilleLa famille

Anouk was a little sweetie, and because of her parents' nationalities she spoke both French and German - sometimes in the same sentence. I could understand her perfectly as it's often something that I do! We paused to admire the sandcastles that Mark, Margrit and Anouk had built.

Anouks_SandcastlesAnouk's sandcastles - with Mark and Margrit to help!

We trudged along the beach, heading for the mouth of the fjörd. It was ok while the beach was sand, but it soon turned to large rocks and boulders which were more difficult to walk on. Some of us braved the dive-bombing Arctic Terns to walk in the long grass above the beach. These birds are viciously territorial and will sometimes hit people on the head with their feet and beaks, often drawing blood. We had been warned to wave a stick or a piece of clothing in the air above our heads to keep them from getting too close.

We came to the seal skeleton, so everyone gathered around to take a look. A lot of it was buried or missing so there wasn't much to see, but everyone was very intent in their observations!

Looking_at_seal_bonesSeal ribs sticking out of the debris on the beach

Group_contemplationGroup contemplation

As we stood there looking at the dead seal remains, a live seal popped up off the beach, interrupting its fishing expedition to stare at the humans. C told us that the seal would stay longer if we sang a song, so we all started singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, laughing through the words at the thought of serenading a seal. Sure enough, it did spend more time on the surface than usual, but in the end it ducked under the waves and continued its search for lunch.

HesteyrarfjörðurLooking back the way we had walked along the Hesteyrarfjörður

We continued walking along the beach until the rocks became big boulders and the effort became too much. Choosing comfortable rocks, we sat down to contemplate life and to enjoy the sun and the view.

ChilledC and F have some mother and son time

We had walked far enough down the Hesteyrarfjörður to be clear of the promontory on the other side. Now we could look straight up the Jökulfirdir and see the glacier Drangajökull.

Drangajökull_GlacierThe most northern glacier in Iceland

Drangajökull_GlacierThe glacier covers an area of approx. 180 sq. km and is 925m at its peak

We even had a photo taken of the two of us when C grabbed my camera. Normally I'm quite content to stay behind the scenes!

MandJ_Drangajökull_GlacierA rare shot of M and J together!

J and her younger son decided that sitting around was boring, so they headed up the side of the cliff directly behind the beach.

Too_much_energyOn the way up

DescentOn the way down

C, F and I were content to wait for them, while J's older kid and Hrólfur's stepson chose to start walking back, no doubt having planned some activity that didn't include the younger 8 year old who was now conveniently halfway up the cliff and couldn't tag along!

Planning_mischiefPlanning alternative activities while trying to look nonchalent

After J and the younger son descended, the rest of us made our way slowly back to Hesteyri. As we got closer to homebase, the coffee cruise boat arrived.

HesteyriCoffee Cruise boat in at the Hesteyri jetty

Once we were back at the Doctor's House, we chipped in to help with the washing up of the numerous coffee cups, pots and plates. C, J and I made sure that we had some fun while doing it as we sang and acted like teenagers, and Birna had a laugh watching us. Plus, she really appreciated the help in her stoic Icelandic way!

Next Chapter: Different moods of Hesteyrarfjörður