with a huge population of 750 people. In general, the entire population of Iceland is just a little bit over 300 000 people. From them 60% of the population lives in Reykjavik and its suburbs. And the area of Reykjavik is equal to a quarter of the Moscow's area. All the houses are two-storey. City seemed to be spread over the vast lava field.
6 million tourists visit Iceland each year! Mainly in July and August. It becomes very crowded here during these months.
Before departure I amused myself with photographing the local estates:
Some residents are very creative. This is a fence of one of the houses:
is located on the east coast of Iceland in the depths of the fjord. Cruise liners often come in its harbor. By the way, on this ship I went around South America and Antarctica six months later:
We returned to the federal road through the "cloudy" pass. The weather was better today, and the pass was not overcast. That's why we were able to notice the pretty waterfall on the way up:
On the way we often came across the ubiquitous cyclists:
Our first stop was the most powerful waterfall in Europe - Dettifoss:
It is situated not on the coast, and a bit inland. Another dirt road with a dull landscape leads to it:
Despite the remoteness, its parking lot was packed with cars. You can find such parking near every tourist destination. A small gray house on the right is the rest-room:
From the parking lot you have to go 50 meters down the stone stairs to the waterfall:
Then all the water move through the canyon in the ocean:
In the rest-room at the parking lot next to the waterfall I found a funny ads: "There is to little water in this area. Please, save water". And it was next door to this powerful and unrestrained flow of water!
All the ground in the vicinity of the waterfall is covered with pieces of red brick lava:
I want to digress on Irish roads. There are very few paved roads. They are mostly found around Reykjavik. And one federal road around the island. Although, it also sometimes "breaks" on the primary coat. Other roads are unpaved. Their condition is very different from each other and depends on the weather. In winter most of them are not cleaned from the snow and they are closed. In Iceland, there is a special short phone number where you can find out the information about the conditions of the road at the moment. A lot of dirt roads, which lead to the attractions in the mountains, have a heavy gradient and far not every car can overcome them. That is why there are so many "super-Jeeps" in Iceland:
If you decide to pass through Iceland on a rented car, then I strongly recommend you not to save money and to take the offroader. The majority of accidents are associated with driving of the car down the road. Since the embankment of the road is very high, such accidents are often connected with car tumbling. So it is necessary to strap everyone into the car, including the rear-seat passengers:
Speed limit is 90 km/h on asphalt roads and 80 km/h on the dirt road. Speed is controlled by traffic cameras. Sometimes you are warned about their presence, sometimes you are not. I didn't manage to find out how the cameras looked like because they were masked. I got the impression that those were the inverted white buckets in the form of flashing lights, impaled on a pole. I often met them along the road, especially after the warning signs about the cameras. I usually chose the speed of 95-97 km/h on the cruise control and quietly move forward.
Almost all the bridges, and there are a lot of them, were one-sided. First arrived - first went:
There are often herds of horses and sheep being at grass around the road. If horses are usually fenced and they can not run out on the road, the sheep feel themselves like big boys. They are not scared of cars, but you will have to pay for the knocked sheep, so it is better to go around them. Sometimes horses are insolent and whole herds run right on the road:
But we got to the town of Husavik - European capital of whale watching:
Whales are watched by two competing companies whose ticket offices and piers are within 10 meters from each other. The difference is that one of them offers on-board hot chocolate and buns with cinnamon, while the others offer cocoa and biscuits. The first has yellow flags, the second - blue ones.
Watching lasts 3 hours of which one hour is taken by the road to get there and another one - by the way back. The whale emerges every 5-7 minutes. On the surface it spits out a fountain of water - thanks to this fountain you can notice them. After that, the captain cranks an engine at full power and tries to come closer to that place. The whale dive back not immediately and makes a few breaths. During this time, if it is not very far away, the ship manages to come on a short distance. For the last time before it dives to a depth the whale can show its tail - it is the highest award for the observers. Usually you can see only the part of its back:
The company with yellow flags offers a unique tour of watching not on the ordinary ship:
And on a small old Icelandic sailboat that was built a long time ago and was used as a cargo ship:
The difference also consisted in the fact that our tour lasted 4 hours and we went to the island, where we saw a large number of Icelandic sea parrots - the national bird:
I want to tell "a couple of gentle words" about the weather. The sun was shining, but ... there was also a very strong wind. Waves on the captain's estimation had the height of 1.5 - 2 meters. For our boat those waves were very big. On the way to the island we were going perpendicularly to the waves breaking them with the bow. Waves flew through the bow and poured the deck and passengers. To say that it was terrible means to say nothing. I stuck to some rope on the stern, and the backpack with photographic equipment was tied to the mast in the bow. It was impossible to get to it at this rocking, so I don't have pictures of those waves.
It was quieter near the bird's island. I tried to take pictures of sea parrots flying quickly and low, but didn't manage to do that. The result is only one gull:
After 5 minutes of watching, we began to cross the bay in the direction of the whales habitation. The waves began to beat us in the side. Please note that the horizon is level. Look, how greatly the mast dipped. You should really love the sea to enjoy such swimming:
For the bad weather and waves we were rewarded with the whale tail:
We felt really cold and when arrived at the hotel, first warmed with brandy in the Jacuzzi, and then with brandy under the blankets. Thanks to these procedures we managed not to get sick. Summarizing the whale watching, I want to warn all future watchers. If the waves are big - think twice, even though everything ended well for me.
On the way back, our team stopped the engine and set sail. We felt like real explorers. The wind fell a little, but we were still moving at a speed of 5 knots. All the wishing to were offered to stand abaft the wheel: