Iceland trip Day 7: Akureryi to Hrútafjörður via Dalvik Whale Watching
Akureyri may be Iceland's second city, but it seems better as a base to see other places, than having many tourist attractions in itself. That said, it does have a beautiful setting on the fjord, and we happily wandered around for an hour or two before moving on.
Our main activity for today was to be whale watching at Dalvik. We had spotted a leaflet in the hostel for a whale watching and fishing trip with Arctic Sea Tours of Dalvík, and booked on for the afternoon. They were considerably cheaper than trips from the more well known Husavik, though the whale watching conditions differ very little.
Dalvík, a short drive north up the shores of Eyjafjörður, is home to ~1400 people, some fishing vessels, and the ferry to the nearby island of Hrísey. Having established that Hrísey was not going to cater to our puffin spotting inclinations, we had a short walk around Dalvík and awaited the whale watching. The 3.4km Ólafsfjarðarmúli single-lane tunnel to the north is apparently turning into a minor attraction (for agoraphobes presumably), but we decided to save that for another time.
We were just 5 minutes into our trip into the fjord when the first whale was spotted, a humpback betrayed by their spout of moist air as they exhale at the surface. Having found a whale, a game of cat and mouse ensues, with the boat turning every minute or two to get close to whereever the whale last surfaced. Over the next couple of hours, we saw 4 humpback whales and a harbour porpoise, with one whale surfacing within a few metres of the boat. It was a great experience for me as a first-time whale watcher.
On the return across the fjord, our hosts supplied fishing rods, and within moments we had a good catch of many codlings and a large haddock. These were duly dealt with and prepared for consumption. We enjoyed some of the freshest sashimi ever, then grilled the rest on arriving back at the harbour in Dalvik. It made a tasty finish to a great trip.
Leaving Dalvik, we had a 2 hour drive west to the Sæberg hostel, an old farm house overlooking the sea at Hrútafjörður. A walk on the beach was called for, despite the bitterly cold wind, to appreciate the beginnings of sunset.