Day 5/10 – Part 2/2

Orcas

Towards the harbor for the boat trip. We all receive a special suit against the cold and then we board the vessel. The trip promises to be a short one, because they have been spotted very close by.

It doesn’t take long before we have a couple of them in sight. They are playing, but soon after our arrival, they leave as fast as possible.

Orcas

Grundarfjordur

We start seeing more of them. Groups of 3-12, sometimes even 4 groups at the same time. They come up to 30-40 meters close to the vessel.

Orca

Orcas

Some of them are quite large having a dorsal fin of 2.5 meters or more.

Orcas

Orcas

Orcas

The big one makes a heavy whistling noise while breathing out, while we don’t here anything like that with the others.

Orcas

One group has a baby with them. Its white spot is still pinkish indicating that it’s only a few days old. Funny thing is that it stays very close to it’s mother (or the other way around) and while the adults surface and submerge in smooth movement, the baby shoots out of the water everytime, just like he’s surprised by already reaching the surface. Cute to see.

Orcas

Orca

Orca

Orca

We find a couple of them sleeping.

Orcas

Soon they become active again because of the noise our vessel is making.

Orcas

The orca in the back misses a part of it’s dorsal fin, most likely bitten off by a shark.

Orcas

Shooting is difficult. Not alone does that thing almost weigh 5 kilos which you are going to feel after a while, but it’s also very difficult to estimate where they will breach the surface. I also get distracted (while waiting for number 1) by number 2 surfacing, whereafter number 1 surfaces after all. As a consequence I swing my lens quickly towards number 2, miss that one being too late for number 1 as well. Better to concentrate on one orca or a couple swimming together, trying to predict their behaviour.

Orca

Orca

Orca

The BBC is here as well. 5 Guys in the same hotel, are working on a documentary about whales. They didn’t come with us. I got the feeling that they have arranged their own vessel.

Back in the hotel I do nothing for a while.

Have to refuel the car. Here I’m puzzled. We have three types of fuel: diesel, dieseloil and gasoline. The last one I can’t use, but the first one has the sign of a large truck while the dieseloil costs half. First I try the diesel (after using my creditcard) but that doesn’t fit into my tank. Then I try the other one, but that doesn’t work because I have to use my credit card again first. Then I’m in serious doubt. This isn’t diesel but dieseloil and why is that so cheap? The other one states diesel and in the end I select that one. First poor in 15 liters and drive a while on it to make sure it’s the right fuel. Diesel is diesel so I should be fine. When I stick my card in again for the receipt, it states 0 liter. What’s that? Ah, of course that’s from the first time. Card in again and now it’s ok.

Kirkjufellsfoss en Kirkjufell

Hereafter towards the waterfall. The light is not that special now, but well enough for a couple of photos, with Kirkjufell on the background. The path I wasn’t able to find yesterday night, is quite easy to follow now. Kind of an exercise preparing for tonight. Nice little place here.

Kirkjufellsfoss
Kirkjufellsfoss

I drive around the bay to explore the other side but there is nothing interesting there. It’s now 17:00. Time for writing and dinner.

Aurora?

Around 21:00 I go outside again. This morning it was clear but during the day clouds have covered most of the sky. At the end of the afternoon the sky broke open again and now it’s only clouded in the north. Because I don’t see any light, I start shooting star trails. Has been on my list for a while now. Like I said yesterday, you can shoot a photo of 30 seconds without the stars looking like they are moving. To shoot startrails you can do one of two things: open the lens for a couple of hours, or shoot many 30 second photographs one after the other and combine them afterwards. Advantage of the second way: much less digital noise and a black background.

There is no one here around me and it feels a bit creepy. The ice in that little river makes ominous noises, like someone is walking overthere, crushing the hard snowy crust. Yesterday it startled me a couple of times. After a while I get used to it, as I know there is no one overthere.

For a while now I have been seeing two bands in the sky but no green colour. I can’t see whether these are clouds or Aurora. I mount the other camera on the roof of my car and shoot a photo of 30 seconds with ISO2500. If there’s green light, the camera should see it.

Strange colors for one reason or the other, but there is clearly no Aurora.

Check for Aurora Borealis

Meanwhile the sky around has closed up, apart from the spot where I have been shooting the 30-second photos. It won’t take long before that’s closed up too. I call it quits. Aurora forecast was a 0 for today as well. Quite happy to have seen it yesterday (-;

50 minutes of stars in the sky finally results in this photograph.

Sterrensporen

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 05

Download the original gpx file here.

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