We woke with a promise of glorious weather but unfortunately it was still raining hard. The night had been cold and we both didn't want to get out of the van to pee. After eating breakfast that was made the night before I drew the short straw to wash the pots in the freezing fjord. Despite the conditions it was still hard not to appreciate the beauty even with two blocks of ice for hands and chattering teeth. Never has a van heater felt so good.
We are heading through a small town named Súðavík and see a sign for the Arctic Fox sanctuary so we decide to check it out(secretly hoping they will have a toilet we can use). This little animal is at the top of the food chain in Iceland. It is seen by many farmers as a pest, just like foxes all over the world. However Iceland is doing a lot to protect this beautiful animal, particularly in the Westfjords. If you are passing through I would definitely recommend a stop off here. It is really informative, you get to see an arctic fox that they have rescued and they sell nice coffee.
When we finally left the weather had decided to pull itself together and what had been a little like a of attrition all of a sudden became Iceland showings its best hand. The sun was shining bright, no sign of clouds, rain or wind. As we drive on we can really appreciate the surrounding we are in, it's difficult to put into words the typography of the landscape. One of the defining features are the large sharp peaks surrounding you at nearly all times. They are huge and the colours vary from jet black to a plethora of greens, these are then spliced with spectacular waterfalls with an odd individual house planted at the bottom as if to give you some idea of the scale and grander of this place. It feels a little bit to me like someone's turned the world inside out and Icelands the melted morphed vast landscape from the inner core of the earth that we are now driving around. The beaches have been burnt black and seas dark, but clear parts of which are still sulphurous and bubbling. Sarah says it reminds her of Mars in the Total Recall movie. Iceland must be most movie location spotters wet dream. For this reason it just feels like you're an adventurer discovering this place for the first time.
From there we drove on looking for Dynjandi Waterfall. As we drive around the edge of another fjord we can see the huge waterfall in the distance(Sarah also spots another sea lion). A truly impressive sight that only got better and better the closer we got. the waterfall is 99 metres high, 30m wide and it's shortest and 60 metres at it's widest. We parked up and climbed the paths to the foot of this majestic fall. We took a seat and just watched for a while, listening to the thunder of the water. It's nice to relax in front of such a natural beauty. This waterfall also had a toilet! And a nice picnic area where we sat and ate lunch.
Now Iceland has an abundance of hot springs so we both decided it was time to tap into them. Within an hour we were in our swimmers relaxing in a hot pool submerged in the most spectacular scenery. "Ah this is the life". This pool is part of the coastline, no changing rooms or anything like that, just part of nature. After relaxing for a while we headed off in search of the most western point in Europe, Latrabjarg Cliffs.
At these cliffs we have the promise of seeing puffins. The road the whole way there unfortunately was not paved. It was hard going for sure having to concentrate and navigate the pot holes. Swinging left to right bobbing up down and all over the place. It took a long time to get there for sure but it would turn out to be worth it, just.
As we parked up and walked towards the cliffs we asked a few people if they had seen any puffins...... "Nope it's the wrong season for puffins they have already migrated". Instead we were left with a dramatic cliff face full of puffin pooh. As we walked further along the cliff face ridge we met another women with binoculars draped around her neck. "For the puffins?" I said "no the whales". At this point Sarah's knees nearly buckled reminding me of Del Boy at the bar in Only Fools and Horses. Keep your cool Sarah. Ok so we had hope, we headed back towards the lighthouse looking out to sea all the way. Sarah was convinced she had seen a whale but I just couldn't see it, they don't call me Ray Charles for nothing. Once back at the light house I was reading an info sign about the local bird life and Sarah screamed "definitely! This time, definitely" I rolled my eyes thinking I'm just not going to be able to see it and walked over. Sarah pointed out to sea "just there, watch". I stared hard then out of the sea rose Moby himself only for a few seconds but there he was. Then again and again. I spotted another one to the right. All I could think was "well at least I didn't drive that road for just bird shit". We sat for at least an hour watching the whales it was a magical moment for sure.
We had toyed with the idea of driving back along the unpaved road to get it out of the way. However night had fallen and I didn't fancy manoeuvring on that road in the absolute pitch black. Thankfully just 2km away we saw a free camping spot so we decided to call it a night and set off early in the morning. We'd been keeping an eye on the aurora borealis activity, unfortunately the previous nights had been cloudy so we had no chance of seeing them. Tonight though they were rated as active and the sky was only partly cloudy. We kept getting out of the van in the hope that we would see them dance but we had no joy, hopefully tomorrow.