Tuesday, April 05, 2016

quick trip to Iceland

five days in Iceland with my daughter taking in some scenery and northern life; had not appreciated just how expensive it is for food and accommodation and just how popular it now is with tourists even at this time of year; we were hoping fro some aurora and maybe a few birds but I had no great expectations as early April is a bit of a mid-season period for winter - spring birds up there; as it turned out the day we arrived it was snowing but by the time we got to out first stop at Grundarfjordur the sky had cleared and with a low aurora forecast of level 2 we headed out and were fortunate to have a nice display. Day 2 on the Snaefellsnes peninsula was truly beautiful with sun and almost no wind combining with terrific scenery and even some orcas watched feeding from the seabird cliffs offshore but by night it had clouded up and no chance of any more aurora. Day three dawned with more wind but no hint of what was to follow; driving east towards Vik the wind increased to force 8 -9 and by the time we arrived it was dull, overcast and you could hardly stand up. By 20:00 the rain set in and it lashed it down for the nest 30 hours with the wind remaining force 7 - 8, not exactly good for looking at the ice lagoon or even for driving never mind photography in fact we never even got out of the car at the lagoon it was that bad. By evening the seas were enormous with vast clouds of Kittiwakes and Iceland Gulls feeding offshore but the spray from the 15m high waves and the strong wind again made photography tricky! Day 4 and the rain continued but with lighter winds; did some driving to keep dry and saw a fair few Whoopers and Greenland White-fronts. Amazingly after midnight the sky cleared for an hour and we had another aurora show albeit with variable cloud. So day 5 and for most of the day it was fine but again windy and dull; lots of white-winged gulls off the Kefalik area but again mostly well out and not good for photography; most photos were in fact taken at 2000 - 3200 ISO apart from day 1;
a few early secenics

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