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Iceland Journal | Days 1 & 2

'People Ought to Warn You About This'

After reuniting with the infamous ‘Sharkman Dan’, we headed straight for the first port of call, the car rental. Slightly contradictory to our cause, I opted for a standard engine 4x4 and purchased a package to offset our emissions. Though ideally, I had wanted to make this trip in an electric car, we did not come to regret this decision. There are a few electric charging points scattered around the golden circle if you’re staying along that route, but our first destination was North of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in a small town called ‘Grundarfjörður’. It was wild!

Perhaps because we set off in the dark or maybe it was because we were inexperienced, but nothing at all prepared us for the onslaught of what can only be described as a tornado of horizontal snow! This would arrive erratically out of nowhere throughout the journey up, only to completely engulf our car and scare the life out of us at the same time. Luckily the tyres in Iceland have spikes on, so we were able to hold our wits and our position on the road for the most part

View Over Frozen Lake with Icebergs

Dan Stood Holding Up Drone Next to Car in Icy Environment

The gale force winds and white caps did not desist for the next two days, forcing us to rethink our plans to go whale watching with Laki Tours. This area had recently seen a huge spike in migrating Orcas visiting from Europe and further afield. Some of which had also ventured across the pond from Scotland to make the most of the nutrient rich waters and plentiful fish stocks here. As a country famous for whaling, it may surprise you to learn that the whale watching industry in Iceland has increased dramatically over the last decade. In fact, opinions on whaling in the country are changing as demonstrated by local campaigners and 2019 was the first year that no whales were harpooned in Icelandic waters.

Being able to adapt plans at the drop of a hat is part of the package working with nature and this brutal weather provided the perfect opportunity to test out the 2020 winter gear kindly provided to us by Berghaus. I can confirm that all my outfits all endured biting winds, white out snow storms, icy rock faces and deep snow drifts, without a hitch. The frozen waters of Kirkijufellfoss provided the perfect backdrop to start, before we headed over to the basaltic columns of Gerðuberg, to get our first glimpse of this exciting rock! (yes I said exciting and rock in the same sentence, all will be revealed shortly).

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Naturalist and Author Sarah Roberts, is a specialist in shark and grizzly bear behaviour. Sarah's work has taken her to some of the wildest ecosystems in the world, from tropical reefs to temperate rainforests. Admittedly she is most attracted to the species with sharp teeth and claws, though this sometimes comes at a cost. Sarah loves living off the beaten track, but in realising just how threatened her favourite wild places and species are, she set up an outreach platform (www.thisiscreature.com) in 2014 to help raise awareness and educate people on environmental issues.

She now splits her time between documenting lesser-known wildlife stories in the field and communicating them through her children's book, youtube channel and public talks. In her spare time, Sarah loves to swim and hike (especially with her best pal, Badger the dog) or to practice her very limited skills in surfing/skateboarding.

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