Waking up under the mountains, I decided to go for a stroll along the beach, seeing what had washed up. Later I would head to Húsavík, but there was no rush to return to humanity.
The beach was my domain. I was hoping to see if it was possible to walk north, but as hinted at in the road book, land slides have made this a dangerous swim, not even a low tide scramble and dash. The coast further north looks quite remote and interesting, with hanging meadows fed upon by roaming sheep. It would probably make for some nice weekend walks.
I found an ice screw at the base of the cliff while I was watching the waves and pondering the walk north. I'd pretty much ignored the cliff from my climbers eye, it looked fairly uniform, devoid of interesting features, and above all, dripping wet. Of course, dripping wet, vertical, and a great big expanse means that this probably turns into a fabulous ice climbing destination in winter. When I got home I discovered that this area, what is marked on my map as Bjargakrókur, gets called Kaldakinn by ice climbers. The road is marked Út-Kinnarvegur, and there's a mountain at the south end the range on the west side of the road is called Kinnarfjall, but the climbing cliff clearly has it's own name on the map, Bakrangi, or Ógöngufjall, or even Bæjarfjall. I've included a snippet of an old map below. It certainly seems that this is just another case of climbers making up a name for something and using a name for a location that is only used in climbing circles. This seems to happen everywhere there are climbers, and I'm really not sure of the reason. Naming sections of cliffs is important and useful, but making up new names for entire regions just seems like an odd choice.
So, I roamed the shoreline eastwards, investigating what the sea had brought ashore, and being happily warm and dry despite the drizzle and wind.
After idly following some tire tracks at the waters edge for a while, I decided it was time to walk back, but I chose to head back over the dunes back from the waters edge, and follow the lagoon's edge back to camp. This proved to be a most fortuitous choice. I found a killer whale!
Strolling around trawl balls, and driftwood and tussocks, I had gotten pretty accustomed to what was normal for the environment, so when I found an "object" out of place, I picked it up for a better look. I was drawing a blank on what it was for a while, before finally thinking that it must be a whale tooth. I couldn't think of anything else, it was obviously natural, but not from a fish. Happy and excited, I looked forward to getting into Húsavík and having someone at the whale museum there confirm or correct my theory.
Instead, another 20m further along, I came across the whale itself! Much too big to be a dolphin, but still pretty small, it was about 4m long or so. I have no real idea of it's age, but I thought it must have been from this summer. It still had skin and flesh, although it seemed to have rotted (or been eaten) down to the ground level. Prodding the sand showed that there was still flesh underneath a thin covering of sand though. Fortunately, it was past smelling.
I had no idea what sort of whale it was at this stage, not even a useful theory. I know there are plenty of toothed whales, but I don't know anything about any of them other than the sperm whale. I took some pictures for identification, and then later in Húsavík, I had a good look at all the reconstructed skeletons and all their jaws and flipper and tail shapes, and it was conclusively a juvenile killer whale. The staff at the museum were excited to hear about my find, and got me to draw them a map of where I'd found it.
For my coffee table, I have a couple of killer whale teeth :)
But some of that comes from the future. And although the day had already been successful to me, I still went more places, and took more pictures. Arriving in Húsavík, I had a nice tour around the folk museum. As described in lonely planet, the curator is talkative, and if it's not too busy, you _will_ get a personal tour. He's got big plans, and it's a damn big and well organsisd museum for a small town.
The rest of the pictures are just from walking around town. The view across to the mountains across the bay was superb. The snow on the mountains and the sunset was just really reall beautiful. The horses were particularly playful and curious as well, running back and forth around the feels in front of me. One thing I somehow completely missed getting a picture of was the whale watching boats.
The whale watching boats are real gems, both companies use immaculately restored old wooden fishing boats, not these generic party boats used in Reykjavik and everywhere else I've seen whale watching tours. Húsavík really stood out in the north and north east as a town that was still alive. Of course, that's probably why they want MORE, in the form of another smelter.
I moved into the campground here, and ended up staying three nights. It has showers, a shed with power and stoves, and it's really cheap. You just pay for one night.