Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lady's Birthday Adventure - Part 3

Today we bring you the wildlife adventures.  On my list of things to do in Iceland was to see the wildlife. I wanted to see the arctic fox, seals, puffins and reindeer. I got very lucky that I saw all the above and more!

The Arctic Fox

Everything I read about this fox suggested that the likelihood of us seeing one was very low. First, we weren't going to the West Fjord where they live and also seeing them during the day is rare.  We got lucky, because in the end we saw 2. The picture if of the first one we saw. We saw a second one toward the end of the trip also while driving. The second one had a bird in his/her mouth. I didn't get a good picture of that unfortunately, but was thrilled to have seen 2!


The reindeer live on the east of the island only. I believe they were brought to the country by the Vikings, like almost everything but the arctic fox:)  On my birthday, we were at a former movie set (more about that in a later post). We came out of the set to see a herd of reindeer. We saw a second herd later that day, but this was the best encounter as we weren't in a car and we could just stand and watch until they ran away.


We saw seals in two places. One in the south, near Hofn and one in the north near Hvammstangi.

These are the seals near Hofn

After visiting the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi, we drove the peninsula to 2 spots where the seals live.  We had been told at the centre the best time to see the seals was about 8 pm. We visited the spot around 2:30 and went back around 8 pm. Here are some of the highlights.

Mom feeding her pup. The pup had come up and barked and barked. Mom hopped up, feed the pup and they disappeared. 

A seal showing off

Two seals playing or maybe mating, we couldn't tell for sure


There are a lot of puffins in Iceland, however, like every creature on this planet except humans, the numbers are declining.

In the south, near Vik, we saw one nesting.

On a boat tour to Puffin Island near Husavik we saw several thousand. 

Those are all puffins


I am an animal lover, but I admit to being a big whale hater. I started after reading Moby Dick. Since then I have had a very strong fear of being crushed by a whale. I can't go under a whale skeleton in a museum. I have gotten better as I can be in the room with a skeleton without crying. One of my goals for this trip was to overcoming my fear. I had started doing cognitive behaviour therapy on myself (I am a behaviour analyst after all) and had made some progress. Then in March I believe, a Canadian woman was killed when a whale jumped up and landed on the zodiac she was on. Freak accident yes, but it made my phobia go from the completely irrational to possible, even if unlikely. I had given up on it until about 2 days before we were near Husavik. I decided I would try it. New decade, new me! The rules were no zodiacs and I wouldn't take the pictures. 

It wasn't easy, I thought I was going to faint or throw up much of the 4 hours and I did a lot of cognitive behaviour therapy in my head. But I was able to look at the sea life we saw. Interesting to note, after the tour we went to the whale museum and I still couldn't be under the skeleton. Maybe I will live the rest of my life that way, and that is ok!

What we saw:

We saw dolphins and porpoises. Not sure which these are.

We saw a humpback.

What we didn't see - Blue Whales. Apparently 3 have been visiting the bay. I think I am ok with not seeing the biggest creature to ever live on the planet. The humpback was more than enough!

The next day, on our search for seals, we saw 2 whales in the bay. Here is one. Our guess given the size and location and what we learned from the marine biologist who was our whale watching guide is they were Minke whales. 

I am happy to say, all my wildlife adventures came true on my trip.

Come back next Saturday for "the road". In future posts we will explore, fire, ice and waterfalls too!


  1. many thanks for sharing your adventures with me... that was great to see reindeers in their natural habit and not together with Santa :o) and that puffins look great... they remind me of a mix between penguins and seagulls :o) your thoughts about whales make sense to me, I always was in the team of Moby Dick and hated Captain Ahab, but now I see both sides of the medal. It's super great that you tried it to watch the whales.... it's a reason to send a big VICTORY sign to you :o)
    easy rider

  2. what a great adventure and a terrific way to spend your birthday.

  3. What a wonderful adventure! It's SO green!! We're glad you got to see all of that wildlife!

    -Ruby and Otto

  4. Hari OM
    Fascinating what imprinted for you - but kudos for facing it! The beauty and grace of all wildlife is an endless fascination for me. Glad you were able to enjoy. YAM xx

  5. OMD OMD you saw Santa Paw's Reindeer??? and REAL WHALES... that is amazing... we loved ALL the pictures... esp the Arctic Fox... OMD what a GRAND Adventure... Glad that you were able to at least look at the whales...

  6. What a wonderful array of wildlife you saw!! So very cool!!
    Here on the Northwest coast, we can see whales from the coast (no boats needed), might be a good place to continue your conquering!

  7. How wonderful you saw the wildlife you wanted to see................ !

    Hugs, Sammy

  8. WOW so so so cool that you saw all of this!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  9. SHE is green with envy...Puffins. SHE's always wanted to see Puffins and a moose. Not going to happen. So brave of you to try to overcome your phobia. SHE has a fear of heights--but made it to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on shaky legs.

  10. Wow! that sounds like the greatest vacation ever! Was it cold there?

  11. That is so, so awesome! The Puffins are my favorite! I can see where the wildlife alone would be a great reason to vacation there.

  12. Oh wow - this looks amazing! I think being near whales could be scary. They are big after all. I think it's cool that you were able to overcome your fear a little bit to go out and watch them. Those puffins are adorable!

  13. Those pics are very cool! What a great experience!

  14. Looking forward to seeing more pictures. We showed your iceland picture to grandma. She agreed it looked like a painting.

  15. Such an amazing trip, to see the Puffins! how cool!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  16. That sure was quite an adventure you were on. Thanks for sharing.

  17. What a wonderful trip. Love your pictures. I have only been in the Keflavik International Airport, but wish to return to see the country!

    Wyatt's Mom

  18. I think that was a trip of a life time!

  19. Wowsa!!!! Your peeps really had one helluva trip!!! Ma says she's jealous, that that looks like tons of funs! Since I don't like to gets my furs wet, I gotta say, i would likes to stay home! BOL
    FABulous trip!!! Thanks for takin' us along! (and me keepin' my furs dry! ☺)
    Ruby ♥


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