Snailmail from the last week

Due to all the work I didn’t have a lot of time to actually write a lot of mail, so the only outgoings I have for now are these three postcards, all going to relatives in Germany. I absolutely love all the postcards you can get here, the landscapes are just so stunning!DSC03918

On the weekend I got two letters (my first actual letters reaching me in Iceland, yay) and both were so nice. Usually I forget to take photos of the contents of the letter as well and we have to see if I can manage to remember it for my replies to these lovely letters. But for once I thought of it ;). The first one is from a penpal of mine who currently works in Chile. We were both a bit worried about how long out letters would take between Chile and Iceland but this one was surprisingly quick and arrived in just about 3 weeks. I hope that my letter reached her as well, I have a feeling that we send them around the same time 😀 DSC03920

The other letter that reached me is from my new penpal in France, who send me a cute/funny Horse :). I was so surprised to already get a reply to my letter. The mail within Europe is really fast. Look at these wondergul stampstickers she used as well. They’re Alice in Wonderland themed and I absolutely love them so I had to take a close-up to show them to you all. DSC03921 DSC03922

This lovely postcard from Rome came to me just yesterday from a friend who traveled around Europe for several weeks. I knew I was getting a postcard from her but wasn’t sure where it would be from. She actually send it from France where she went after Italy and it was really nice to read about all her adventures.DSC03923

Sunset Breaching

The last few days have been really busy, I’ve been working a lot from Friday to Monday and even though that meant less sleep it also meant a lot of great tours with awesome sightings of Humpback whales, a Minke whale and quite a few Harbour porpoises. The highlight was probably saturday evening when we got closer to Hjalteyri and saw a whale breaching in the distance. Normally that would mean that by the time we get closer to the whale it’ll stop but this one just kept going. It was so much fun to watch and after a while I recognized it as a whale that’s been around for a while but usually doesn’t fluke when it goes for a dive. However it is easy to recognize from its dorsal fin pattern. This was already really exciting, but then after a while it actually did 3(!!!) fluking dives and I finally saw the fluke pattern :). That tour just made me ridiculously happy!

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Chin slap breach
Chin slap breach

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Whale diving off into the sunset
Whale diving off into the sunset

On that tour we also had a team on board that was filming some promotional material for the company using a camera attached to a drone, so they managed to capture all these beautiful whale action in the sunset on video! Super excited to see it once they cut it all together. They came out on two different tours and got so much good material because both were excellent tours.

Holuhraun lava field exploration

This past weekend I had the chance to join a tour to the Holuhraun Lava field which is situated just north of the Vatnajökull glaciers. To be honest I didn’t really know a lot about it until I went and googled it a couple days before the tour and realised that it actually is such a new lava field. The first activity in the area was recorded last year around August and only ended this year in February. Sometimes its really crazy how active the earth underneath Iceland still is!

It took about four hours to actually get there as half of the way is kind of an off-road, gravelly road and only accessibly to 4x4s, even crossing some streams and rivers along the way. The Icelandic Highlands look quite different from the coast and even though there’s nothing really there its beautiful it a very rugged and desolate way. The Holuhraun Lava field is now the largest one in Iceland (85 square kilometers in area and 1400 million cubic metres in volume!!!) and when the lava came to the surface it was between 1175-1180°C hot. Its so crazy to imagine, the lava actually changed the course of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum to further eastwards than it flowd before. There were a lot of people on the tour that actually live in Akureyri and told me how it was during the Eruptions and they said that between September and November last year they would receive daily text messages whether or not it would be safe to go outside because of the air pollution from the eruption. About 11 million tons of sulphur dioxide where discharged into the atmosphere during the eruption and it was like a blue haze that could be seen from long distances away. After hearing/reading all this it was fascinating to actually walk through edges of the lava field and to see that there are actually some parts where smoke is still coming out of the cracks in the lava. Of course you are not allowed to go close to these areas. But even the paths you can follow along leads along some cracks that still emit a lot of warm. One of them actually felt like you were sitting next to an oven, it was so warm. You couldn’t hold your hands into it for too long as it actually became too hot after just a minute or so. It was a good way to warm up though since it was only about 5°C outside!

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Old and new lava right next to each other
Old and new lava right next to each other

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One of the streams we had to cross and got stuck in
One of the streams we had to cross and got stuck in

Outgoing letter

I’ve been quite busy replying to all the letters that came with my mothers package. Since some of them were actually postmarked from the end of may, I felt quite guilty that my penpals had to wait so long for a reply and I used my off days and free time mainly to answer them. I’ve already heard from my new penpal in France that her letter arrived which is quite amazing. It seems like at the moment the postal system (within Europe at least) is surprisingly quick. Anyway so here are some pictures of the letters I send (I really have to start remember to take pics of the contents but finishing a letter is always so exciting that they are usually closed before I can remember to grab my camera) 🙂

These letters went to France, Germany, UK, Indonesia and USA (in this order). There are also a few more postcards I send out yesterday going to Germany and Australia. For some of my letters within Europe I was quite happy to be able to get the Europa 2015 stamps. I really like the theme this years of traditional toys.

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Whale Update

Its been a while since I last wrote anything about my work, mostly due to the fact that the last days have been quite crazy. July is the busiest month so far and we have been a lot of big groups from cruise ships coming out with us, so there’s quite a few evenings when all I have the energy to do after work is sit in bed and watch a movie. Most days out on the water have been really great though. I’ve been doing my best to keep track and record how many different humpback whales we’ve been seeing (well I’ve been seeing since I’m the only one taking pictures almost every tour I’m doing, unless it rains to much to take my camera with me). Since the beginning of the season we’ve had at least 18 different individuals and just last Sunday there were two individuals that we hadn’t seen before. I’m still trying to find out if there is a catalogue for all the humpback whales coming to Iceland, but so far no luck there.

We’ve been lucky that the whales still come quite far into the fjord and last week we had a great morning with one individual breaching a lot. He had a whole routine going on breaching for 3-4 times, then doing some flipper slapping, finally coming up for a breath ones or twice before starting to breach again. It was so special to observe.

So now of course, some more pictures:

Breach
Breach
and another one :)
and another one 🙂

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New individual
New individual
coming up right next to us
coming up right next to us

Pretty new snailmail supplies

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I finally caved in and bought a few things from this amazing Tiger store that we have at the little mall here in Akureyri. It’s such a great store and it was very hard not to just buy everything, so I tried to really just stick to a few things that I knew right after seeing them what I wanted to use them for. Of course I had to buy a few new washi tapes, I really liked the colour combinations of this pack (as they go with some of the ones I brought with me) and I love the tear drop one. Beside that I also bought some Iceland flag stickers and flags to use for decorating my letters and postcards. Since one of my best friends in Germany will soon be having her birthday I was super happy with this cute card I found for her. The heart shape paper clips and owl page markers were just really cute so I thought they get to come home with me as well 🙂

Incoming mail from home

A few days ago I got my package from home, I was worried that it would take longer due to the postal strike that was going on in Germany but thankfully it didn’t get stuck in that. I always love getting packages from my mum because even if I know what she is sending me, there are always some little extra surprises in there.

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One of the things I asked her to send me were my crocheting hooks and one of my yarns that I had at home but wasn’t sure of so far what I want to use it for. Since I’ve been in Iceland though I’ve felt the urge to crochet again a lot so it’s nice to have the right tools now.

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I also asked her to send me some tea as its been hard for me to find some that I like. Not only did she send me the one I asked for, but three other kinds as well. Besides the tea she put in two Milka Chokolate bars (with Vanilla pudding filling) in it. Its a new one that we discovered and both fell in love with a few months ago. Lastly she also send me some salat dressing so that I can make my favourite Rice salat. DSC03893

Of course one of the main reasons for the package were all the letters that arrived after I left. There were two letters from a penpal from Florida (one of them already a reply to the letter I send her from here), a letter from the UK, one from Indonesia, another one from a new penpal from France and lastly one from a penpal in Germany. It was so much fun to finally read them. Unfortunately I had to work a lot the days after I got the package so so far I only got around to replying to one of the letters.

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