July 26th 2012
These turf houses were located at Grettislaug, a hot spring pool near Sauðárkrókur. We drove along a very long gravel road, through farmland and barking sheepdogs, to get to the ferry that was going to take us to Drangey, (the island is pictured above in the distance). We'd been told that the ferry left from 'the pool', and we were a little confused until we got there and saw a pair of hot springs. The ferry left from the small rocky port located just behind the building above.
As I'd mentioned in a previous post; we'd been told that Drangey was a great place to go to see a giant bird population. We decided that since we couldn't make it out to Grímsey, we'd take the boat to Drangey instead.
It turned out to be one of the most harrowing experiences of my life, (but only because I have a fear of heights). We took the boat over with a small group of people and a guide. We'd read that once at the island, there was only one spot where you could ascend because the rest of the island is comprised of very steep cliffs. Well, it turned out that the one route to climb was also quite steep and required a rope to haul one's self up. The first climb was about 100m up a crumbling stoney path. (A side note: the bridge at the boat moor had been knocked down a couple of years prior by the boulders that had fallen from the top of the path we were climbing. That wasn't reassuring).
I made it to the top of this section, only to realize that we still had more path to climb. With that, I had a minor panic and sat down where I was. It was there that I stayed while the others, (Chris included), continued on. I sat with two other women for the next two hours. It felt like ten, because I was sitting on top of sheer cliffs with the most unbelievable cacophony of bird sounds around us. Near the end of two hours I was able to calm myself enough to take a few shaky photos with my camera phone. The view really was beautiful.
I didn't regret not continuing on; (though, Chris got some amazing photos during the rest of the climb), because I don't think I could have handled the heights any more. And the climb ended on the edge of 190m cliff. (That's 623' for American readers). Chris says that this was one of his favourite parts of the trip; and if you can handle heights and a good bit of exercise, I know he'd recommend it to anyone visiting Iceland.
If you've noticed; there are no photos from my camera of our visit to the island. I'd forgotten to pack a fresh roll of film from the fridge! Luckily, too, because I don't think I could have lugged a big heavy camera up that climb! Oh yeah, and I made it down okay.
After the previous day's stress, I was very happy to stop at the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport the next day!
Posted by Melinda Josie