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Iceland Trip - Day 10 - Iceland

N 65.96807°, W 17.40478°

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:65.96807%2C-17.40478

It's been a day of distraction: from leaving camp this morning we've only travelled a total of about 20 miles and have called it a day at the location shown.

Shortly after setting off this morning we arrived at Húsavík, which has a reputation for being the whale watching capital of Iceland. It's a compact little town that's clearly set up for tourism, but in no way does it seem spoiled.

First stop in town was Safnahúsið, a combined natural history, maritime, and local culture museum that also doubles as the town library. The natural history exhibits were really good and included  examples of everything from storm petrels right up to a polar bear.

An unusual collection sat in the library section, it was a beautifully catalogued collection of tens of thousands of beer bottle labels from all over the world. Quite why this was compiled in Iceland, or at all, will always be a mystery to me. The work required to create it can't be imagined.

From the museum Emma made a snap decision and went on a whale watching trip. It was a two and a half hour affair aboard a super-fast RIB; a fun experience in its own right. Happily, fortune smiled and her trip encountered humpbacks; one of which was a bit of a character and swam, blew, and dived right next to the boat.

Upon the return of a windswept and much redder faced Emma we immediately set off for a geothermically heated lake that I'd discovered whilst out on a waiting-for-the-boat bike ride. It really is quite an odd experience being in such warm water outdoors. The Arctic terns diving for fish and wigeon enjoying the steamy water just feet away added to the surreal surroundings.

More new birds encountered today included great northern diver (our first sighting ever), redpoll, snipe, and a short-eared owl hunting in the middle of the day over some grassland. This seemed incongruous at first but then what's an owl supposed to do when there's no night.

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