Most of the group chose the option of whale-watching. We drove down through Akureyri towards the open sea. It promised to be very cold so for the first time on the holiday we put on all our cold weather gear. Ata small quay we boarded fishing boat and set off into the mouth of Eyjafjordur. Our commentator had excellent English and turned out to be a guitar teacher in local schools. As we cruised along we kept a sharp lookout for whales and there was great excitement when we spotted a minke. As soon as we did the captain changed course and followed so that we had more close views. After we lost the first whale we spotted another and followed it for some time, at one time getting very close. Although the minke is a small type of whale it was still exciting to see them in the wild. The weather was heavily overcast and drizzling but with no heavy rain or severe cold.
The boat supplied coffee and biscuits which were very welcome. We then had a brief visit to Hrisey Island. Until recently there had been a fish factory in operation but now the twenty or so houses were mainly holiday homes. Our guide told us that the only two vehicles on the island had managed to crash into each other. On the way back we tried our hand at fishing. There must have been an abundance of fish as it was incredibly easy to catch them. Having proved the point we put them back into the sea.
After a picnic lunch on the quay we travelled back into Akureyri for a free afternoon. The Botanical Gardens were impressive as they had many familiar flowers such as delphiniums growing even though we were only just south of the Arctic Circle. Perhaps because of the long hours of daylight in the growing season they were much taller than usual. The Cathedral was modern in design and included stained glass from the old Coventry Cathedral. We wandered around the centre of what is Iceland's second city though the population is only 15,000.