Estimating the size of a whale …

I really wanted to know how much blue whale we didn’t see. So I spliced together a picture that had a sense of distance (the edge of our boat) with a picture that had the start of the whale spouting (I didn’t get the full spout). Both pictures had birds (which gather around where the whales surface) so these and wave “feel” helped me size the whale spout inset. Then I added a picture of a blue whale, lined up to the clues in the whale spout pic. Here is the result! (The whale is an odd color because he is “under” the water. I’m learning a lot about photo manipulations ūüôā )



Perspective is off for the whale, I am sure, but I don’t know how to make its tail smaller to show that it is further away (deeper in the water) than the head.

It still sends a shiver through me to think how many whales might have swum under our boat.



Inside The Volcano (the last chapter of The Great Volcano Helicopter Tour)

Confused? Missing posts?

If you are confused about when we did what,¬†or if you want to read¬†all the posts in order by when things happened rather than by when I write stuff up, be sure to visit the Itinerary page (the link is also at the top, next to the links to “home” and “about”.)

If you don’t want to miss a post but get tired checking in only to see that I haven’t written anything recently, you can subscribe to this blog and then WordPress will send you an email when I post a new blog entry.

Our Last Stop

The man who helped us plan our flight,¬†Fri√įgeir (with¬†Reykjavik Helicopters), knew how much I wanted to see Holuhraun. (I could even classify him as a “B√°r√įarbungian” because he had been an avid Mila-cam watcher throughout the eruption.) So when it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to make it out there, he mapped out the best volcano tour that time and weather would allow. Our stop in Heim√¶y was his idea and even if I didn’t get out on Eldfell, I’m still very glad we went.

He also thought there was another place we should visit.¬†He thought we should do the “Inside the Volcano” tour.

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August 15, 2014

I am the daughter and granddaughter of librarians (mother and paternal grandmother). This means, among other things, that I like to collect information.

One year ago today (August 15th) the man who founded VolcanoCafe, Carl, posted his prediction that something would be happening soon with¬†B√°r√įarbunga.

Although I doubt anyone reading this right now has the time or inclination to read the post and especially the comments, doing so could help¬†give you an understanding for why some of us became “Addicted to¬†B√°r√įarbunga” … for a while, it was a real-life mystery-thriller and nobody knew the ending.

(I link to the comments because otherwise you would be taken to the last of 4 pages of comments. Scroll up to read the post.)

Unfortunately, the site was “hijacked” a few months ago and some posts were deleted. It isn’t impossible that some of the posts have been changed or comments deleted. ūüė• (I have a copy-paste of the original text and comments but it is significantly easier to direct you to the existing website.)

The VolcanoCafe blog itself now has a new home:

Vestmannaeyjar: Helicopter Volcano Tour part 6

I’ve started loading pictures onto Flickr. Started. My user name there is “bardarbungian”, so if you go to the Flickr main page, then (I think) click on “people” and type “bardarbungian” in the search box, I should show up. Click through to look at the photos. I haven’t made albums yet, and the photo information doesn’t seem to show up, but I DID place them on the map so if you select map view it will show you where the photos were taken. I’m not sure if I should upload to Flickr¬†just the “better” ones or also include those that I find geologically interesting¬†even if the picture could still use some cleaning up. (I could spend another 10 months cleaning up pictures, I think!)

I left off my last narrative with our having flown over Eyjafjallaj√∂kull and toward Iceland’s south coast. Here is the updated helicopter trip route map. The solid yellow line is what I’ve already written about, the dashed yellow line shows what I haven’t written about yet ¬†ūüôā


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Surtsey: Helicopter, part 6.8

I took lots of photos of volcanoes, hoping to challenge and maybe even stump my friend, Spike Page, who is a volcanoholic. Last night I gave her this challenge:


After many more unhelpful clues, she was unable to figure out what this is a picture of. (And it is about time, I may add, that she didn’t pinpoint me as soon as I pressed “enter” on the first clue!) In the process of my feeding her clues, I was able to take the time to clean up the pictures so now I have a nice collection to show you. (I had to clean up the pictures because it was cloudy and rainy and there were many raindrop smudges on the window of the helicopter.)

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Day 1 – Food

I am not a foodie, but my husband and older son are. Also, I like documenting things. When I showed my husband the OneNote page I had worked up for this, he smiled. I’ve no idea if I’ll do more food-oriented documentation. I would like to. For that matter I’ve no idea how much more I will or won’t do of anything. I’m being so very, very ADHDish about this entire wrap-up. I claim that prerogative. (It is also a great way to extend the vacation and continue to have excuses to not do “real” work. ūüôā )

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Day 5 – Whales! (with pictures)

I have ADHD. Because I have ADHD, I 1) rarely finish a project and 2) hop from project¬†to project to project. I certainly plan on finishing the narrative of our helicopter trip, but for whatever reason I’ve felt compelled to go back and¬†talk about the¬†whale watching in more detail.

Back in my first post on the subject, I said only:

“Whale watching: Speed boat was fun! Definitely the right choice for us, no motion sickness at all. Saw the backs of 2 humpbacks arching up, then went further out and saw blues. Just their backs (and blows). Neat how the boats spot them based on the birds waiting for the stuff the blues didn‚Äôt manage to get into their tummies. Got a snippet of one on a video, I promise I‚Äôll upload stuff later. Maybe 5 other boats out on the water, we sometimes raced each other to get to whales. I wonder if the whales ever intentionally tease the boats and try to lure them out to open seas.”

Now I’ll flush out the details ūüôā

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Laki and Eyjafjallaj√∂kull: Helicopter, part 5

I left of the narrative of our helicopter ride at the point where we turned around to head south again, abandoning the hope of getting to the north edge of Vatnajökull.

It occurs to me that I haven’t once shown you a map of Iceland, much less indicated where we’ve been. So here is a map showing (in yellow) the path of the helicopter trip (so far). The red “H” is where I’d wanted to get to (Holuhraun).


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As Close as I Could Get: Helicopter, part 4

I left off my last Helicopter post with our having spent time on the Svartikambur fissure row. I was in a hurry to post so I didn’t take the time to explain how wonderful it felt to be there. I know I have read that the highlands are “bleak” and even “depressing”. Maybe in the winter-time they are. Maybe if one has many days¬†more hiking with¬†bad weather they are. But from the top of a barren “mountain” on a cloudy and not-too-windy day, it was … nearly perfect.

Perhaps the biggest regret I have, beyond not being able to see Holuhraun/Nornahraun, is that I did not have nearly enough time sitting in solitude in the majesty of Iceland’s natural beauty. In fact, I am not sure I ever sat in solitude. I did get to stand in it for some small bits of time. The fissure offered me a brief taste, but I wish I could go back and sit still for a few minutes, just absorbing. ¬†… Not all of my non-solitude was the fault of others. I am too curious, too observant, too child-like in my glee at the strange sights and sounds and textures. Throughout all of Iceland, and at the fissure, I couldn’t stop LOOKING. Looking down at rocks, looking out at other volcanoes and the glacier. Looking at the clouds. Feeling the¬†cold light wind on my face was uplifting and exhilarating, and I was struck with the amazement of the uniqueness of the experience — how many people had stood up there in the unknown thousands of years since it had been formed? Is it possible that we were the first?! This also creates feelings of guilt; who were we to be so privileged to have a charter helicopter? Were we being the unthinking land-despoilers so often associated with those who “cheat” and don’t hike to such places? So when I close my eyes and try to put myself back on that fissure, I want to remember the feeling of being in such a remote and isolated place. Instead I get a jumble of images and sounds and thoughts … but I know that I was happy. I was very happy.

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