21st June 2023 (Day 38): Vestmannaeyjabaer (Heimaey)- puffins, where are thou?

It was quite a busy well planned day today. We started off toward the island main volcano, which erupted in 1973. The eruption lasted for 6 months and detroyed much of the town. The museum on the way tells the fascinating story and makes you relive the event. Its 2nd story is entirely dedicated to Surtsey, an island born from a 1963 eruption. With heavy restriction of human contact, it is a fabulous research centre for volcanic active and earth's life.  The walk to the top of the volcano is more pleasant than strenuous. The oxidised lava rock has an attractive orange colour and the view from the top is unsurprisingly spectacular. 

The west islands are home to the largest  Atlantic puffin colony in the world and it is with great anticipation that we walk the 2 hours to the craggy cliffs. But the puffins were nowhere to be seen, only their deserted burrows testified of their annual nesting here. Perhaps we were too early in the season. 

The hitchhiking back to town wasn't as easy as in the Faroes but eventually we were picked up by a very helpful retired teacher who takes us straight to a viking house.  Unfortunately the viking (the guys realllly looked like a viking!) was closing up but we chatted for a while before his little viking family came to pick him up. Decidedly, Icelandics are more friendly than our harbourmaster! 

We hike along the ridge to return back to the harbour. The views are beautiful and i almost forget my discomfort with heights. Back onboard, our friendly french neightbours kindly offer us their fresh cod fillets caught earlier today. I think they took pity on us as we've been able to catch anything! 

Leave a reply