Published: November 23rd 2008August 18th 2008
We started the day with what, for me was to be one of the highlights of the trip, a trip to Ingólfshöfði aka Puffin Island. Despite being threatened that the puffins had already flown we were assured that the majority had not yet done so and we were guarenteed to see them. The word 'guarantee' should have put us on our guards to begin with but no matter.
We piled onto our tractor pulled cart (standing room only) for a very wet and bumpy ride over the flloded black sand beaches towards Puffin Island. Admittedly it was actually very fun despite the constant banging of camaras on the sides and getting soaked every time the tractor changed direction.
We arrived and were faced with the uphill slog on sand to reach the top of the cliffs - no problem, nothing was going to stop me seeing the puffins. Except for the fact that there were no puffins - a fact our local guide imparted to us as we reached the top. He seemed surprised we didn't know (why else we would have come I don't know) but placated us that there might be a few stragglers around.
seen other people's photos literally knee-deep in a carpet of puffins I was somewhat put out to say the least! We walked along the cliff tops tripping over puffin nest holes every five seconds (at least we know they were there!) before finally being told there were some puffins on the cliff face (our guide had binoculars with him so we had to rely on him to tell us whether the distant black specks were in fact puffins or not.)
Dozens of tiny black specks on the sea below us convinced us that we were just managing to see the last of the departing puffins but even the best of our camaras couldn't quite get a decent photo. A few decided to be friedlier and settled on the cliffs so, with full zoom, I coud just get some very distant and equally blurry puffin pictures. It was a pleasant (if very cold) walk anyway and we saw plenty of other seabirds.
Another bumpy (and by now even wetter) ride in our tractor trailer back across the sands to go onto Skaftafell National Park to try ice climbing. Never one to turn down a new experience I figured walking
on spikes couldn't be that hard - I was wrong. I'm sure there's a knack to it but on the two hour climb I think I spent more time twisting my ankles than actually climbing. Very good exercise though - I was utterly exhausted by the end of the day.
Back home to the hostel to warm up before visiting the local church and fairy houses (yes, they do exist.) A rather whimsical tradition seems to have lots of houses with miniature houses outside the door for their fairy guests!
There are more photos below