August 9 &10th-Iceland

It’s another drizzly day here so we have not much desire to explore before heading to the pier. At the gas pumps in Reykjavik on the way to the ship, I noticed that price of gas was 336 ISK or CAD$3.31/L. I suppose that we shouldn’t complain.

This was such an easy well organized arrival onto the ship…. Oceania Insignia, the only one of the smaller ships that I have not been on. Since we last were on any of their ships they have totally redecorated and improved somethings aboard. They certainly have done a beautiful job.

As we headed off to the sea, things got rockier and rockier. It was really very difficult to walk after having dinner….. and all night long it was a rockin’

Today in Isafjourdur, our tour is to the bird island of Vigur, meaning the point of a spear because of its shape. The only inhabitants are a couple and their 6 year old son. She, who is British, is the first and only woman to have crossed Antarctica solo. On the island we apparently will see puffins, black guillemots, eiderdown ducks, arctic terns & oyster catchers. It is open to tourists and scientists that investigate bird life… one of the best places in the world to do so.

Walking with sticks held high to prevent being dive-bombed.

They harvest the down from the eiderdown ducks. It is so, so incredibly soft …. The weight of which is nothing. You’ve heard of featherweight…. well “that” weight is way more than nothing. I believe the gal told us that 80% of the world’s production is in Iceland but that they don’t produce anything like clothing, etc., from it…. that it is all sent out of the country to be made. How they harvest the down is, the harvesters when the momma duck leaves the nest for a short while, go and raid the nest of the down, replace it with straw and replace the eggs all within 30 seconds.

When we walked around the island we were given poles that you held up above your head so that the dive-bombing arctic terns didn’t attack your head. We saw lots of terns….. babies included. Also we saw lots of black guillemots but best of all were the puffins. Babies are called “pufflings”. When the adults leave on their migration, they leave the babies behind …. apparently because the babies are way to fat to fly. We would be close to the last group to see the adults before they leave. As the days get much shorter (around end of September) the babies will have lost enough weight to leave the nest to join the migration. Oh my goodness are they cute! I can only imagine the cuteness of the babies. Just before we were to return to our boat, several of us went to have another look and guess what…… there was one out of the water sitting on a rock (just about their entire life is lived in the water…and not really close enough to take good pictures). As the guide/shop cashier told us, they will get so many fish in their beaks, they will strutting their stuff, letting the others know how good they are at catching them…. like “look at me, look how good I am”!!!

Puffins
“Look at me, look see what a good fisher I am!“

After our initial walk, we were invited to coffee and “Happy Marriage Cake”….(with whipped cream), something Iceland is famous for…. and to warm up. The cake is made with rhubarb jam…..from rhubarb that is grown in the garden on the island. That’s about all that can be grown here. God it’s cold….>10C.

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