Iceland 2001: Returning to Heimaey

Heimaey Wrapped in an Embrace by the Volcano Eldfell

Heimaey Wrapped in an Embrace by the Volcano Eldfell

It was difficult getting to Heimaey back in 2001. I had two choices: Either I could take a gut-wrenching 3½-hour ferry ride across the stormy North Atlantic from Þorláshöfn (famous for seasickness) or I could fly there. Now there is a cheaper choice: I could take the ferry from Landeyjahöfn, which is only a 30-minute ferry ride. Back then, I took a ruinously expensive day trip by flying Flugfélag Íslands from Reykavík. Below is a picture of the prop plane I took on that occasion.

The Prop Plane to Heimaey

The Prop Plane to Heimaey

The main reason I’m going to Heimaey is the same reason I decided to go in August 2001, namely to see puffins. I was just a tad late, as I could see the white spots of puffins leaving the bird cliffs for their flight to the British Isles. Here is a picture of the puffins vacating their nests for the flight over the North Atlantic:

PuffinCliffs

The Little White Spots Are Puffins

This time I did my research and timed my visit right. There should be something like two-three million of the little birds feeding their young when I get there.

I will be staying at the Hotel Vestmannaeyjar for two nights, so I should have plenty of time to see the bird life on the island, as well as the volcano show and little natural history museum. There also used to be a fish cannery museum, but I no longer see it mentioned in the lists of sights to visit. Nonetheless, I plan to have plenty of fish, as Heimaey is the busiest fishing port in Iceland. That’s why the Icelanders were so frantic about saving the harbor in 1973 when the volcano Eldfell erupted.