Since I visited Iceland for the first time, I’m following the Icelandic news. Fortunately, there are a couple of sources in English as I don’t understand Icelandic. I tried learning it (there was a starter class created by the Icelandic university), but I dropped out because it was too hard for me. I know a couple of pronunciation rules, but distinguishing the spoken words was nearly impossible for me. But, thankfully there are some trustworthy sources in English available.
Iceland has, besides Greenland, the biggest breeding colonies of puffins. These pretty guys only come to land for breeding. Over the years, the Icelandic government noticed an enormous decrease in puffins in the south (around Vik í Myrdal). When I was there last year again, I only saw a few single birds, instead of the huge number I’ve seen in 2014. In 2014, there were thousands of birds in the air and resting on the sea. At night the rocks were covered by them. In 2020, there were not many birds left. They depend on sand eels and the warmer the water becomes, the fewer sand eels are there. Other sea birds like gulls and Northern fulmars have more options. So, they are not affected. In addition, especially in the south and on the Westman Islands hunting for puffins is still allowed, but the hunters should register their prey.
In 2020 only 13% of the registered hunters registered their prey: 23,000 puffins were cought. It is not clear if the other 87% of the registered hunters waived their right to hunt puffins or if they simply ‘forgot’ to register. Nevertheless, in 2020 the Icelandic government noticed a big decrease in breeding couples in the two main colonies: Westman Islands + Eastfjords. Although the government set up artificial breeding caves to help the birds, 38% of these caves kept unoccupied. In a past blog post, I already explained the breeding habit of puffins.
“the puffin population has decreased by 45% over the last 17 years in Iceland. Low reproduction and food shortages have led to declining in puffin stock.” (source: grapevie.is)
Good news, this year the hunting season is at least shortened from 46 days to only 10.
This image shows another problem. In fall (mid-August) a newborn puffin starts to live his own life alone on the sea. At the age of 3, they came back and the males start digging a cave between the grass and the rock below. The cave becomes approximately 1 meter (3 feet) deep and gets 2 chambers at the end: a breeding room and a toilet. This lasts approximately 6 years (summers = End-of-May to mid-August). When a male has finished the cave, he can start finding a female.
When the Icelandic government sees a high frequented place bearing some dangers, they set up these iron poles and span a line approximately 20 cm above the ground. Here, we have 2 lines and the upper one is at approximately 50 cm. So, you can be pretty sure, it’s very dangerous coming closer to the edge. The edge is very often not solid and seabirds are breeding there. I saw this unfortunately quite often. Even some people were climbing down the rock for getting better photos with their smartphones!!!!! Unbelievable! In the east-fjords, they even set up a wooden fence of approximately 1,2m (4 feet) high, and some people climbed over it.
First: it’s dangerous
- rock is not that solid as you might guess. Water, wind, frost weakens the stone
- wind scratches out the solid between grass and rock
- seabirds digging their long caves in this only 10-20 cm thick soil.
When putting some weight on this, you might break in, stumble and/or fall down the cliff (in the image above, the cliff is about 400m high (1,300 feet). You endanger the birds when breaking into their caves. Even when not killing the breeding parent or the nestling, a hole in the roof could be used by foxes or gulls to steal the nestling.
Another image taken last summer in Iceland. It’s a view from the side to Vestrahorn Mountain, Stokksnes.
As usual, click on the image to enlarge it.
Btw. I’m currently running a raffle. You can win a license of Excire Foto. Check it out!
Today I’m starting in the 8th year of this continuously running series of presenting monochrome images and I still love doing it.
Today, we’re back in Iceland again. This is Djúpalónssandur beach located on the south-western edge of Snæfellsnes peninsula.
You might remember, a couple of weeks ago, I posted an image of the German bird of the year 2021. Today, I have the one, the Icelanders have chosen: European golden plover
The Heiðlóan (pluvialis apricaria), or the European golden plover (Goldregenpfeifer in German) won the election. Once, this bird was common in middle Europe. Nowadays, you can only find it in Northern Europe: Iceland, Faroe Islands, Scandinavia, and Siberia. It has certain requirements for its habitat. (sidenote: I just noticed, the German word Lebensraum was also taken as a loanword into English with exactly the same meaning – wow).
I met these little guys last summer in Iceland a couple of times. This image was taken in the Westfjords.
In German below the images / In Deutsch unter den Bildern
This post is part of the room travel challenge of Puzzleblume. After skipping two opportunities to participate, I’m in this time again for the letters “H” and “I” for hobby and Iceland! Here, you can find my first room travel where I also noted the rules for this challenge. Have a look and participate! I also have certain tags for this challenge: “roomtravel” and “Zimmerreisen“.
You know, last year I was in Iceland again. On my flight back, I watched a documentary on my mobile “Leben anderswo – Island – Von strickenden Männern und Pullovern (Living Elsewhere – Iceland – Of knitting men and sweaters)”. The documentary was about a knitting man in his mid-30s from Reykjavik who started investigating the source of Icelandic wool and the tradition of knitting sweaters. We were also introduced to his (nearly) all-men knitting club and the general information, how popular knitting in Iceland still is. We were also introduced to wool production and dying and a company giving work to women who make their living from knitting. These women get the wool from the company and making sweaters from them. In the end, they get pain per sweater minus the wool costs. It was said, you can get these hand-made sweaters in many places in Iceland.
In the documentary they also showed, all kids in Iceland are learning knitting: boys and girls! When I was in school, I also had to learn some basic knitting, sewing, and crocheting. I wasn’t talented for this kind of craftsmanship (crocheting was the worst of them). Despite this, I feel sorry for these topics aren’t taught anymore at school. Also, many of the now-parents don’t know how to do it and usually, the grant-parents are not nearby to take over (usually the women). Much of the culture and abilities are about to get lost. Because people have to move to keep their work, family structures are destroyed and no one steps in (to be honest, most of the kids don’t have any interest in learning this, when being forced to – nevertheless, they should at least have tried this before becoming a teenager as well as painting or acquiring abilities in mechanics or wood-working). So, either you’re eager to learn it from books, magazines, an already experienced friend, or from videos on youtube.
I liked the documentary very much and was eventually able to persuade my wife to watch it, too. (she hates documentaries in general, regardless of the subject).
After these 45 minutes, she was eager to start knitting an Icelandic sweater herself. After a couple of minutes of googling the internet, she found an online shop dealing not only with dyed Icelandic wool but also knitting packages containing all necessary wool and the pattern for about 40-50 different sweaters and jackets. One of those packages was ordered quickly. Because of the summer holiday of the shop and the pandemic, the delivery lasted quite long. But by mid-August, the package was delivered.
About 6 weeks after the delivery she finalized the jacket. Wow! During the final phases of the first jacket, another package was ordered to make a jacket for herself. Next, our youngest son got one (he’s 21). Seeing this, our grandson (he’s 4 1/2) also asked for a jacket. But, this one should get buttons instead of a zipper as the others have. While waiting for the delivery of the wooden buttons, (2-3 weeks of delivery), my wife started a fifth jacket (a second one for herself). Until the end of February, she knitted 5 Iceland jackets in 6 1/2 months. Wow! She only knitted in the evenings while watching TV to have something to do for her hands and she even knitted and crocheted a few other things like sponges for washing dishes or egg-warmer (Amigurumi) as well as a woolen VW Bulli for a friend as a birthday gift. And there are already plans for two further jackets to start after finishing the current project: a crocheted shopping bag.
Tell me, is she suffering from a virus? Maybe an Iceland-fever-virus despite she never was there?
Dieser Post ist Teil der Zimmerreisen von Puzzelblume. Nachdem ich zwei mal pausieren musste, bin ich diesmal wieder dabei. In meinem ersten Post findest Du die Regeln, um auch selbst mitmachen zu können. Meine Posts hier im blog kannst du mit den Tags “roomtravel” und “Zimmerreisen” finden. Diesmal sind “H” und “I” die Buchstaben. Für mich heißt das “Hobby” und “Island“.
Letztes Jahr war ich ich wieder in Island. Auf dem Rückflug habe ich an meinem Smartphone ein paar Dokus gesehen. Eine davon hieß “Leben anderswo – Island – Von strickenden Männern und Pullovern”. Wie der Name schon sagt, handelte sich von strickenden Männern in Island. Der Haupt-Charakter, ein Mann mitte 30, aus Reykjavik und Mitglied eines Strick-Clubs starte eine Reise zu den Ursprüngen der Isländischen Wolle, dem Färben, und was sonst so damit zusammen hängt. Er stellt uns auch seinen Strick-Club vor, der sich regelmäßig zum gemeinsamen Stricken in Reykjavik trifft. Fast ausschließlich Männer! Aber auch eine Firma, für die Frauen im ganzen land die Handgestickten Pullover aus gestellter Wolle erstellen. Man soll diese Pullover wohl an vielen Orten auf und In Island kaufen können.
In der Doku wurden auch Isländische Kinder gezeigt, die in der Schule stricken lernen: Jungen und Mädchen. Als ich in der Schule war, musste ich auch stricken, häkeln und nähen lernen. Allerdings war ich dafür nicht sonderlich talentiert (Häkeln war das schlimmste davon). Meine Kinder hatten das nie in der Schule. Und auch in meiner Altersgruppe war das eher die Ausnahme. Auch wenn ich es nicht mochte, finde ich es gut, dass das Kindern nahegebracht wird. Wie Sport und Malen sollte auch Handarbeiten und Werken erlernt werden bevor sie zu Teenagern werden. Wenn sie es mögen, können sie später darauf aufbauen. Wenn sie es nicht mögen, haben sie es zumindest probiert. Eltern und Großeltern können so etwas heute nicht mehr leisten. Beide Elternteile müssen arbeiten (wenn überhaupt beide Elternteile da sind), und haben es in der Regel selbst nicht mehr gelernt. Großeltern müssen ebenfalls noch arbeiten oder sind weiter weg. Die heutige Notwenigkeit der Arbeit hinterher zu ziehen zerstört leider solche Familien-Strukturen. Und Schulen fehlt die Zeit, das Lehrpersonal und die Fähigkeiten bei den Lehrkräften, Handarbeiten anzubieten. So bleiben für wirklich interessierte Personen das lernen ahand von Büchern, Magazinen, erfahrenen Freunden oder Youtube-Videos. Schade!
Ich fand diese Doku so interessant, dass ich meine Frau überzeugen konnte, sie sich ebenfalls anzusehen. Normalerweise schaut sie überhaupt keine Dokus. Aber nach 45 Minuten war sie nicht nur begeistert, sondern angesteckt, selbst einen Island-Pullover zu stricken. Nach weinigen Minuten suchens im Internet fand sie einen Online-Shop, der nicht nur original Island-Wolle anbot, sondern ganze Pakete mit Wollzusammenstellungen für komplette Pullover und Jacken. Etwa 40-50 verschiedene Modelle waren im Angebot. So wurde ein Paket bestellt. Aufgrund von Sommerferien und Pandemie dauerte die lieferung zwar etwas, aber Mitte August war das Paket da.
Etwa 6 Wochen später war die Jacke fertig. Wow! Während der letzen Phase wurde schon das nächste Paket geordert. Dann ein weiteres für unseren jüngsten Sohn. Dann wollte unser Enkel auch eine Jacke haben. Diesmal sollte die Jacke aber Knöpfe statt eines Reißverschlusses bekommen. Wie haben tolle Holzknöpfe gefunden. Leider aber wieder eine längere Lieferzeit. In der Zeit wurde die fünfte Jacke begonnen, ebenfalls mit Holzknöpfen. Fünf Island-Jacken in 6 1/2 Monaten. Wow. Und sie hat nur in den Abendstunden beim Fernsehen gestrickt, um eine Beschäftigung für die Hände zu haben. In der gleichen Zeit wurden auch noch andere Dinge gestrickt und gehäkelt: Eierwärmer, Spülschwämme (Amigurumi), ein VW Bulli für einen Freund als Geburtstagsgeschenk. Und es gibt schon Pläne für zwei weitere Jacken wenn das aktuelle Projekt fertig ist: eine gehäkelte Einkaufstasche.
Hat sie sich ein Virus eingefangen? Vielleicht ein Island-Fiber-Virus obwohl sie nie dort war?
This week’s challenge is easy for me. Amy is asking for “precious moments”. Everyone has so valuable memories. Memories as precious as gold, silver, or diamonds like i.e. your wedding, the birth of your first child, getting a certain job, getting a promotion, you name it.
But, I’m telling you a different story now. You know, in 2014 I was in Iceland for the first time. And that country captured me. Right after my return, I started collecting hints and started planning my next visit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find someone willing to accomplish me. Either the plan was too exhausting or the costs too high. You know, Iceland is quite an expensive country. By the end of last year, out of the blue, a mail arrived in my mailbox: a friend was looking for company for his own trip. As he regularly organizes such trips to different countries he knows a lot of people. His initial plan and my plans were mostly congruent and he was willing to add my additional destination to the plan. When the Covid19 pandemic started in China, I didn’t assume it would reach Europe. But, it did! When it came over to Europe End of February, there was still hope to be already over. We were about to start on June 13th. But, the pandemic lasted longer and longer. At some point in May, Iceland was virus-free again. But not the plane and no ferry was operating. Even the airlines didn’t cancel the flights. We were kind of locked. Finally, we the cancellation and were able to book seats on the first flight from Frankfurt to Reykjavik. What a precious moment, when I left the airport after the COVID19 test. Everything went well from that point on.
The other touching moment was near the end of our trip. During my first trip, I was guided to a beautiful waterfall located on private ground, as usual. No path was leading to the waterfall, no parking ground available and I even didn’t get a name. Unfortunately, the sky was dull and I didn’t get a nice image. Fortunately, I was able to find the waterfall during the last years in the maps. Since 2014 I’m following Icelanding news (in English) and had to read, the landowners had closed every possible way to reach the waterfall because of the misbehavior of many tourists: leaving their waste, trample down the sensitive plants, and even shit (yes!) behind the bushes! So, I assumed, I’d never see it again. But, while preparing the tour for this year, I noticed, the landowner created a small parking ground and prepared a path river-up to the waterfall. A one hour hike over quite challenging ground leads up to the waterfall. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the parking ground. Instead, we parked our car near a path leading river-down to the waterfall and started our hike. After 20 minutes or so, we reached the river, about 20 meters broad. We saw the river flew too strong to cross it. The ford seemed to be passable for horses, but for humans. There was too much water running down. We walked a bit up and down the river to see if there’s another option. but, there was no other option for us. At least we didn’t see one. So, we started walking back. Halfway back, a group of Icelanders came to meet us. Surprisingly, they asked us, how far it’d be to the river. We got to know, they were also on a hike to that waterfall and invited us to join. They said, one of them would know, how to cross the river even as a human. So, we joined the group. But, when arriving at the river again, they saw, the river had too much water to allow us, to cross it. But, they had a plan B. A short distance down the river was a bridge. So we were able to cross the river save and finally reach the waterfall.
Standing in the same place again as 6 years ago, I was touched to tears.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful waterfall of Iceland: mostly because of the color of the water: turquois!
So, finally I can say, the more complicate it is to reach a certain goal or the more efford you have to invest to reach it, the more preciuos the goal becames!
I guess, nearly everyone immediately connects this image to Iceland. It’s the iconic mountain Kirkjufell, located on a small peninsula on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, with the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in front, where the river Kirkjufellsá reaches sea level after falling down 16 meters.
It was great being there at a time with nearly no other tourists. Exactly opposite to me, a hiking path follows the river and I suspect many people standing there watching this beautiful waterfall. While I was there, only 3 other guys were watching from there. So, it was easy to wait a couple of minutes.
Búðakirkja, located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West-Iceland, is a natural-born black-and-white image when having typical Iceland weather. When visiting this lonely church, a remnant of a sunken fishermen’s village, on a day when the sky is covered by thick clouds and the air seems to be soaked with fine spray reminding of light fog, you definitely feel like being teleported into an ancient black-and-white movie. It feels so strange standing in front of a well-shaped small church in the middle of nowhere. The church is painted in black and only the door and the windows are framed in white. The whole scene is kind of surreal. In the next days, I’m showing you another image where you can see the surroundings, too.
This is the same waterfall like the one I showed you last week. But, this image is from outside the waterfall and from a little distance. The other difference is, this image is shot with a longer exposure time to make the rushing water more visible.