Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For puffins: Ingolfshofdi , Iceland

If you want to see puffins up close and personal, this is the place to do it. But it was also the hardest thing we did the whole trip.

The Ingolfshofdi cape juts out into the North Atlantic. It is at the end of a huge sand flat and is on private property.

The farmer who owns the land does a daily tour to the cape (every day except Sunday). He has his tractor hooked up to an open hay wagon and everyone climbs in the back for the 30 minute ride over the flats.

That's the easy part. Once you get to the cape, it is time to climb the escarpment. The climb is on soft sand and is TOUGH! We were exhausted when we got to the top. But what we found up there made it worthwhile.

There were 100s, if not 1000s, of puffins. And we could easily get within 3-4 feet of them to take pictures. Also, on the top of the escarpment, we saw skuas, very large birds of prey that we first saw in Antarctica.

If seeing puffins up close and personal is on your list of things to do in Iceland, this is the place to do it.

Another good place to see puffins is the west side of the escarpment at Vik, where it's only a short walk from the parking lot. They are on the hillside and flying from there to the sea. Not as good as seeing them at Ingolfshofdi but if one doesn't want to make the climb, this was the second best place we saw them.