The purpose of a trip to Iceland and Heimaey Island: <ul><li>Research puffins and puffin colonies in their natural habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Rescue stranded pufflings in the streets of Vestmannaeyjar, as described in “Nights of the Pufflings” by Bruce McMillan </li></ul>“ Nights of the Pufflings” Adventure
<ul><li>Westernmost country of Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Island in the North Atlantic Ocean </li></ul>Where in the World is Iceland? Just below the Arctic Circle
Land of Fire and Ice Dominated by the bare elements of water and ice, rock and fire
Seljalandsfoss, South Iceland Iceland’s only waterfall that can be walked behind
<ul><li>Journal Excerpt “Lost in Iceland, Day 3” </li></ul><ul><li>Vik, Iceland </li></ul><ul><li>L undi! We traveled south all the way to Vik, where we walked on black sand beaches and saw mysterious offshore stacks. Friendly villagers suggested we climb up to the cliffs to see puffins! We hiked a mountain path through fog and rain and when we thought we were up high enough we edged out to the cliffs. Yes, there they were circling the sky and perched outside their grassy burrows. What a thrill! </li></ul><ul><li> Iceland is a rough and natural place. We watched miles of vast lands of grazing sheep and ponies. Volcanic desert pass us by on the trip to Vik and I feel “Lost in Iceland”. </li></ul>
This is a view of the island from the approaching ferry. Guess what the tiny white specks on the cliffs are?
Vestmannaeyjar Westman Islands <ul><li>Areas of ground on Heimaey, Westman Islands, are still warm from the volcanic eruption in 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>This is Eldfell where people can bake bread in the ash </li></ul>
Passenger trucks pick up party goers night and day. This photo was taken just before midnight.
<ul><li>Journal Excerpt “Lost in Iceland, Day 5” </li></ul><ul><li>Vestmannaeyjar, Westman Islands </li></ul><ul><li> The island is breathtaking as the ferry floats through the fjords. Birds circle above and I study the sky for the short black bodies I came to see. I use binoculars and see sheep grazing high on the cliffs. Coming to port in Vestmannaeyjar, we feel a little unbalanced from being 3 hours on the rocky seas and were relieved to find a car waiting to take us to the hotel. </li></ul><ul><li>The Icelandic people on the ferry and on the island are lively. They are celebrating a national holiday weekend and the island swells to five times its normal population. Flocks of people dressed in yellow hip-waders and woolen sweaters make their way toward a glow in the bright midnight sky. We join the festival in the valley which has clearly been going on for days. We walked through campsites to a raging bonfire where thousands of Icelanders swayed arm in arm in a hillside sing-along. Flares and fireworks energized the crowd. The festival went on like that into the morning and we found ourselves “Lost beyond Iceland”. </li></ul>
This building was covered by lava in Eldfell’s 1973 eruption
Land still taking shape The youngest country in the world <ul><li>Iceland is still taking shape: the newest land is Surtsey, an island which rose from the sea during an underwater eruption off the south coast in 1963 </li></ul>
Millions of puffins inhabit Iceland and the Westman Islands from April to August year after year.
These sea birds live at sea in the winter and fly ashore for the summer breeding season.
Each spring adult birds return to the same rocky islands where they were born. They gather offshore in large groups called rafts. In a few days, they pair off and fly to land.
Puffin colonies nest in the soft earth in underground tunnels.
Lundi (an Icelandic nick name for puffins) talk in their underground burrows, it sounds like a soft growling.
<ul><li>Pufflings stay hidden while the parents find food until one day when the puffling is ready to take its first flight to sea. One night it finds its way out of the burrow, walks off the edge of a cliff, and plops into the sea. </li></ul>
<ul><li> Each year in mid-August, pufflings leave their cliff nests to take their first flight to life at sea. Millions of these young birds can be seen leaving Heimaey Island in south Iceland. </li></ul><ul><li>Many pufflings are drawn by bright lights to the nearby towns and are rescued by the island children at night with their cardboard boxes prepared to gather the lost and totally bewildered pufflings. In the morning, the children take them down to the shore to release them out to sea. </li></ul><ul><li>Bruce McMillan, children’s author and photo illustrator, has photographed several of his book in Iceland, including “Nights of the Pufflings”. He is known on the island as “Bruce McMillan and his puffin patrol”. He is currently working in Iceland on a chapter book of a young boy growing up on Heimaey Island. </li></ul>Nights of the Pufflings
An outdoor museum displays contemporary artwork portraying common Icelanders
A skilled puffin hunter uses a net to disrupt a puffin’s path
A *kind farmer remembers dancing down in the village when he was young and carefree *Kind: Icelandic nickname for horned sheep
Why is Iceland Treeless? <ul><li>Over the centuries they were chopped down for timber and firewood </li></ul><ul><li>Grazing sheep, harsh winters and ash from volcanic eruptions caused erosion that prevented trees from taking root </li></ul><ul><li>Iceland today plants more trees per head of population than any other nation </li></ul>
The Docile Icelandic Horse The Iceland horse accompanied the first settlers over 1,100years ago and the breed has remained pure ever since .
Wildlife in Iceland <ul><li>Arctic Fox is the only native mammal </li></ul><ul><li>Animals brought by Vikings are the Icelandic horse, cow, sheep, and sheepdog </li></ul><ul><li>Reindeer, Mink </li></ul><ul><li>Marine mammals include the minke whale, humpback whale, fin whale and several species of seals </li></ul>