Animals


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Minke whale The most impressive animal you can see on (or actually: near) Iceland, is the whale. From several harbours you can book a trip on a former whaling-boat to hunt for whales. With your camera, of course. 

The Minky Whale is the whale which almost everybody will encounter. Depending on the location and the time of year you can as well see the hunchback or the blue whale. We were not that lucky, and the photos in the brochure with whales at five meters from the boat are probably once-in-a-time. Still, a whale of 'only' 10 meters length at a distance of 30 meters is great to see. 

As a bonus, we come close to an island with thousands and thousands of puffins (fratercula arctica). The puffins come to this island in May. They breed, and in August, when their young are able to fly, they leave again. In the winter they stay at sea.  

Puffin in flight

Thousands of puffins

At the picture above you can see lots of small dots. Those are all birds: seagulls and puffins. 
In the South, near Skaftafell National Park, a farmer brings you to Ingˇlfsh÷fdi, a rocky island where a lot of birds can be seen. The farmer or his son will tell you everything about the place and its inhabitants. The island is named after the first settler of Iceland, Ingˇlfur Arnarson. He lived for a winter at this place, before he found his wooden god-statues at Reykjavik and moved there. 

Baby Skua

Great Skua

Fulmar A large colony of Great Skuas (stercorarius skua) lives here. This endangered species has a bad name, as they dive at you to protect their young. So does the common tern (sterna paradisaea), but those are a lot smaller. An easy way to keep your head unharmed, is to hold a stick over your head. They attack the stick instead of your head. 

We saw lots of other birds on this trip: fulmars (fulmarus glacialis), black backed gull (larus fuscus), the impressive gannet (sula bassana), cormorant shag (phalacrocorax aristotelis) and some puffins from really close-by. 

In the North (and at several other places) colonies of seals can be seen. You have to drive some distance over a gravel-road, and then walk for half an hour. At this walk you come through a colony of the Noordse stern, who will attack you (but the trick with the stick works here as well). The reward is the view of hundreds of seals. That is different from the sanctuary in Pieterburen in the Netherlands, where you can see very pitiful baby-seals. Here they are really alive and enjoying the sun.

Seals on a rock

Seals enjoying the sun

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