Monthly Archives

September 2015

Crisis Puffins in Mini Comeback

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

Four-times more pufflings have been registered in this year’s census on the Westman Islands than last year—but the puffin stock is still a long way from recovery.

The Sæheimar aquarium on the Westman Islands, off South Iceland, has registered 429 pufflings (puffin chicks) this year, compared to 99 at this time last year and 30 the year before.

These figures are all considerably lower than 2012, when 800 pufflings were counted, weighed and assessed.

Puffin nesting on the Westman Islands, the world’s largest Atlantic puffin colony, has been catastrophically low for over a decade due to several factors, including a collapse in the sand eel stock, RÚV reported.

According to Sæheimar, this year’s heaviest puffling was 318 grams and was found at the Eiðið gravel isthmus. Residents who find pufflings under 230 grams are asked to feed them up for a few days before releasing them.

The Westman Islands are famous for their millions of nesting puffins and their many thousands of chicks—though not in the last decade. However, as the puffin is a relatively long-lived bird, there is hope of a recovery—especially if next year’s brood could be four-times bigger than this year’s…


Man Who Visited Every Country Recommends Iceland

By | Iceland in the News | No Comments

Having visited every country in the world, one man reveals the 12 countries he would recommend to other people above all others.

At just 36-years-old, Norwegian Gunnar Garfors was the youngest person known to have visited every country in the world, The Independent reports.

Although he embarked upon the epic trip as the result of losing a bet, he was lucky enough to not need to give up his job, and was able to work on-the-go using his laptop.

Since returning home, lucky Gunnar has revealed the 12 countries he would recommend to other people.

They are: Norway, New Zealand, Vietnam, Iceland, Romania, Uruguay, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Dominica, Kiribati, Sierra Leone and Kyrgyzstan.

Gunnar completed his long journey in Cape Verde, just before his 37th birthday in 2013.

In a poll on The Independent’s website, of his top-12, the most readers have visited Norway and the fewest have visited Kyrgyzstan. Iceland is in fourth place; though Gunnar presents the countries in no particular order.


Justin Bieber in Iceland

By | Local News From Iceland | No Comments

Canadian musician Justin Bieber landed at Keflavík Airport today, Vísir reports.

Bieber drove straight to nearby Reykjanesbær and parked in front of Lemon, a sandwich place.

“Unfortunately, he had no time to eat, but said he might come back later,” stated Lemon owner, Jón Þór Gylfason. “He and 15 bodyguards arrived in two huge Mercedes Benz vans. He’s clearly here with two friends. They all ran alongside Lemon toward the ocean, where there is a rock wall, popular with tourists.” According to Jón, they had cameras and recording equipment.

Once he returned, he was greeted by two Lemon employees. They were allowed to chat with him, but the bodyguards made sure no photos were taken. “He asked the employees what it was like living in Iceland and such. He said he had a stopover here in Iceland and didn’t want any photos taken,” Jón told Vísir.


  • Justin Bieber was in Iceland today, but may well be gone.
  • He was not hungry.
  • He wanted a picture of the ocean.
  • Saying he might be back to Lemon may indicate he’s planning another trip to Iceland. It could also simply mean he’s polite.

He just posted a picture of himself in Fjaðrárgljúfur, South Iceland, close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, wearing only his wet, white, Calvin Klein underwear, giving a high five. He appears delighted after a glacial dip. Below is another picture Bieber has posted on Instragram from his trip in Iceland.

Update:RÚV reports Bieber is here to work on a video.

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World’s Largest “Hot Tub”

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

There is a new kind of hot tub in our country, with an adjacent whirlpool, in amazing landscape. The designer, however, is not likely to present it at any international conference of hot tub developers. The reason: her name is Mother Nature.

“The hot tub must be the world’s largest, “ said Hörður Jónasson, guide, about the new bathing spot in the Holuhraun lava field, Vísir reports.

“This is a unique, world class bathing spot,” Hörður continued.

Warm, glacial water (melting water from Dyngjujökull glacier) flows north from the south end of Holuhraun, under and through the lava and comes out at the north end. This is a large amount of water, 35° to 40° C warm [95°-104° F].”

On the edge of the lava field is a basin, 400-500 m2 (4300-5400 ft.2), and, therefore, likely, the largest in the world. This is how Hörður describes it: “Warm water flows from the basin, forming a river, 40 cm (1 ft. 4 in.) deep. The comfortable current works well as a whirlpool.”

You must be careful, though. The new lava field has very sharp edges. Hörður stresses that you need to bring an extra pair of shoes, because you need to wear shoes while wading the river, but mainly in the hot tub, which is in the lava field. Also, be aware that the temperature of the water can fluctuate and reach as much as 50° C (122° F).

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Day of Icelandic Nature is Today

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

“Today, Icelanders celebrate the Day of Icelandic Nature for the fifth time, RÚV reports. The day is celebrated to pay tribute to environmentalist Ómar Ragnarsson’s contribution to environmental protection and public education about the importance of Icelandic nature.

Many people use the opportunity to share nature-related pictures, stories, music or poetry, on social media. When doing so, they’ve been using the hashtags #stadurinnminn (“my place”) and #DÍN (abbreviation for “Day of Icelandic Nature” in Icelandic). The goal is to use this day to open people’s eyes to the country’s unique nature, its uses and value.

There will be educational programs all around the country to celebrate the day. For a complete list of events, please visit the website of the Ministry for the Environment.”

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Reykjanes Geopark Internationally Accredited

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

Reykjanes Geopark in Southwest Iceland was accepted into the European Geoparks Network (EGN) in Rokua Geopark in Finland on September 5. EGN is supported by UNESCO and is the formal association of areas in Europe that have important geological significance.

The acceptance of Reykjanes Geopark into EGN is considered to be a significant acknowledgment for inhabitants, organizations and companies in the region and a testimony to the unique qualities and worldwide significance of the area, as stated in a press release.

The accreditation will be used to promote the area for future visitors, as well as for building and maintaining facilities and developing educational and training activities.

Reykjanes Geopark is 825 square km (319 square miles) in size. Reykjanes peninsula lies on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is the only place in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is visible above sea level.

It has diverse geothermal and volcanic activity; among its biggest attractions are the hot springs of Seltún geothermal area in Krýsuvík.

The area also includes Keflavík International Airport and the municipalities of Reykjanesbær, Grindavíkurbær, Sandgerðisbær, Garður and Vogar.

Like other members of EGN Reykjanes Geopark works towards increasing interest of the earth by focusing on geological and cultural heritage, educating inhabitants and visitors about the area, and taking good care of the region for future generations.


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