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Iceland – Meeting on Another planet XVII

Published: 15.3.2015
Dyrhólaey is a peninsula on the south of the country. It is also a natural reservation. There are many rocky cliffs of various shapes. The cliffs are favored by maritime birds such as puffin, duck, or murre. Beaches of black lava sand fill the area between the rocks.

25. 8. 2013


When you get up grassy hill above the sea, you will see the southernmost part of the island – a narrow rock window sometimes referred to as “the Gate to Iceland”. There are couple of possibilities how to get there. I chose rocks to the right from the parking lot. There is a lure related to my photographing desire – landing puffin.


Now lets check the place where we live. A nice camp near the town of Vík. According to my friend who is a photographer by profession, Vík is the place to take pictures of puffins. Unfortunately, I couldn’t resist to go to thermal spas. It is not that it wasn’t nice. But I loose precious time I would otherwise spend watching the birds, popular feature on pictures from Iceland made by holidaymakers. Well, what you can do. I chose to take a bath first, the experiences. Smelling good and clean upon healthy bath, I skip dinner and go o nthe beach. I have to reach distant cliffs because this is the place I search for. They confirmed me, at the reception in the camp, that black-and-white handsome with distinct orange features nest there, and it returns on the cliffs in the evening.

There is not much commotion on the beach. Sometimes you can see a seagull. Some pose really nice. Rocks are close and I recognize some colored points on the cliffs. Below the slope is the first photographer. I talk with him about puffin locations. He waves his hand to all directions. There are really everywhere. But don’t get confused. It wont be that easy. The birds are on the top of the cliff.

I climb up with my bag containing both lenses, and a monopod which might come in handy. The backpack is very heavy, and the climb is awful. It is hard to walk it. Slope is wet and grass is at least 30 cm high. It is really slippery. On four it is much better. I pas by another photographer. He points to the cliff projection about 4 meters above us. There should be better view to take pictures. I climb in wet terrain, meter after meter. I am driven by desire to have great pics of this gorgeous bird …

Finally, I have reached a cliff. I plan to get up, lean against it, and get camera ready. My plans end up unfulfilled. When I grab the cliff and lean back to straighten up, I reel and almost fall down. The part of the cliff I grabbed ended up in my hand, crumbled. I lean against some sort of clay projections, and badly secured I try to change the lens. Even here are puffins. They are quite far away so I have to use a long-distance lens. It is really difficult. I struggle on not solid slippery terrain. I am really glad that I didn’t loose any of my equipment. I get ready my monopod to have the best pictures possible. Yes, there are many of them. Surprisingly, they don’t stay on one place, they don’t pose. They must wonder what a fool got up here, and what is she trying to do. Well, the pics were anything but extraordinary. Still, the experience is great as well as my enthusiasm. It is one of the best things that happened to me on Iceland. The birds are really photogenic. Every picture I get is a little trophy.

Time flows, there is less of light. I look around, no other photographer is there. I have to pack my camera and go down. It is easy to say but hard to do. Sometimes I am worrying that I lost a lense cap, fortunately it is not true. So, lets go to the beach. It is hard to walk so I just sit on the slope and slide on my bottom down. There is no other option. Do you remember when I was just about to set off to see little animals in tailcoat? I was clean, freshly out of the bath yet now I am descending to the beach completely soaking wet, dirty of mud, but happy! There surely will be some great photos! In such a state, I cannot go into the tent. I have to wash my clothes somewhere and clean it.Bus drivers are nice to me, so I can leave my clothes there to have something to wear on the next day. In the evening, I play couple of card games with friends. Then I lay down and sleep. Tired but happy.

Next time we will visit magical and colorful lava field, and then, as usual, we will see a waterfall.


Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová


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