One hundred thousand seabirds!

Added 29 May 2014

Early up today if you wish to enjoy one of the greatest seabird habitats in Iceland. We are passing the Hornbjerg Cliff, home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds! Along the same cliffs there is a small lighthouse and someone spots a person waving. This is a very remote area so we wonder how they got there and what they are doing. The FRAM keeps a distance but with binoculars we can make out three people on the shore. Klaus, one of our expedition team, announces we are sending out a rescue boat. A PolarCirkel boat is duly launched and heads off to shore. We can only just make out in the distance but three people are rescued and the boat heads back towards the FRAM. Only when they get close up do we realise the occupants are other members of our expedition team who had been out on an early morning recce! Apparently they were dropped off one side of the mountain at around 5am and had to reach us around the other side by a certain time. This turned out to be quite an adventure with some scrambling on all fours, dashing through snow and running, before wading through waste deep water to the “rescue boat”.

On board there are bridge visits, briefings about the following days and lectures from Edda, Steffen, Klaus and Sabine. On arrival in Siglufjordur Richard and Dawn decide to offer one of their ad hoc walks. These are best described as a wander around town with no particular plan! We pass the commissioner’s office, the only petrol station and the post office. In the centre of town we try the door to the church but it is locked. Dawn continues u to a viewpoint with guests while Richard chats to the locals to try and discover where the Vicar lives and if the church can be opened. Dawn finds some other locals and finds out the vicar is locked inside the church with the choir! There is a concert tonight and a secret rehearsal is going on. Back in the centre of town we see some festivities and hear some music. We all head in that direction to discover a political rally. It is election day on Sunday.

A little further on Peter discovers a small fishing boat unloading its catch. We all go and look. Large metal boxes are lifted from the ship’s hold onto the quayside. A forklift truck picks these up one by one and empties them into large plastic containers. Another truck picks up the plastic boxes and takes them into the nearby factory for packing in ice before being loaded onto lorries for transportation. The fish are cod and they are large … up to 3 feet long each. And they are heavy! There are also some large red fish. These live in deep water and are called Rose Fish or Ocean Perch.

One of the optional excursions today was fishing with the ship’s officers and they bring back they own catch … over 350 kgs of cod! After dinner the chef shows how the fish are prepared. Not everyone attends the demonstration but most of us will be dining on fresh fish tomorrow!