Iceland 2015 Day Five – Puffins ahoy!

We woke up with a clear purpose… We were going to hunt down some of these adorable puffins and then shoot them. With our cameras, of course. (Come on, do you think I would actually shoot these adorable little things?)

Chris and I booked seats on the Puffin Express tour provided by Special Tours for only 5,000 ISK per person. When we showed up at their booth in the Old Reykjavik Harbor, we were greeted by a friendly clerk – I showed her our confirmation email and we were given the tickets and waited for our turn to get on the boat.

14:30 came by and the tour guide called us over to the boat, affectionately name Skúlaskeið, or “Old Skuli”, built in 1959. She’s a tough old boat with a shallow hull, allowing for much closer approach to the islands we would be visiting.

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On the way to our first stop, Engey Island, the guide regaled us with stories about the puffins. They are apparently Iceland’s national treasures, and are protected as such. They avoid any mammals, so they tend to nest on remote, uninhabited islands or along the coast. Engey Island is a very new colony, less than five years old. We didn’t spot any there, so we moved on to another nearby island with a older, well-established colony – Akurey Island.

At first we saw only one swimming in the water…

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And then we saw more!

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I spotted one sitting on the rocks and zoomed in on my DSLR camera. Their cuteness is unfathomable and should be illegal.

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This was about as good a shot as I could get – the best telephoto lens I had could only go to 135mm. Drat! But watching them fly around was absolutely incredible. I absolutely recommend doing it if you’re ever in Reykjavik.

Afterwards, we walked a few blocks to Austurvöllur, Reykjavik’s downtown public square. We were greeted by a surprise. That is, a masked naked man on a bicycle.

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Not sure what his schtick was, but it happened. We shrugged it off and went in search of a restaurant where we could get a decent meal. Soon, we ended up at Hressó Hressingarskálinn on Austurstræti. It’s a modern type of bar with very excellent pub food. And I finally got to try one of the local beers – Viking.

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Great stuff! It came down smooth and not so hoppy. For a starter, we ordered the nachos which was quite delicious. In fact, we inhaled the whole thing. 8/10, would eat again.

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While eating the nachos, we noticed that the older couple at the table next to us got up and walked away after eating their appetizers without paying. Their dinner arrived and just sat there for fifteen minutes. I had half a mind to just take the glass of Viking on that table…

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(One of the waiters gave it to me on the house, since it was going to be poured down the drain anyway…) Then my pulled pork and beef burger arrived!

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Tres delish. We paid our bill and then walked around. Stopped at a bookstore nearby to check out the souvenirs and noticed that their music section was full of Björk CDs. Go figure!

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And now, we walk home for the evening.

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