#puffin

The popularity of the puffin as an item to view has increased considerably in recent years.  Before tourism exploded in Iceland very few people paid much attention to the puffin apart from those who hunted the bird. Particular attention was on the other hand given to the puffin in the Westman Islands south of Iceland, where it was a “national sport” to hunt puffins at a particular time of the year.  The puffin hunting in The Westman Islands is an ancient tradition.

The popularity of the puffin as an item to view has increased considerably in recent years

Photography and tourism are changing these days rapidly.  Nowhere is this more obvious when you are traveling in Iceland?  Cameras are getting lighter and closeness to the subject easier.  Even small phones have sophisticated cameras that give great photos.  People traveling in a country like Iceland that offers so many photo opportunities can stop wherever they like if the are on a self-drive tour, in a rent a car or their own car.   Sometimes people prefer to take selfies with the subject behind them and sometimes the just want to document the place and the natural wonder. 

If the subject is difficult to photograph, like puffins that have a tendency to place themselves on the highest part of a cliff, photographing can get difficult.

 

Papey (Friar's Island) is an island off the east coast, close to the Djúpivogur village. It is approximately two square km but has was from earliest settlement, until the 20th century.  The name is Celtic, derived from Papal and indeed the first settlers there were two Irish monks. According to old, Icelandic manuscripts, the monks used to live on the mainland until the "rightful" settlers came along around the year 900. Those were, of course, the heathen Norse, who chased the peace-loving monks away from their sight. Two of the monks managed to escape to this tiny island where they founded a hermitage. Out of sight, and out of mind, the settlers living on the mainland soon forgot them.

A small island inhabited until 1948

Earliest records of families living in Papey were documented after the year 1000. And it was inhabited until the last full-time resident left in 1948. In spite of the island being no more than a rock in the ocean, life was pretty good there. No matter how hard life became on the mainland, the Islanders always had enough to eat: lamb, birds, eggs, fish, seal and shark, and later on, potatoes that they grew themselves.
Visiting the island is very nice. The old houses are quite well preserved and on the tiny island you will also find the oldest wooden church in Iceland.

Wonderful opportunity to see the puffin up close

The island is renowned for its birdlife and is a good place to see puffins among other species up close. Ther is only one way to visit Papay, and that is by boat.  In the moths of June, July and August the boat from Papeyjaferðir runs a service with a guide every day to Papey from Djúpivogur village. 

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Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Papey island on the map of Iceland

The island is renowned for its birdlife and is a good place to see puffins among other species up close.