Category Archives: People

First day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer in Iceland, – a holiday celebrated every year on the first Thursday after the 18th of April. Iceland is the only country that has a special holiday to celebrate the coming of summer. It is part of an Icelandic folklore. In olden days there were only two seasons, equally long, summer and winter.  In this respect the first day of summer was actually new years day.

sumardagur
First day of summer on the banks of Ölfusá River this morning before 8 o’clock.

The folklore says that if there is frost the night before the first of summer the summer will be good. Tonight the temperatures went slightly below zero and there was frost on the ground. The sun rises at 5:30 now and the sun is shining so it seems we will be having a nice warm day. According to the folklore the summer should be a good one.

Number ONE website for travellers

illvidri-2

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration monitors driving conditions all over Iceland. In the winter time their web is our number ONE. There you can see maps of roads with info on the temperature, driving conditions and how many have been going that way in the last 10 minutes. There are also webcams on many of the most travelled roads. Special warnings are issued when very bad weather is on its way.

Main road Selfoss
Main road Selfoss

Their website is www.road.is
From their site:
The best way to get information about road conditions and the weather on the road system is to call 1777 (if problems use +354 522 1100,   +354 522 1100). Open 8-16 in summer and 6:30-22 in winter. An English answering machine with similar road information is in phone number 1778. 

We arrived home safely
We arrived home safely

Newlyweds at Glacier Lagoon

brudhjon

In recent years it has become popular to have your wedding pictures taken  in the great outdoors. Couples often travel long distances to be united in marriage and Iceland is a popular destination.

brudhjon-2

Last weekend we came upon these newlyweds at Glacier Lagoon, Southeast Iceland. I secretly caught pictures of them when no one was watching – hope they don’t mind. It was windy and the temperature just +5°C.  We wish them a very happy future and warmer days than this one by the Lagoon surrounded by icebergs under the biggest glacier in Europe.

More on Glacier Lagoon – Walrus, – Fireworks

Fishing in mountain lakes

Veiðivötn, view to some of the lakes, Fossvötn
Veiðivötn, view to some of the lakes, Fossvötn

Veiðivötn, Fishing Lakes in translation, is a cluster of lakes in the southern interior. In total there are 50 lakes and ponds in the area.

Veiðivötn, the cabin area
Veiðivötn, the cabin area

Three species of fish are found in the area: trout (Salmo trutta), char (Salvelinus alpinus) and stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

Great catch, mother and daughter
Great catch, mother and daughter

From ancient times trout could be found in the lakes and today it is still in most of them. This trout is unique. Trout of this size and this fat can only be found in a few places today.

bleikja
Char

According to genetic research  the trout in Veiðivötn lived in isolation after the end of the Ice Age.  It is rare to find Ice Age trout as little evolved at this one. The trout in Þingvallavatn Lake is of the same species. This trout is very fast-growing and puberty starts later than in trout species that live in lakes in lowlands and in seagoing trout.

Char was first noticed in Snjóölduvatn Lake in 1972 and today char can be found in 11 lakes in the area. Sticklebacks can probably  be found in all the lakes in the area.

Trout fishing
Trout fishing

Trout fishing has most likely been practiced from the beginning of settlement in Iceland. In 1965 fishing permits were first sold in the lakes, for two months every summer, from the end of June to the latter part of August. Today fishing permits are sold for the period of June 18 to August 19. In 1965-1980 the number was limited to 20 rods but today the number has been limited to 80 rods. In the last 10 years  20 – 35 thousand fish have been caught every summer.

Birding friends

In the bird reserve in Flói
In the bird reserve in Flói

On our birding trips we often meet like-minded people. Last year we met a group of Belgian students on a birding trip in Iceland. This was in February and the weather was quite cold. The group were searching for a Hooded Merganser on Elliðavatn, a lake just outside Reykjavik.

The Belgian students in February 2014
The Belgian students in February 2014

When we found out that they were sleeping in tents we invited them to come and stay inside the next night. No Icelanders would ever think of camping in February. The group took our offer and we cooked them some traditional Icelandic lamb soup.

Denise, Joachim and Kristin
Denise, Joachim and Kristin

One of these young birding friends was back in Iceland again last week. Joachim Bertrands from Belgium and his mother, Denise, had a week here to look at birds, whales and glaciers. The bird reserve in Flói was visited on their last day and then they came for a visit. Meeting birders from other countries is always interesting.

The Bird Reserve in Flói
The Bird Reserve in Flói

Eclipse of the Sun

solmyrkvi-2

Conditions to observe the solar eclipse in Iceland today were very good. There were clear skies and people could be seen all over the place with special glasses so as to be able to look at the sun without damaging their eyes.

solmyrkvi-3

The total phase of the solar eclipse was not visible in Iceland, but it could be observed there as a partial solar eclipse. The Moon covered only a small portion of the Sun as can be seen in the photoes here.

solmyrkvi-5

solmyrkvi-6

Visiting Birdwatchers

fuglaskodarar-2
Peter Colston, Simon Dennis, Peter Gluth, Antoine Rougeron and Léa Champion

These are today’s guests from England and France, all keen birdwatchers and some even quite famous as such.  They came to see our garden birds and despite the heavy storm yesterday a few interesting birds had come back.

fuglaskodarar-8

They saw a few Common Crossbills, some Redpolls, a Starling and a Wren.

Common Crossbills
Common Crossbills