More wet adventures in Iceland

Sight-seeing around Iceland continued for another day, this time with visits to the Skaftafell National Park and then to Jökulsárlón.

We arrived at Skaftafell to rain and fog and ‘enjoyed’ a very damp meal of sweet and sour noodles with about 50 other people under a very crowded shelter. The next morning we awoke to a brief lull in the persistent rain, so we headed up the hill to get views over the nearby glacier. From here we made our way to Svartifoss, a spectacular waterfall flowing over a wall of fantastic basalt columns.

Svartifoss tumbling over basalt columns
Svartifoss tumbling over basalt columns

After our walk, we decided to go in search of sunbeams. Apparently the weather was better to the east, so we drove to Jökulsárlón. Here, a huge glacier descends from the Vatnajokull ice cap into a lake, which is right on the coast. It is a fantastic spectacle and even the sun came out! In addition to visiting the main tourist-trap, we also visited Fjallsárlón, 5 minutes to the west, which was perhaps even more spectacular and less frequented by tourists.

Icebergs at Jökulsárlón

Icebergs at Fjallsárlón
Icebergs at Fjallsárlón
Fjallsárlón
Fjallsárlón
Fjallsárlón
Fjallsárlón
Richard gets into the holiday spirit
Richard gets into the holiday spirit

After absorbing enough sunbeams, we headed back west to Vik and spent the evening eating delicious food from the cafe next to the tourist information, and watching literally hundreds of puffins flying around the cliffs.

Puffins on the cliffs at Vik.
Puffins on the cliffs at Vik.

This visit concludes our ‘tourist visits’; adventure comes next…

Rhoscolyn

Rhoscolyn

We’ve been to Rhoscolyn a few times before, but never before have we bothered to look beyond the direct approach to Rhoscolyn’s Llawder crag from the parking near the church. However, a few minutes down a narrow lane is the most beautiful sandy beach. Surely it’s the coastal scenery, often with Snowdonia’s mountains as a backdrop, that make North Wales one of Britain’s most amazing destinations!

The beach at Rhoscolyn, what an amazing place this must be to have a holiday cottage!
The beach at Rhoscolyn, what an amazing place this must be to have a holiday cottage!
The Anglesey Costal Path, perhaps one of the best crag approach paths in Britain?
The Anglesey Costal Path, perhaps one of the best crag approach paths in Britain?
Rhoscolyn Beacon
Rhoscolyn Beacon
The view back across to Snowdonia from Anglesey.  With heavy summer rain clouds over the mountains!
The view back across to Snowdonia from Anglesey.
With heavy rain clouds building over the mountains!

We enjoyed several of the steep routes, thankfully with surprisingly helpful and positive holds, at Llawder. It was lovely and sunny, but it was very windy – on top of the crag is was almost cold!

Pete on The Wild Rover
Pete on The Wild Rover
Laetitia following The Wild Rover
Laetitia following The Wild Rover
Pete and Laetitia enjoying the sun between routes at Rhoscolyn
Pete and Laetitia enjoying the sun between routes at Rhoscolyn

Cemlyn Bay

On Sunday in an attempt to discover more of Anglesey than we’d ever previously bothered to look at, having a single-minded climber’s point of view (and with a forecast for rain showers) we made a trip to Cemlyn Bay. There’s a lovely nature reserve here, with the interesting shingle drift beach (Esgair Gemlyn), the weird Bryn Aber, and a stunning colony of Sandwich Terns. Although it is a bit strange to have Wylfa Nuclear Power Station sitting on the headland to the north.

Pete builds a pile of stones on Cemlyn beach
Pete builds a pile of stones on Cemlyn beach
A Sandwich Tern returns to Cemlyn Bay with a freshly caught fish
A Sandwich Tern returns to Cemlyn Bay with a freshly caught fish
Another Sandwich Tern returning with fresh fish, flying over Bryn Aber
Another Sandwich Tern returning with fresh fish, flying over Bryn Aber at Cemlyn Nature Reserve

A Wonderful Birdwatching Day at the Hungarian „Seaside”

News about bird guests arriving to Lake Balaton spread around fast among birdwatchers.

I didn’t want to miss the occasion. More “A Wonderful Birdwatching Day at the Hungarian „Seaside””

Happy Christmas from Antarctica!!

Food!
Over the last couple of weeks the main topic of conversation here at Halley has been food. After only a week here we began to run short of things. Of course, the food we are eating came on the ship last year and was ordered in about June 2010, so it appears they under-ordered. So far we’ve run short of pepper, sugar, meat, tomato sauce, CHOCOLATE, crisps… But at least there’s plenty of porridge. The emergency food was brought out, but with 60 people on base it hasn’t lasted long, and it was with great relief that a plane arrived from Rothera yesterday with more emergency food. The ship is also making good progress and should be here in the New Year. I forsee a Roman style banquet every night!!!!

Windy Bay Update
If you’re worried about how the young penguins at Windy Bay are getting on, I can report that the sea ice is still solid and they are getting a lot bigger. Hopefully the ice will remain into January when they should be big enough to survive. Here are some pics…

The penguin colony under the ice shelf cliffs
Look how clean I am!
Look at me!!
What's that?

By the way…
Happy Christmas to all the Sterling Adventure Bloggers and readers from here. It’s going to be a white Christmas…

Cue Bing…

Happy Chritmas from us!!!

Windy Bay Penguin Colony

Today I was lucky enough to travel the 40kms to Windy Bay where there is an Emperor Penguin colony. There was about 8-10 thousand penguins on the sea ice, and although we couldn’t get down to mingle with them they were still an impressive sight. The chicks are at present almost as big as the parents who both have to go off to feed, and then wander back from the sea, find their chick and feed it. Consequently there is a lot of noise, and smell, with the chicks constantly demanding food from the adults. One adult might look after a number of chicks in a crèche while the others are making their way back the kilometer or so from the edge of the sea ice.

The Emperor Penguin colony on the sea ice, sheltered by the cliffs of the ice shelf
Emperor Penguins treks back from the sea
How do I find my Mum?
A chick demanding food
An adult Emperor Penguin with a crèche of chicks

The colony waits until the sea ice breaks up, and this commits the chicks to the sea for the first time. Hopefully that will be in January when they have developed proper feathers: last year it was very early and most of the chicks drowned. 😯
I’ll keep up to date with their progress… but if the worst happens, I’ll lie and tell you they all safely swam northwards!

A Fine Day in the Pilis

My very good friend and climbing partner Istvan (Hungarian for Steve) has birdwatching as a hobby. He frequently goes to take wonderful photographs, not only of birds but anything he finds interesting. I thought he could share one of his recent trips here. As his English is not that strong yet, he asked me to translate and post. The following story and pictures are his work. More “A Fine Day in the Pilis”