Warm and cold ocean currents meet here, so the sea is rich in nourishment. This is also one of the most accessible bird cliffs in Norway; a short boat trip from Gjesvær will put you right in the heart of this bird watcher paradise and Nature Reserve.
By bus we crossed Magerøya, Norway's northernmost island with North Cape, to the small fishing village of Gjesvær on the north side of the island. It was a nice trip over the snowy mountains. A somewhat harsh landscape here in the northernmost part of Europe and 300 km north of the tree limit where no threes can grow.
There had been more snow in May than usual and the spring had been cold. There was still ice on the lakes and large amounts of snow on the mountain. Spring was not just around the corner. On the trip we saw several reindeer.
Below a short video from the bus drive across Magerøya from Honningsvåg to Gjesvær.
In Gjesvær the boat 'Lundekongen' (King of Puffins) was waiting, to sail out to the bird cliffs. It was cold and windy and my wife immediately spotted the warm coats of the ship.
The bird watching area was 15 minutes sailing from Gjesvær. Breeding sites for tens of thousands of seabirds.
Thousands of puffins, and other sea birds were swimming on the water as well as many seabirds in the air. On the steep mountainsides there were large gulls and cormorant colonies and on the grassy slopes thousands of holes where puffins grow up. On top of that, the eagles flew - huge birds with a wings of 2.5 meters. There are many eagle nests on the islands. Several times we saw both three and four eagles sitting or hovering over the rocks.
From our ship we could study Finnmark’s largest flock of puffins, together with large numbers of kittiwakes as well as razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Brünnich’s guillemots.
It took an hour to sail around the three islands. A great nice trip and especially interesting to see the many puffins and the big sea eagles.
There are three main islands: Storstappen, Kjerkestappen, and Bukkstappen. Storstappan rises to a height of 283 metres (928 ft) above sea level and has a peninsula called Stauren that rises to 165 metres (541 ft). Kjerkestappen rises to an elevation of 166 metres (545 ft) above sea level and Bukkstappen rises to 92 metres (302 ft) above sea level. Historically, there were people that lived on the islands and there was a church on Kjerkestappen. The islands have been designated a nature reserve since 1983. The land area of the reserve is 1.7 square kilometres (0.66 sq mi), but the reserve also includes 5.5 square kilometres (2.1 sq mi) of the sea surrounding the islands. The largest colonies of cliff-breeding seabirds are mainly located on the bird cliffs of the biggest island, Storstappen, The colony is regarded as important because of the large numbers of birds. A 1988 survey found 70 pairs of Phalacrocorax carbo; around 50 pairs of Phalacrocorax aristotelis; 5000 to 10,000 pairs of Rissa tridactyla; about 600 pairs of Uria aalge; 25 pairs of Uria lomvia; about 2500 pairs of Alca torda; and about 50,000 pairs of Fratercula arctica. The 1988 survey also found Sula bassana nests.