Monday, June 12, 2017

Day 4 - Honningsvåg and North Cape

After three days of nice sun, it had been cloudy and much colder. Now it's Finnmarken. The temperature rarely reaches above 10 degrees C in the summer. 
Lunch was already at 10:30 because of the Bird safari excursion out of Honningvåg near North Cape at 11:30 am.
At the excursion we were visiting Gjesværstappan, a bird sanctuary consisting of three islands with 300 m high and steep mountains. Here is a rich bird life with many big colonies of nesting birds. 
By bus we crossed Magerøya, Norway's northernmost island with North Cape, to the town 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 trees can grow.
There had been more snow in May than usual and the spring had been cold. 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 some reindeer. 

In Gjesvær a boat was waiting for us to sail out to the bird cliffs, which lies a little west of North Cape. It was cold and windy and my wife immediately spotted the warm coat of the ship. 
The bird watching area was 15 minutes sailing from Gjesvær.
Breeding sites for tens of thousands of seabirds. The cold streams from the north that meet with the warmer streams from the south give plenty of food to the birds. There swam thousands of puffins, and other sea birds on the water and 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. White tail feathers indicate that the bird is more than 5 years old. 
There are many eagle nests on the islands. Several times we saw both three and four eagles sitting on the rocks. 
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. Hard to photograph but managed to get some pictures from the trip. 
A more detailed review with a short video from the excursion at this link.

Provided 'survival suit'
Looking for birds
Nesting birds at the mountain
Birds at the sea
Birds at the sea
Resting eagle

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