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Flatey Island: Iceland's Summer Island of Midnight Sun and Birds

submitted on 28 November 2023 by travellistings.org

A Paradise of Puffins and Perpetual Light

Imagine a place where the sun never sets, where seabirds outnumber humans by a factor of thousands, and where your most constant companions are the lapping waves and the scent of sea spray. No, I'm not describing a fever dream brought on by too many consecutive viewings of "The Birds" – I'm talking about Flatey Island, a tiny speck of land in the midst of Iceland's Breiðafjörður Bay.In this secluded haven, you'll be free to frolic among fluffy puffins, to bask in the never-ending glow of the midnight sun, and to contemplate the utter insignificance of human existence in the face of nature's grandeur. And if that's not enough to convince you to pack your bags and head for the land of fire and ice, keep reading for a glimpse into the wacky world of Flatey Island.

A Brief Introduction to Flatey's Feathered Friends

While the island may be small, it's a veritable metropolis for birdlife, with a diverse array of species making their home on its rocky shores. Puffins, with their comical beaks and clownish demeanor, are the island's most famous residents, but they're far from the only birds you'll encounter on Flatey.Arctic terns, guillemots, eider ducks, and black guillemots share the island's limited real estate, making for a bird-watcher's paradise. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a rare species like the red phalarope or the white-tailed eagle, both of which are known to frequent the island on occasion.Of course, with all these birds come certain... inconveniences. Specifically, the kind of inconveniences that result from thousands of seabirds depositing their droppings all over the island. But fear not, intrepid traveler – a sturdy pair of boots and a healthy sense of humor are all you need to navigate this guano-laden landscape.

Experiencing the Midnight Sun on Flatey Island

During the peak of summer, the sun never truly sets on Flatey Island, with the sky remaining bathed in a soft, golden glow well into the wee hours of the morning. This phenomenon, known as the midnight sun, is a sight to behold – and a photographer's dream, as the ethereal light casts the island's landscape in a magical, otherworldly glow.It's also a bit disorienting, as the constant daylight makes it difficult to tell whether it's 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. But that's all part of the Flatey Island experience, isn't it? After a few days of wandering around in a sun-drenched stupor, you'll find yourself pondering deep philosophical questions like, "What even is time, anyway?" and "Is sleep really necessary?"

Exploring Flatey's Quirky Human History

While birds may be the island's primary inhabitants, Flatey also boasts a small but fascinating human history. The island was once a bustling center of trade and culture, with a monastery, a library, and even a Latin school calling it home. Of course, this was all back in the 12th century, and today Flatey is a much quieter place, with only a handful of full-time residents and a smattering of charming, brightly colored houses to remind visitors of its past glory.One particularly intriguing relic of Flatey's history is the island's church, which was constructed in 1926 and features a rather unique attribute: a magnificent ceiling mural depicting scenes from the Bible, but with a distinctly Icelandic twist. You'll find Jesus and his disciples clad in traditional Icelandic garb, with scenes of puffins, sheep, and even a volcano thrown in for good measure. It's like a religious fever dream, and it's not to be missed.

Tips for Visiting Flatey Island

  • Flatey Island is only accessible by boat, with a ferry running from the nearby town of Stykkishólmur during the summer months. Be sure to check the ferry schedule in advance, as it can be somewhat irregular.
  • There's only one hotel on the island, so book your accommodations early, especially if you plan to visit during the peak summer season.
  • Bring plenty of warm clothing, as the island's weather can be highly variable, even during the summer.
  • Finally, be prepared to embrace the island's quirks and eccentricities, as that's what makes Flatey Island such a memorable destination.
In conclusion, if you're seeking a truly unforgettable travel experience, look no further than Flatey Island. With its endearing puffins, mesmerizing midnight sun, and bizarre human history, it's a place unlike any other on Earth. Just be sure to watch your step – those bird droppings can be slippery.

 







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