Postcards from Vestmannaeyjar - I

After nearly two years of thinking about it, I finally managed to visit the Westmann Islands. It was worth the wait!

The Westmann Islands are a tiny group of islands off the south coast of Iceland. It takes about two hours by car to get to the new and shiny harbor, and then it's only about half an hour on a comfortable ferry to get to the only island of the group that you can visit; it' s inhabited by about 5000 people.

Location of the islands.

Looking back, you get a beautiful view of the dreaded Eyjafjallajokusapperdeflap.

Gazing north on the ferry to Westmann Islands, spotting the south coast.

The big story with this location is that the main island, Heimaey, basically doubled in size about 40 years ago. A major eruption in 1973 added a few square kilometers of land to the east. The place already had a good naturally shielded harbor, but the newly created land made it even better. As the ferry arrives, I'm taking a look back and on the left you can spot the "old" island, and on the right is the all new, didn't-exist-fourty-years-ago part.

The oddly shaped part you can see dead ahead is one of the many mini-islands all around this group. They all have this curious cut-off, sharp-angled look; a curvy surface resting on vertical slices. The kind of mesh that, if your terrain artist came back with it, you'd tell him to stop fucking around and get to work.

The entrance to the natural harbor of Heimaey, the main island.

I suppose you have to give the tourist information service some slack for getting a bit carried away. Although, it is true that chunks of infrastructure and various farms got buried below ten meters of lava.

Signs to... Pompei?

Looking west over the original island. I suppose the volcano you can see on the left, called Helgafell, is the one that's originally responsible for this place's existence.

Downtown Heimaey.

Another view, this time while hiking around in the new lava field. Some interesting lava formations and pillars all around.

Lava formations in the newly created lava field.

It was a beautiful day and I took pictures like a maniac, so there's more to come, but you'll have to wait until I'm back from my trip :)
posted at 12:55:44 PM on 08/03/2011 by peirz - Category: iceland - Tag: photography / nature / iceland / mountain / westmann / landscape


peirz wrote:

I forgot to timestamp this; the pictures are from July 16th, 2011.
08/03/2011 01:05:32 PM

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