Imagine a beautiful, pristine atmosphere atop a cliff with a panoramic view of a dazzling horizon. Imagine, as you stand, watching the waves crash against the crags beneath you, a small, fat little bird poofs into your field of view and settles right next to you. It looks up at you and appears to smile delightedly as you take in the splendor of the view.
Once you’re satisfied with your imagination, go ahead and come back to reality because that is not what happened at all. Finding puffins was about as enjoyable as standing outside in a Category 3 hurricane…..because that’s exactly what we did.
First of all, the national bird of Iceland is, of course, the puffin. They’re everywhere. Like these people are practically worshipping this bird with how pervasive it’s image is in your everyday travels around Iceland. They’re on shirts, they’re on pictures, postcards, stamps, painted onto walls in restaurants, they’re plush toys being sold anywhere anything is sold. You would think that based on how often you see puffins, that they’d be everywhere.
They’re not. I was there for an entire week, and we didn’t see a single puffin until we went to the top of a cliff on a mountain by the coast. Now since nothing in Iceland can ever be normal, God ordained that a minor hurricane would come and strike the mountain the moment we arrived, and it started raining, but more than that, it was windy. Like extremely windy. Like you’re walking slanted, allowing the wind to push your body windy.
We searched for damn near half an hour, before, finally, one of these little penguin looking guys showed up, hanging out at the edge of a cliff. I would imagine that his puffin friends were all busy flying around by the edge of that cliff, but I was not about to go stand at the edge of a cliff during 30 mph wind gusts. I did get to see another puffin attempting to fly in the wind, but that other puffin failed miserably. The wind tossed him around like he was a lone leaf getting blown by a leaf blower.
Anyway, I wanted to share the pictures I was able to get of these guys. Once you finally see them, it is quite exhilarating, but they only hang out by windy cliffs so be forewarned if you’re going to go searching for one.