While watching the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races in Duluth we watched the Mesabi Miner enter the harbor.
The Touch-me-nots are blooming along the Red Cedar State Trail. They are the most prolific Flower this time of year. They are a bit difficult to photograph because they grow in a tangled mass of flowers. I like to photograph them covered in dew but there wasn’t a lot of dew on this day. I also like to use a photo stacking technique so I can separate the flower from the background. On this day most of them were Spotted Touch-me-nots with only a few Pale Touch-me-nots.
It has been a strange year on the farm for Monarch Butterflies. It was mid July before I saw the first one. I’ve only seen a few since. I’ve only found one Monarch Caterpillar so far this year. Last year I was overrun with Monarchs and Monarch Caterpillars.
When my wife and I were at the Paddle Across the Bay race in Washburn, Wisconsin earlier this summer she had a chance to cat sit with Bugs. When I first saw her and Bugs I though she had adapted a cat. Fortunately she was just watching Bugs while his owner was participating in the race. Little did we know that Bugs was quite famous. A friend of ours from the Bayfield area sent us an article that appeared in the Bayfield County Journal. Turns out Bugs has her own Facebook page.
These are a few of the wildflowers I’ve seen recently at Hoffman Hills Recreation Area.
It was June 2nd and we were in the last week of our trip. We didn’t have any major stops on our agenda for the day. Our destination for the day was Stykkisholmur, Iceland where we had another airbnb waiting for us. We would retrace our route from Patreksfjörður on highway 62 until we connected back up with Highway 60.
We had breakfast at the airbnb. there was no cooking facilities but we purchased some rolls at a local bakery and of course had tea and Skyr. Skyr was our go to food on the trip. It was convenient because in Iceland each package comes with a spoon.
This photo illustrates two things. First, it shows how many people drive in Iceland. The roads are narrow and have no shoulders. So it is common to drive down the middle of the road and pull to the right when meeting a car or when a car wants to pass. Second, this is one of the few vehicles that we passed on our three week visit to Iceland. Not to say that my wife is a bad driver but she is known for being slow. At home none of the kids on the soccer team wanted to ride with us because she drove the speed limit. Things didn’t change in Iceland. It always took us 1.5 to 2 times as long to get someplace as the Google Maps indicated. We did pass this RV, a tractor and one car. As it turned out the car was making a right hand turn so it had slowed down.
Sheep are an ever present road hazard when driving in Iceland. These were intent on crossing the single lane bridge, also common in Iceland, before we did. It would be nice if they stayed in the fields but even where there were fences they managed to get out quite frequently. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
The ever present no crapping sign. According to the Icelandic Monitor this problem was much worse in 2015. I’m not sure what happened but it isn’t because they put up more rest rooms.
So far it had been a rather dull trip. It was cloudy and foggy most of the day making for some dull scenery. As we neared Hvammsfjordur the sun started to peek out a bit. This was a view from a little pull off along the road where some people were camping.
Just a short drive down the road near the head of Hvammsfjordur we encountered a strange phenomenon. The clouds were pouring over the mountains and down the side. It reminded us of a waterfall.
It looked like the sun might make a full return as we turned off of highway 60 and caught highway 54 toward Stykkisholmur.
When we arrived in Stykkisholmur we decided the town was small enough that we could walk down to the harbor area. There were quite a few interesting places to visit in town but it was late and they were closed. Once we reached the harbor we climbed a hill and had some great views of the harbor and city.
It was getting to be dinner time and we noticed a food stand on the docks that was still open. We decided to try the fish and chips. It was very good although a little messy to eat.
After dinner it was time to call it a nigh so we headed back to our airbnb for the night.
More photos and a complete listing of my Icelandic blogs can be found on my website.
It has been a difficult summer for sunrises in Duluth. I just haven’t been around when they have been very good. The other day I walked down to Canal Park hopping for a good sunrise but things didn’t look promising.
On the way down I stopped to take this photo of Endion Station. Its an old railroad station that was moved down to Canal Park and is now a restaurant.
The last couple of years people have been attaching their padlocks to these posts. The collection continues to grow.
I took this photo of the Aerial Lift Bridge during the Blue Hour.
I had given up on an interesting sunrise when I noticed there were a few clouds, that looked interesting, in back of the North Breakwater Light.
This is a shot I’ve not taken before. The back lighting on the north pier and lighthouse was interesting,
Odds and ends photographs from the farm.
We were up early, on the first of June, because we had a long day ahead of us. It had rain the previous afternoon and throughout the evening but when we woke up it was a bit cloudy but the rain had stopped. Our agenda for the day was to spend the entire day driving around the Látrabjarg Peninsula and most importantly search for Puffins on the Latrabjarg bird-cliffs.
We took highway 62 out of Patreksfjörður. Along the road we noticed a fish farm just outside of Patreksfjörður.
When we reached the head of Patreksfjörður we turned off on highway 612 which would take us to the bird cliffs. Just after turning off we found the Garðar BA 64 beached at the head of the fiord. It was built in Norway in 1912 and after WWII it ended up in Iceland. It was used as a whaling and fishing boat until 1981 when it was no longer fit for service. Normally it would have been scuttled at sea but, for some reason, it was beached at the head of the Patreksfjörður where it has remained.
A short drive up the fjord we passed the Patreksfjörður airport which was located among the sand dunes. You can see Patreksfjörður on the other side of the fjord. The second photo is of the highlands from around the airport.
Highway 612 is nothing to brag about. It was dirt, narrow, filled with potholes and the occasional boulder. We encountered several road crews working on the road. It was early in the tourist season and they were just starting to work on the roads.
We encountered these beautiful sand beaches near Hnjótur.
Our next stop for the day was the Egill Ólafsson Museum in Hnjótur. It was started by Egill Ólafsson when he noticed that everyone was throwing told tools and fishing paraphernalia out. He started collecting it and eventually it was turned into a museum. We stopped to use the rest room but the Museum was still closed. Just as we were about to leave it opened. We spend some time looking around and found it a very interesting place.
Egill Ólafsson was also interested in airplanes an interest he passed on to his son. When the American Air Base in Keflavík closed he purchased this plane and trucked it to the Museum site in Hnjótur. If you look back at the photo of the road you can see that it was a major project to get the plane to its current site.
As we were heading into the highlands we found this small waterfall along the road.
The first photo shows a cairn marking the way across the highlands. The second photo looks across the highlands toward the Latrabjarg bird-cliffs.
As we drove down out of the highlands we entered the small town of Breidavik. It only consists of a few buildings but because of all of the traffic to the bird cliffs they had rented a traffic cop to slow down the traffic.
Just outside Breidavik we encountered the old Brunnar Fishing Station. In the 1880’s there were about 20 boats and 100 fishermen stationed at Breidavik from April to July.
The short drive, along the coast, from Brunnar Fishing Station to Latrabjarg bird-cliffs offered some beautiful scenery.
Once we reached the bird cliffs we started walking along the trail at the top of the cliffs. It was a spectacular walk along the cliffs although we were not having much luck finding Puffins. We had only seen one Puffin when we stopped for lunch.
We were talking with several people when I caught a movement up the trail. It looked like a fox had just gone over a small rise in the trail. The folks we were talking to said it could only be an Arctic Fox because there were no other small animals in the area. As we continued our walk along the cliffs we were able to spot the fox walking along the trail ahead of us. It gradually made its way down into a valley below the cliffs. We watched it for a long time before losing sight of it. We were really lucky to see an Arctic Fox.
We were not seeing any Puffins so we started back toward the parking lot. Once again we noticed the Arctic Fox moving along the valley below us. It went behind a small hill and we lost sight of it. We stopped to look at some birds before resuming out walk back to the parking lot. As we turned to head back on the trail I noticed the Arctic Fox was on the trail just ahead of us. It walked ahead of us for a short distance before dropping over the cliffs. We waited for a while to see if it we could find it but we did not see it again.
The view of the sea and the rocks below the cliffs were outstanding.
On our way back to the parking lot we were able to see a few more Puffins. Some folks seemed to be taking lots of photos of a few Puffins. We were actually a little early for Puffin viewing. They were just starting to return to their nesting ground. Once they return, later in June, and start raising their young there will be some good photo opportunities. The irony was that we walked for several miles and ended up seeing the most puffins withing 100 yards of the parking lot.
Just before leaving I walked over to the lighthouse to see if I could see any seals. The person at the Egill Ólafsson Museum said that people had been seeing them below the lighthouse. Sure enough there were a few of them swimming in the surf.
We then started back to Patreksfjörður where we were going to stay a second night. On the way we decided to make a side trip to Raudasandur Beach so we headed off on highway 614. The road was not the best but the views were great.
When we arrived there was a beautiful view of Raudasandur Beach. When we drove to the end of the road found this black church. Saurbaer Church is said to be one of only 4 black churches in Iceland.
After a brief stop we returned over the highlands with some great views of Patreksfjörður. You can see the fish farm just outside the city of Patreksfjörður.
On the way back we stopped again at the Egill Ólafsson Museum for a little coffee and cake and to take in a movie of the Látrabjarg sea cliffs rescue. In December 1947 a British trawler, the Dhoon, ran aground in a storm off the vertiginous Látrabjarg sea cliffs. The locals were called to rescue the crew on the stranded ship under appalling conditions. they had to climb down the cliffs and bring the crew off the boat one at a time. They were able to save 12 of the crew members. The movie was in Icelandic but still very gripping. The second photo shows the cliffs where the rescue took place.
As we were leaving the Látrabjarg Peninsula we passed a bird nesting grounds. there were about 5 species of birds around. Lots of Arctic Terns were nesting and were not happy. We initially drove past them but then turned around and went back so I could photograph them from the car window. We also saw this Oyster Catcher leave its nest. We had seen Oyster Catchers throughout the trip but hadn’t realized they build their nests right on top of the rocks and along the road.
We then drove back to our Airbnb in Patreksfjörður. After having a bite to eat at the local N1 we drove through the town to look around. It was a beautiful evening at the harbor. A fitting end to a great day of exploration.
More photos and a complete listing of my Icelandic blogs can be found on my website.