Travel to Skálanes 09/06:
Bright and early on Wednesday morning we made our way to Reykjavik airport for our flight to Egilsstaðir. We are so used to airports taking a long time, so we arrived a full hour and 30 minutes before our flight and the airport was not even open yet! We were soon let inside by a very confused member of staff, and after a short wait we made our way to the plane (there wasn’t even any security to go through!). The flight was really short and before long we had disembarked and were on the bus heading over the snowy hills towards Seyðisfjörður, the town nearest the research base. We were met by Óli, the manager of Skálanes, and a colleague of his Lisa who would then drive us the rest of the way!
Along the bumpy road we stopped a few times and saw some porpoises in the bay and before long we had all finally arrived at Skálanes! After a tour by Óli and a brief introduction to the history of the area and of Skálanes, we all settled into our rooms and met the other researchers staying here (from Earlham Collage in Indiana, USA) and of course, Freyr the chocolate lab, who lives here!
Day 1 at Skálanes 10/06:
On our first morning we all woke up quite early as the sun in our attic room was super bright and warm. Heading downstairs I was really excited as there was a partial solar eclipse and we were lucky that the other research group had eclipse glasses that they shared with us! After watching the sun for a while we all headed to the observation platform (except Clara who was away with Óli running errands) to get a feel for the cliff monitoring and puffin projects, getting ready for the next 6 weeks!
The wind today was howling and measurements around the house said around 49km/hr, and it was much stronger than this up on the observation platform as myself and Emma soon found out when we were out there trying to observe the puffins! We decided the safest way was to sit on the platform but even then, we were still being pushed by the wind, so after a short while of seeing hardly any other birds (and zero puffins) we agreed to head back to the house. Along the way we felt like we were doing a gym session fighting against the wind going against us! For the rest of the day we were outside on the decking putting together some outdoor furniture for the party tomorrow night! Abi singlehandedly put together the majority of the chairs very swiftly!
Day 3 at Skálanes 12/06:
Tonight, we will be hosting a party! Óli and his wife will be bringing a group of archaeology staff and students, who are currently working on a local dig in Seyðisfjörður. There was a lot of prep needed before they arrived, and my job was to make dessert and a lot of it as there will be around 30 of us total! I settled on 2 different cakes to make sure everyone would have something they liked, one chocolate and one carrot cake! The evening went by very quickly as we were all having such a great time laughing and learning about everyone’s work. The Icelandic students were all so lovely and we had such a great time, although it was strange to be socialising with so many people after such a quiet year. Hopefully, we’ll see them again soon!
Day 4 at Skálanes 13/06:
Sunday was our day off from work and so we decided to head into Seyðisfjörður to have a look around. The weather here is very changeable day to day and today we had biting cold winds and snow! To hide from this, we headed into a small local store where they knit Icelandic jumpers and other items. After some retail therapy we were all hungry for some lunch and so headed to one of the only open places, the local hotel, where we all enjoyed a warm drink and delicious meal. We once again braved the weather and headed to the local supermarket to fill our bags with as many snacks as we could carry before exploring a bit more. Driving back from town the snow started to come down really heavily finally sticking to the ground and creating a beautiful winter wonderland. After dinner we all followed Lotta’s lead and took part in the Finnish tradition of rolling in the snow after being in the sauna!