Visiting Mykines – Faroe islands' Puffin island
I had breakfast with the lovely couple and we exchanged experiences from the day before. They were in Mykines, the island which I plan to get to today. While today was cloudy and rainy, they enjoyed great weather. Besides that I became aware that the ferry doesn't operate as well, in case the waves are too high!
Background: Mykines is a small island with no roads. The only ways to get to it is either by a ferry or by a helicopter, which I arranged in advance. I read in several places that in some cases the helicopter doesn't work, in case of bad weather, but I never saw a word about the ferry…
Why am I telling all of this? Because the day before, even though the sun was shining and the skies were clear, the ferry got cancelled! Turns out there was some low pressure area in the ocean that caused high waves near Mykines, waves that the ferry cannot deal with.
The ferry to Mykines
I got on the road and within 20 minutes I reached the port. Got on board and everything is working as planned! Due to the rain everyone's sitting inside the boat. There are approximately 30 people and besides a local mom with 4 kids I'm the only one under 60 .
The reason most people come to Mykines is to see the puffins. There are several other species of birds but none is cute as the puffin!
Just before we reached the destination I put on my go-pro harness so I could shoot some hand-free video. Once you leave the ferry you notice how narrow the entrance is… And then there are many stairs to climb in order to reach the village. Most people visit the island for a few hours, but my tip to you is spend the night here.
First of all this is a good backup plan in case you have lousy weather on your first day but still want another chance to see those cute puffins. And second this is a really relaxing and remote place. Now I know what you're saying "that's true for all the Faroe islands", that's right but even more so in Mykines .
At this point in time there was no point to climb up the cliff to see the puffins since it was covered in fog… so I just hiked around the village and waited for the skies to become clearer.
On my way to the first puffin
Later in the afternoon I decided to give it a try. The rain stopped but it was still cloudy. The trail starts with a few footprints but then its just fresh grass. You just climb all the way, basically until you reach the top, because the puffins are staying on the cliff.
So, I'm walking at ease until I reach the cliff and then… I see the first puffin!! I'm very excited and just want to see more… You can't really chase them because they tend to fly off. Besides that, let's say it gently – the ground is not really flat, there are holes that you can easily sprain your ankle AND let's remember we're walking on a cliff… falling down doesn't seem like fun. This is how it looks at the beginning:
Over time I managed to get closer to them. I just sat down next to a group of 4-5 puffins and took many photos. Now I was really happy with the new camera I bought prior to this trip!
So, like I said, the puffins are very cute but they can't stand still, they move their heads all the time! It's like Right-Middle-Left, Right-Middle-Left all the time so when you're behind them you get a lot of pictures of their back without the cute little beak.
The island is connected to another islet with a small bridge. But I couldn't go there now since it was too foggy. Here's another advantage of spending the night on the island. By the way – if you decide to visit Mykines during your vacation, don't make it on the last day, so you don't get stuck.
After a surprisingly good shower I had dinner. You probably want to know where… Makes sense. There are 2 places to stay at on the island. so I stayed at this guesthouse and the mother of the owner cooked us salmon with potatoes which was very good. This guesthouse doesn't appear in Booking, so the reservation is done in emails.
I was accompanied by 2 Dutch people, Theo and Yan, who were already there the day before, meaning they spent 2 nights in Mykines! It was a lovely evening where we spoke a lot about traveling, interesting destinations, my blog, how they met 40 years ago and so on .
Puffins get a 2nd chance
Woke up the next day and had breakfast with Theo and Yan. We were served with bread, some jams, ham and cheese and some drinks. We looked out the window and it didn't look too good. Yan wanted to go uphill again since on the way to the top there's this small memorial for fishermen who were lost at sea and for people who fell off the cliff. I joined them and then we split, since I continued to this islet I told you about, Mykinesholmur.
In order to reach that bridge you need to walk through a muddy path which when there's no mud, it's sheep-poo! Anyway at some point you suddenly see lots of puffins flying around. It's pretty hard to get them on camera due to the fog and the fact that they are small (~12 inch) and quick. So again, like the other day, I just sat down and enjoyed . Sometimes they carry a piece of grass in order to build their nest, like here:
Another small island - Mykinesholmur
When walking on the bridge between the islands you see the rock cliffs full with other birds, mainly gulls (I think). The path is in the middle of the island so I was a little disappointed because it means no puffins. There's a lighthouse at the end of this island but I didn't go all the way. In hindsight I regret that…
Leaving Mykines on a helicopter
Suddenly the guesthouse owner comes to me saying I should get ready. It was 1PM and it was supposed to take off at 3:30PM. According to her, due to weather conditions in needs to come earlier, which was actually good for me.
My luggage was ready and the heli-pad is like 2 minutes away, but to make a long story short, we finally took off at the original hour, meaning we just sat there for 2 hours…
I sat in the yard of the closest house to the heli-pad, when I heard someone from behind. It was the owner. Turns out this is his summer house, and, get this, his father was the last lighthouse keeper! Since 1970 it is fully automatic. Bet you didn't know that! And if we're already dealing with fun-facts – at winter time only 10 people stay on the island!
Think of it as a flying taxi, which is also the reason for the low price (~20 USD). There are no touristic explanations and in 11 minutes you are in Vagar! The views down under are fabulous, seeing the islands from above.
If you made it down to here, you probably figured out I loved these puffins! Currently my house is full with puffin merchandise: a magnet, a coaster, a small puppet and more .
We landed at Vagar airport, I walked 30 minutes to my car and drove to the next point on which I'll be telling in my next post
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