Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Doing Nothing much on Grimsey Island, Arctic Circle, off the north coast of Iceland.

View of North Iceland from Grimsey Island: midnight.
There is nothing much to do on Grimsey, (unless you're a bird-watcher) but that's what I like.  A small island, easy to walk around, a few days  experiencing the place slowly: birds, views and silence.  Perfect for a writing retreat -time to write notes for poems sat wrapped up in several layers against the wind. Brilliant sunshine but still cold.  And an island, small and intimate enough to meet locals when tired of my own company.

The view is stunning:  ice-capped mountains of North Iceland across the sea to the south (snow to the south, and us in the north  green - a surprise, but Grimsey is warmed by the Gulf Stream. I watched the mountains' continual change of colours, due to weather and time of day. White shadowed by pale blue triangular shadows, or white with dark grey shadows, or pink in the setting sun (midnight) or hidden in fog.

 Silence, well I mean no people. Only the Kria, Kria of arctic terns (Icelandic name Krian, appropriately) and offshore  the eider ducks' 'Oh, Ah' like disapproving great-aunts at the mating antics of the terns. The puffins were silent, continually twitching their heads back and forth, with a puzzled expression. (I've heard them chuckle in their burrows in  Shetland but here they had only just arrived and had not started nesting.)

Then after days of nothing, the great, rather scary, excitement of being attacked by 5 arctic terns at once.  Think Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. Red open beaks, scythe-like wings bent at acute angle. But I knew, from Fair Isle, to raise my hand and wave it about - the terns will attack whatever is highest - a hand better than my head. Luckily for me they did not swoop. 'Ah, they must have started laying,' said my landlady when I told her, and she issued me with a plastic stick.  Usually the laying does not start till later in June but we'd had 3 days of brilliant sunshine, occasionally quite warm, comparatively. Global warming no doubt.

No comments:

Popular Posts