After a week of riding and enjoying the calm, remote rural lifestyle in Snæfellsbær, the return to Reykjavik was a bit jarring, but we did not stay, We got off the bus and got into a rental car and drove a couple of hours south, to Landeyjahöfn to catch the ferry to Heimaey on Vestmannaeyjar. We got there a bit early, so we stopped at the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

Late afternoon it was time to drive to Landeyjahöfn and hop on the all-electric ferry to Heimaey, Iceland’s second-largest fishing port, and the only town on the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar). Due to a recent storm, the sea was still pretty rough, but otherwise the weather was gorgeous, and we had some beautiful views of the Islands on the 30-minute crossing.

In Heimaey, we went straight to our Airbnb, right at the foot of infamous Eldfell volcanic cone. To date, the Eldfell eruption was Iceland’s most destructive volcanic event in modern times, when it erupted on January 23, 1973, destroying around 400 homes and almost closing off the important harbor.

Later that evening, we drove to Stórhöfðaviti at the southern tip of the island to take in the views and to look for puffins. We even saw some, but it was quickly getting dark and we had no interest in wandering around the cliffs in the dark.

The next day, our only full day on the island, we had tons of fun watching puffins, climbing on top of Eldfell and visiting the Elheimar Museum, where we learned about the 1973 Eldfell eruption.

In the evening, we watched local children and adults throw baby puffins (or pufflings) off of a cliff, so they can return to their habitat in the North Atlantic. We went looking for pufflings as well, but since we were not well equipped, we did not find any.

The next morning, however, our host found one hiding in the front yard, She managed to catch it, and then gave it to us, since she was on her way to work. We took the little bird to get weighed and evaluated, and he/she was found to be healthy and was cleared to be released. So we went to the puffin-chuckin spot off of Hamarsvegur, on the western side of the island and released the little bird.

Mission accomplished! We had been incredibly lucky to be able to see adult puffins in the colony and help rescue a little, lost puffling. Our timing was just really, really lucky, since the pufflings only emerge from the den after the adults leave. The little guys then take flight, but some get lost and end up in town, where they are trapped, since they rely on the steep cliffs to get airborne. A few days later, all the adults were gone, and a few days earlier, they would all still be busy feeding the pufflings in their dens, where we can’t see them.

After this fun adventure, we went back into town, to explore the harbor area and visit the beluga sanctuary, before taking the afternoon ferry back to the mainland.