Bird watching day at the Gjesværstappan Nature Reserve

Today is bird safari day

Gannet colony

The land we drove through from Honningsvåg to get to the bird watching boat is part of the Arctic Tundra.

desolate. windswept. cold. with permafrost areas. 
The weather was chilly and gray and damp. It felt lonely.

And it sure feels like the edge of the world to me being used to sunny and lush sub-tropical Florida, but there is no loneliness, there is life in this barren landscape. 

No tall plants can grow here since the permanently frozen subsoil prevents deep root systems, but around 1,700 types of ground level plants, even flowers, cover this land. Then there are Arctic foxes, lemmings, wolves, caribou, hares, fish, to name a few. 

We did not see any of the above mentioned animals, but lots of reindeer. 

The tour guide explained there are no wild reindeer. All reindeer are here for the summer months to fatten up on lichens, mosses and dwarf shrubs. They all belong to five Sami families. 

The Sami reindeer herders ferry their animals to this island for the summer months for grazing and having their young, and before the winter the animals will be round up, get a health check and then the reindeer will swim two Kilometers through the ocean back to the mainland to their winter homes. 

We arrived at the bird safari boat and first thing was for everyone to bundle up in a thick jumpsuit to stay warm before heading out to sea.

The tour went to a cluster of small rocky islands along the coast, the Gjesværstappan Nature Reserve. The captain explained about the birds and how the colonies were nurtured back from a handful of birds to thousands today. 

Zooming in a little closer, I was surprised by yellow and white flowers, clumps of plants with large leaves, and long grasses.

We saw all kinds of birds, lots of puffins and razor bills and several eagles. 

It was truly amazing being right in the middle of so many birds. Squawking, screeching, screaming, they sure were noisy.

Gannet colony

At one point we felt watched by a Russian submarine

Before driving back to Honningsvåg we had a few minutes to visit the little  museum with souvenir shop.

Reaching Honningsvåg we drove by large drying racks covered with fish. 

We learned the fish are hung for 2 months to dry and are eaten as is as a snack or soaked in water for two days. Soaking plumps the fish up to 140% their original weight and they taste just as freshly caught fish.

Leaving Honningsvåg

The Serenade of the Seas is heading to the close-by Nordkapp (North Cape)

This post is linked up with Mosaic Monday and Our World Tuesday


  1. What a beautiful place !
    I admire your great photos !

    1. thank you for visiting and thank you for your kind words :)

  2. Fascinating place and love the birds ~ wonderful photo tour ^_^

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor

    1. yes, fascinating is the right word. I would not want to live there, tho ;-)

  3. I enjoyed travelling with you this morning, wonderful photos, thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. What an interesting trip. So different from the usual. Your photos are excellent, giving us that feeling of endless space.

    1. oh yes, I highly recommend a Norway cruise, so far my most favorite cruise.

  5. Hello,
    What a wonderful place to go birding. I would love to see these birds, the Puffins and Razorbills. I have seen the Gannets but never a Gannet colony. It is cool seeing the reindeer too. The scenery is beautiful. Great series of photos. Take care, enjoy your day!

  6. The birds were amazing, but none held still for me to snap a good picture with my little point&shoot ;)

  7. What an adventure. Love reading such travel posts. The nature, is fantastisc.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  8. Wow, that's a lot of fish! And how interesting to learn that these were not wild reindeer. Thanks for taking us along for the bird-watching. It would be terrific to see puffins in the wild! I am so glad to have you at Mosaic Monday!