Volcanic Heimaey Island

The story of Heimaey Island in the south of Iceland makes geology class feel like a modern day adventure movie. As our ship sailed toward the narrow opening to its fishing boat harbor, a first look at the land bore witness to the 1973 volcanic eruption that nearly closed the harbor entrance. I’ve never before seen hardened lava looking like wet mud that just dripped and dried quite recently. Later, we learned that men battled the lava flow threatening the harbor with fire hoses in a successful and historically unique effort to cool the lava and shorten the length of its flow, preserving the harbor entrance and the way of life for the fishermen.

#windstar, #pilot, #boat, #heimaey, #volcanic, #eruption, #lava, #fog
The orange boat that brought the bay pilot out to our ship passed us as we slowly approached Heimaey’s tiny harbor. We were soon to learn more about the epic battle between the volcano and the harbor.

The fog that would settle in for the day and cancel our flight-seeing tour was descending on us as well. Nevertheless, this view from our cabin this morning was quite beautiful. As a backup plan, I walked on my own into the village.

The volcano that forced the 2am evacuation of all the island residents in January of 1973 erupted for six months. All residents were safely evacuated to the mainland on fishing boats that happened to be in the harbor due to a recent storm. The people had wait all that time before they could return and find out the status of their homes.

#heimaey, #volcanic, #eruption, #lava, #1973, #iceland
The remains of this home helps visitors imagine what the islanders faced when they returned after the eruption.

A paragon of resilience, the residents returned to Heimaey to rebuild and resume their quiet, communal  lives. I strolled up the street past new homes to see the volcano, and to visit the Museum of Remembrance, where recorded voices of residents describe  personal stories of what happened as they realized the volcano was erupting and gathered their families to flee toward the harbor.

#volcano, #heimaey, #houses, #rebuild, #resilience, #sony
Would you build a new home here, just below the volcano?
#volcano, #remember, #eruption, #museum, #iceland, #1973
Heimaey’s volcano belies its powers of destruction as it sits quietly above the village today.

 

 

Scenes that echo

As a landscape photographer, I am drawn to waterscapes everywhere I travel — from New Zealand to Hawaii and many other scenic locations. I find myself watching the surf, the rocks, the sunsets, the weather and the natural vegetation around the world.

When I encountered this scene in Maui recently, I was intrigued by the island — the way the surf had eroded it, the way the surf continued to interact with it and the vegetation that grew on it.

#lava, #island, #maui, #waterscape, #tropical, #erosion
This lava island on Maui hosts tropical vegetation, and it is constantly licked and pounded by the relentless Pacific surf.

The lava island in Maui reminded me strongly of a rocky island that caught my eye in New Zealand in 2014. The NZ island was also constantly buffeted by the surf within a bay, and supported an interesting crop of vegetation. The two islands actually look quite different, but my fascination with them made a strong echo in my mind.

#island, #newzealand, #rocks, #vegetation, #abeltasman, #waterscape, #nature, #landscape
This island in Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand also caught my eye. I was attracted to the vegetation it hosted as well as its rocky foundation and “roots” underwater.