Photographer: @tothewonderblog
Iceland has long been a destination for wayward travelers, those hell bent on adventure, isolation, refuge, or the unknown. Long before Vikings first hauled there wooden skiffs upon these rocky and black-sand shores, Iceland has stood weathered by the arctic winds, baked in midnight sun, and drowned in a sea of wintery darkness - it’s qualities perfectly suited to our planet’s most adventurous and resilient, those hardy few in search of safe harbor here in the Polar North. As Iceland’s remote beaches, windswept headlands, and jagged peaks become a staple of the contemporary wayfarers manifesto, this volcanic island tucked at the intersection of the Atlantic, Norwegian, North Sea has simultaneously experienced a catastrophic decline in it’s true seafarers, those puffins, fulmars, murres, kittiwakes, razorbills and skaus that have long peppered these coastlines and jagged outcroppings to rest and raise their young. Here in the Polar North, researchers have long called these rich waters the ‘Serengeti’ for fish eating birds, a nursery for 23 species of Atlantic seabirds and countless fish who since time immemorial have fueled one of the world’s most productive fisheries. Salty, weathered fisherman tell tales of the skies turning black and white with the whisking wings of these seabirds, beaks brimming with the silver bodies of sand eels, herring, hake and capelin. Yet, today few return. Nests have gone empty, and colonies throughout the North Atlantic are in precipitous decline. Our planet is undergoing a slue of rapid changes ranging from shifts in wind patterns to unprecedented fluctuations in ocean currents and chemistry. These climate induced dynamics coupled with an ever rising plume of pollution spilling from our planet’s biggest cities have caused profound changes to the world’s oceans – their climate, chemistry and the food webs they support. Notwithstanding, millions of these seafaring birds still roam our planet’s northern seas. Yet, keep in mind, if radical steps are not taken to address the myriad of issues affecting our planet’s ecology, these seaward relics of legions past may largely disappear from the skies and bays of Iceland. Their fate is in our hands.
By @Charles_Post