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Modified 29-Apr-17
Created 20-Nov-16
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Vestmanneyjar refers to both a collection of islands off the south coast of Iceland and the town on the only inhabited island, Heimaey, also the largest of the group. About 4,000 people live on Heimaey year-round. It is linked to the mainland by ferry and by airflights. The name means "Gaelic Islands", as Vestmann is Icelandic/old Norse for Gaelic people. During Settlement times, Irish/Scots slaves or thralls took refuge on the island after they killed the blood brother of Ingolfur Arnarson, one of the first Vikings to settle Iceland. Revenge was taken. The islands were formed relatively recently- given the ~16 million year geologic history of Iceland- from volcanic eruptions, beginning about 12,000 years ago and progressing down to modern times. Surtsey, the newest island, started forming in 1963. Less than ten years later a major eruption on Heimaey forced the total evacuation to the mainland of the town of Vestmanneyjar. There were heroic efforts to prevent the blocking of the harbour by lava flows. Its loss would have had serious repercussions for the Icelandic economy as Vestmanneyjar is responsible for about one-sixth of Iceland's fishery output. Besides fishing, Vestmanneyjar is known for its huge seabird colonies, especially of puffins, petrels and shearwaters.
Heimaey and other islands from LandeyjarhofnOut of Landeyjarhofn, Eyjafjallajokull in backBIF, Northern FulmarEllidaey, VestmanneyjarEllidaey, VestmanneyjarVestmanneyjar harbour, Heimaey, VestmanneyjarTour boat, VestmanneyjarVestmanneyjar harbourVestmanneyjar KittyGott restaurant: food was "gott".Murals on fish factoryVestmanneyjar harbourTouch tank in harbourVestmanneyjar fishing boatsVestmanneyjar muralPuffin street signs, VestmanneyjarEven Chinese restaurants have to acknowledge pffinsIcelanders love football and were thrilled to take it to its "inventors"  in the European Cup in 2016

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