Eldey is a sheer cliff island formed from tuff, situated approximately fifteen km southwest of Reykjanes. It is the innermost formation in a vast group of rocks collectively known as Fuglasker or Eldeyjar. One of these rocks, Geirfuglasker is the last known habitat of the now extinct great auk (pinguinus impennis). The greater part of Geirfuglasker went beneath sea level in 1830 due to volcanic eruptions. The last of the great auks was captured and killed in 1844 due to the enthusiasm of collectors to acquire a stuffed sample of the bird. Eldey is one of the world’s largest inhabiting area of the gannet (sula bassana) and the island is generally covered with it’s main inhabitant, with some 14 18 thousand pairs of gannets using the island as a mating ground each year. Eldey was declared a preserved area in 1940 and legally so in 1974. It is generally believed that the first people to climb the island were three men from Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands). This was on May 30 in 1894 and the most widely recognised of the climbers is Hjalti Jónsson, also known as EldeyjarHjalti. However, the group noticed some mountain climbing security bolts lodged in the cliffs, indicating that the island had already been climbed. Not unlikely considering the island is a great food source. Entering the island is not allowed without a specific permission from the Environment
Agency of Iceland. Eldey is not always visible from the mainland due to mist or fog. To get as close to Eldey as possible a hike is recommended down to Reykjanesviti or Valahnúkur. This involves a drive from Reykjanesbær past Hafnir and the Bridge Between Continents. Make a right turn when you reach the industrial zone of HS Orka where signs will lead the way to the parking spaces by Valahnúkur. This is a nice spot to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
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