Runde was something that sprang up at the very last moment. As beautiful as Alesund is, you do not need 3 days to visit it. So, after having had a lovely day in Alesund, we were looking for an alternative to going to the Geirangerfjord, whose webcams still showed that you couldn’t see much further than your could extend your arms.
Runde is a remote island, that is best known amongst ornithologists as it features a large amount of various birds. In particular it is home to a lot of puffin, which we wanted to see.
As Runde is remote, reaching it, especially on a week-end, is a challenge and we did indeed have to ask the camping owner to pick us up at the nearest bus station, which was only 15km away from the camping grounds themselves. It was also at that bus stop that I realised that, while I had packed my camera when leaving in the morning, I had not actually taking the battery of the camera with me. Some frantic phone calls ensued with the result that our host would meet us when we were back in Alesund.
During the drive from the bus station to the place, we got a first introduction to the island and its customs and also the impact the bad and cold weather had on the his business. He actually was quite desperate as he had a group of biology students coming in the next day and the “damn birds just weren’t doing anything”, he was at a total loss as to what to show the biologists since the birds were not cooperating and hadn’t started courting yet. The fact that it was supposed to rain the entire next week and the sea was to rough to drive out with the boat wasn’t helping either.
Thus warned, we arrived in Runde and, after a short pause to relax, set out to explore the island and search for the puffin. After braving the beastly weather for half an hour we gave up and fled back into our little hut. Luckily the weather cleared up in the evening and we set out for a 3h walk which would lead us to the nesting places of the puffin. When I say the weather cleared up, what I mean to say is that the ice-cold rain/snow mix stopped. It was still very windy and cloudy and we were wearing all layers of clothes we could possibly superimpose. In some ways the bad weather however, was a blessing. We had the most amazing light all through our hike and I am convinced that the charm of the island would’ve lost if the weather had been better. The mix of the red-golden dead grass, the green of the new grass,the blue of the sea and the white of the clouds made for a wonderful combination that would’ve lost much of the intensity under direct light. Nevertheless I wouldn’t have minded if the wind could’ve blown a little less forcefully while I was standing on the edge of the cliffs, I was seriously scared of being blown away. We set out with the goal to reach the nesting place around 7pm, but the views and the somewhat unexpected blanket of snow  on parts of the hike slowed us down to a point where we only reached our destination at half past nine. Luckily, this far north, the sun is in no hurry to set and we would have had another 2-3 hours there, if it hadn’t been that cold.
After waiting for nearly 20 minutes without seeing anything, I was ready to call the observation a failure and return home. Luckily my sister convinced me to stay a little longer. As soon as the weather improved a bit, they were everywhere. They would crop out of the rocks (of course out of range for the cameras) and launch themselves into the air and since I’ve already shown you one shaky, blurred photo of an animal, I’ll spare you now. We could hear them whizzing about, missing us only by mere centimetres on a number of occasions. I fully expected one of them to hit the rocks at full speed, but they seem to have an in-built emergency brake they can use, when getting to close to the walls.
We stayed for another half hour until we were really thoroughly frozen through and then returned home already talking about coming back here in the future to see what the island has to offer when the weather is good.


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