The eruption in Westmann Islands in 1973 was a major event. Hundreds of buildings disappeared under lava or volcanic dust and sand. It shaped the town and the main island, Heimaey, forever.
After not coming to the Westman Islands since the summer the eruption ended, it was time to visit the island again. In the memory, the town was submerged in pumice and sand from the eruption and people and equipment were busy shoveling it away.
It is very easy to travel to the Westman Islands with the ferry Herjólfur. Frequent trips allow tourists to go on a day trip. The boat trip took only 40 minutes and it was very impressive to see the islands in the archipelago being revealed one by one. The voyage into Vestmannaeyjar harbor was an incredible experience.
Eldheimar is a museum where you can get to know what happened in the eruption of 1973 when the island literally tore apart in front of people’s eyes. The museum is built around a house that was submerged in ash. The eruption makes an impression on the whole island. The lava and the new volcano are very prominent and you can almost feel it everywhere you go around the island.
The museum also tells about the eruption on the island of Surtsey when the island rose from the sea in an eruption and is still standing. It is clear that the archipelago is still in the making and it must take strong bones to live there. The people in the Westman Islands who came back and rebuilt their homes despite losing them under lava or volcanic sand deserve admiration.
It does not take long to drive around the island and there are many interesting scenic spots. It’s impressive to see the ocean crashing on the rocks on the shore with all its might and the diverse bird life in the cliffs including the fun puffins.
A Little Trip To Westmann Islands video clip:
Here is a video about the audio guidance in the Eldheimar Exhibition and the eruption in Surtsey Island