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Uncountable Islands Counted

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Uncountable Islands Counted

From Breiðafjörður, fjord, West Iceland.

Flatey. One of the largest islands in the bay. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

West Iceland’s beautiful Breiðafjörður bay is filled with “countless islands and skerries”, or so the brochures have always said. But that is no longer true, as one man claims to know precisely how many there are.

There are 3,009 islands and 1,275 skerries in Breiðafjörður.

This is according to a new article from Þorvaldur Björnsson, which has been causing a stir in West Iceland. How can he be so sure he has counted the ‘uncountable’ islands that have been a riddle since the age of settlement?

“It was chiefly through the place names directory and on field trips I have taken with local farmers,” Þorvaldur says—adding that he also used aerial photographs in his count. “It is first and foremost a census of nesting birds that use the islets and skerries of Breiðafjörður.”

Asked by Vísir if he also plans to count the ‘uncountable’ hillocks of Vatnsdalshólur or the lakes and pools of Tvídægra, Þorvaldur says: “I don’t think so. There aren’t the birds there, and my interest is in them! It must be up to somebody else to count those.”

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