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Iceland

 
Author elsslots
Admin
#1 | Posted: 28 Sep 2018 04:05 | Edited by: elsslots 
In our discussions about 'visiting' the Pont d'Arc Cave, Surtsey came up again as it is notoriously difficult to visit as well.
20 community members claim to have visited it, which seems quite a lot since I know of only 1 'proven' way to enter its inscribed area.

The 'proven' way: as part of a longer cruise of the area, as described by Solivagant in his review. So mr. & mrs. Solivagant earned their credentials that way.

What apparently does not work is taking the day cruise with Viking Tours from the Westmann Islands: Iain Jackson told me that he had tried that, but their boats do not even get close to Surtsey ("it's way too far!") and certainly do not circumnavigate it.

There is a private option advertised, a bit similar to the one we will be taking next year to St. Kilda: https://visitwestmanislands.com/tour/private-boat-tour-around-surtsey/

Thomas Buechler told me about a chartered plane - which surely allows you to observe the island well, but I would be hesitant to count a fly-over as it opens a can of worms for visits to other WHS.

Would be glad to hear from the other 18 community members how they tackled this 'tick'.

Author joelonroad
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 29 Sep 2018 10:53 
I guess it's part of the whole discussion about how you count a "visit". I think ultimately it's personal preference as to what you consider "seen", and that there's no hard and fast rule about whether you've been or not. Personally I wouldn't have a problem with counting a scenic flight as having visited somewhere, particularly for a difficult and remote site. Especially if the scenic flight is for the express purpose of visiting a world heritage site. I can't imagine anyone would think "yep, I saw <x> out of an airplane window from 38,000 feet, that totally counts as a visit".

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 29 Sep 2018 12:18 | Edited by: Solivagant 
joelonroad:
Personally I wouldn't have a problem with counting a scenic flight as having visited somewhere, particularly for a difficult and remote site

Our "only" view of Angel Falls (Canaima WHS) was from a "scenic flight". I would certainly have still claimed it as "visited" but was saved the "moral dilemma" as we also landed inside the inscribed area at Kavac for lunch and to "meet" some Pemon "tribes people" .

I wonder how people handle the Nazca Lines?? We did the flight but also "saw" the lines from the ground from the viewing tower ( now at -14.693842, -75.113838 - but I don't think it was the same "tower" back in 1984). I have just checked the inscribed boundaries of the site and amazingly it seems to include the entire built up area of the town of Nazca. So, if you enter or leave Nazca by road you will have been inside the Core Zone even if your transport doesn't stop at the tower. But just travelling through a core zone - possibly in the middle of the night, without "seeing" anything, doesn't really seem to add much!!!

South Africa once had Kimberley and its "Big Hole" on its T List - we had a superb view of it once as we flew over, possibly at 35000 feet - I often wondered how I would treat that view if it were ever to be inscribed!!! Probably not - but some sights do lend themselves to being seen from the air. You can get views of several London WHS if your LHR flight comes in from the East - that of Kew Gardens is particularly fine and actually "adds" to the views you might have got from the ground.

Author scleaver
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 29 Sep 2018 14:15 
A similar example is Purnululu in Australia. When travelling around Australia in 2009 (and ticking off all the Australian mainland sites), reports were that the only 4WD track into the national park was extremely rough and out of the league of our Suburu Forester. Instead we elected to do a scenic flight from a nearby town, in a small 7-seater Cesna flying quite low. We would have liked to do a flight that landed and included a hike inside the park, but a flight alone was already very pricey.

By luck, just like for Solivagant, we landed inside the national park, to drop off 2 of our passengers who were meeting a tour inside the park. But even without it I would count the site as visited. The rock formations are probably best appreciated from the air.

Author elsslots
Admin
#5 | Posted: 29 Sep 2018 22:22 
scleaver:
best appreciated from the air.

We do have a connection for that, Best seen from the sky. And Purnululu could be added. But I am still unsure about Surtsey; this - and other remote islands such as Gough, Bikini etc - aren't really 'best seen from the sky'. In cases like this I'd always want a combination (core zone tick + overview as optional addition).

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 30 Sep 2018 02:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
joelonroad:
I guess it's part of the whole discussion about how you count a "visit". I think ultimately it's personal preference as to what you consider "seen", and that there's no hard and fast rule about whether you've been or not

By the way - what conclusion has Schnitzel reached about this tricky philosophical issue? I note that both you and Shandos have ticked the Chauvet Cave as "visited", apparently on the basis of visiting the replica, but that Schnitzel hasn't claimed it.
Is that because
a. He regards entering the core zone as a sine qua non for claiming a visit
b. He was stuck in the car park because they wouldn't let him into the replica
c. He was asleep and missed it
d. He has more important existential matters to think about - like what he will be having next to eat!
It would be a great shame if he were to be deprived of ticks because of anti-canine prejudice - or does he manage to rise above such slights!

Author joelonroad
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 30 Sep 2018 10:40 
A combination of B and C; we left him to sleep in the car knowing that he wouldn't be allowed in. It was early April and still a little chilly so we knew he'd be OK. Generally speaking if he stays in the car we don't count him as having visited. Lascaux would be a trickier question, as he came with us on the hike to the original cave entrance!

He much preferred the Ice Age Caves of the Swabian Jura, however, since there he could come all the way to the cave entrance and was even graciously allowed inside the museum at Blauberen! (it was about -5 outside and our plan of alternating was greeted incredulously by the museum staff)

Author GaryArndt
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 30 Sep 2018 14:08 
In my definition, a visit has to be purposeful. Meaning that a flight over Surtsey would count if and only if the intent of the flight was to fly over Surtsey. If you were just flying over Iceland and saw it, I wouldn't count it. Same with a boat trip.

Given the special circumstances surrounding some sites (Surtsey, Chauvet Cave, etc.), a proper visit simply isn't possible. In these cases, I'd count any visit which is the most meaningful visit possible given the unique circumstances.

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 12 Oct 2018 05:27 
In regard to the new connection Shoe covers required Surtsey was suggested:

https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2014-08-11/surtsey-maphead

"The scientists who visit Surtsey today carefully monitor their shoe soles and trouser cuffs to make sure they're not bringing in new species, but keeping Earth's newest ecosystem clean requires endless vigilance."

When I look at the nomination file, the scientists are there for weeks and there is a cabin for them as well. I don't think they will wear protective covers all the time, maybe just really clean shoes?
Any opinions?

P.S. I found the company for scenic flights over Surtsey. Costs are just below 200 EUR for a 20min flight: http://www.flightseeing.is/project/westman-islands/

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 12 Oct 2018 06:10 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
The scientists who visit Surtsey today carefully monitor their shoe soles and trouser cuffs to make sure they're not bringing in new species, but keeping Earth's newest ecosystem clean requires endless vigilance."

This sort of thing is perfectly normal even for tourists when visiting sites where avoidance of inadvertent ingress of non-native biota is important - but I am not sure about "Shoe covers" - they would be pretty useless I would have thought!!

When visiting South Georgia we had to "vacuum" all our clothes , day sacks etc etc before arriving to try to remove any seeds etc etc which might have been left on from excursions elsewhere (These "vacuuming" requirements had been introduced between our first and second visits in 2003 and 2007). And on all Antarctic landings (on both visits) Wellington boots have to be plunged into disinfected water ( tubs are provided for the purpose!) and scrubbed before and after each visit. Some of it of course is about not spreading pathogens already in the area as well as not bringing in something from another continent - you are going to walk in a lot of bird/animal faeces - if there IS some infection on island A there is a need to try to avoid it being taken to island B!

The biosecurity rules for visiting Macquarie Island are very similar (but no "special" shoes!) - https://www.parks.tas.gov.au/file.aspx?id=43825

How really effective all this might be is another matter!

I guess we could consider a "Connection" regarding "WHS with personal Biosecurity rules for tourists" But we would need to exclude "WHS which can't be visited" since that would double count - so Surtsey wouldn't be included! And also exclude the "normal" simple rules of not leaving rubbish etc etc as well as overall "country" rules - most countries have general restrictions on import of foods/fruits etc. I would specify "personal" since many sites have rules for ships. NZ Subantarctic Islands have similar rules to those of Macquarie ( https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/southland/places/subantarct ic-islands/minimum-impact-code/ )
Heard and Macdonald Islands makes a 3rd for the Connection - http://heardisland.antarctica.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/148150/HIMI_Manageme nt_Plan_2014_2024_upload.pdf


Probably best to require a link to the specific rules for each WHS?? I would have thought that all are going to be Islands?

I don't remember any such rules for the Galapagos, Aldabra or Inaccessible Island. - but they may have been introduced since we visited - though these are the Galapagos Isldand rules and wouldn't IMO "meet" the "personal Biosecurity" connection standards - https://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/

Author elsslots
Admin
#11 | Posted: 26 Jul 2019 01:34 | Edited by: elsslots 
As new reviews move around so fast, I'd like to draw some extra attention to the wonderful review of mrayers of his boat trip to Surtsey.

Author mrayers
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 26 Jul 2019 19:33 
elsslots:
As new reviews move around so fast, I'd like to draw some extra attention to the wonderful review of mrayers of his boat trip to Surtsey.

Thanks for the nice comment, Els!

I am sorry that while my island trip worked out, the 2019 meetup trip did not :-(

Author elsslots
Admin
#13 | Posted: 3 Aug 2019 03:05 | Edited by: elsslots 
I have kind of an administrative dilemma with Vatnajökull National Park - as we all know it was inscribed this year, but part of it was actually Referred :
"Refers back to the State Party the elements of the nominated property situated to the north of the Herðubreiðarlindir Nature Reserve, in the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river corridor and the northern Dettifoss - Ásbyrgi part of Vatnajökull National Park, in order to allow the State Party to complete consultations with landowners in these areas, and ensure appropriate protection measures are put in place, and recommends that these areas be added to the inscribed property, once the protection and consultation issues have been resolved."

It has since disappeared from the Tentative List on the Unesco website, but that maybe an error. My idea now is to let the remaining part persist as a TWHS to see whether Iceland will pick it up again and have these bits added as an extension in the future (maybe they will even do that as a minor boundary change).

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 3 Aug 2019 03:32 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
It has since disappeared from the Tentative List on the Unesco website, but that maybe an error. My idea now is to let the remaining part persist as a TWHS

Is it not better to continue the "policy" of keeping our T List completely in line with that of UNESCO even where we know that is in error (duplicates etc etc)???
You could transfer the remaining section to "Former T List sites" in order to maintain a complete picture of the history of site. You should also add to the "2019 Inscribed" Site History section that a northern section was referred?? Having it as a "Former T List" might make it slightly easier to resurrect it if necessary??
The OGs certainly require that a formal "extension" should have been on the T List - "If a State Party wishes to significantly modify the boundary of a property already on the World Heritage List, the State Party shall submit this proposal as if it were a new nomination (including the requirement to be previously included on the Tentative List – see paragraph 63 and 65). ...... This provision applies to extensions, as well as reductions".
So the removal of the remaining section is either "mistake" which may later be corrected, OR, perhaps, an indication that Iceland is quitting while it is ahead now that it has obtained inscription for the main element having concluded that there isn't much to be gained from an extension.

Author elsslots
Admin
#15 | Posted: 3 Aug 2019 03:53 
Solivagant:
You could transfer the remaining section to "Former T List sites" in order to maintain a complete picture of the history of site.

Yes that was my other option (I had it at that before this morning when I started doubting). Thanks for keeping my head straight!

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