Drangey - Trapped on Drangey island

Can you imagine being trapped on island like Drangey for a couple of days? Maybe even with very little food.
Listen to a story from Viggó Jónsson who loves spending his time on the island.

In the player below you can listen to the story as well as it is available in writing further down the page.
The story is read by Vilhjálmur Bermann Bragason.


"My name is Viggó Jónsson and I’ve hunted birds and collected eggs on Drangey island for more than 40 years. Hunting for food is a part of life.

Hunting has been practiced on the island, as a part of the “food chest of Skagafjörður” – as far back as anyone can remember. For a few weeks in the spring, around 200 people would live in tents at the beach, on the otherwise uninhabited island. They hunted birds and collected eggs and rowed out to catch fish in the fjord as well.

It was mostly the farmers from the surrounding countryside who took part in this labour because Sauðárkrókur didn’t become a proper town until after 1850. All winter long, people had eaten salted fish, pickled meat and other preserved food and so they were ecstatic when the farmers returned on their horses, bringing fresh food.

Hunting is still practiced on the island but on a much smaller scale. It is quite risky to collect eggs because you have to lower yourself down cliffs in ropes and sometimes there is rockfall.

I have three children, two boys and a girl. They first started hunting for birds with me when they were around 6 years old.

The weather can change quickly and even though you can make it to the island it isn’t a given that you can make it back home again. I have sometimes been weatherbound on Drangey for a few days. One time, I was there with my daughter, who was 11 at the time, and we were weatherbound for five days! The only thing we had left to eat were potatoes – but she didn´t like potatoes. I made this fancy mash which was the best she had ever tasted and today still she talks about how good that mash was. It was a great adventure and the kids experienced it first-hand. Now that they’re adults, these are the memories that stand out from their childhood.

It also happened once when I took a German tourist with us to the island. He had planned to go there on a daytrip but ended up being stuck there with us for five days. After his stay with strangers on this deserted island, he returned a changed man with a new vision of hunting animals."