Jordan Harkins|50 Freestyle|Countryside YMCA
DAVID A. HEWITT SUMMER POLAR BEAR INVITATIONAL Any destruction of property during the swim meet will result in immediate disqualification of the. Meet, Date, Age, Equal or Faster, Time, Needs to Drop. CZ Section 3 12/4 /, 14, , A, , Countryside YMCA, Winter Polar Bear. 12/4/, DAVID A. HEWITT SUMMER POLAR BEAR INVITATIONAL Place: Countryside YMCA (50 meter pool) The meet will be limited to the first swimmers.
That is not to say, however, that the native wildlife lacks diversity. During the last ice-age, they walked over the sea-ice to the island, only to be stranded there when it melted over 10, years ago. Incredibly adaptable creatures, they managed to sustain themselves feeding on eggs, birds, invertebrates and berries. When humans arrived, the foxes were hunted extensively for fur and to protect livestock; with the development of fur-farms, the former reason no longer applies, but farmers still maintain that population control is still essential for their economy.
While hunting obviously disrupted the fox populations, human arrival meant a wealth of new food in the form of rodents, food waste and lambs, allowing the species to survive. The Arctic Foxes in Iceland come in two colour morphs, white and blue. White foxes change their coat completely between seasons, going from snow-white in winter to a brown and white in summer. Blue foxes do not change coat, but their fur is bleached throughout summer so that they are much lighter by the arrival of winter.
Both variants thicken their fur throughout the colder months, however, and lose it when the weather warms. Arctic Foxes can be found all across Iceland, but are especially concentrated in the Westfjords, most notably the remote Hornstrandir Reserve in the very north where they are protected. In this region, they are noted for being quite fearless of humans, so wildlife photographers often come for some very intimate shots.
This has led the way in researching these animals, educating people about their threats, and promoting eco-tourism. It is one of the best places in the world for whale-watching, especially during the summer when the great whales migrate here to feed. This industry is changing the way that Icelanders view the creatures of the deep, as the relationship between the two is historical and complex.
As seafarers, many accounts from early Icelanders depict whales as terrible leviathans; an especially notable story tells of a warlock who attempted to take over Iceland by transforming into one, before being rebuffed on all four shores by a different guardian spirit.
The meat from a single stranding could feed communities, and their oil could supply candles and lanterns to help sustain people through the dark winters. Iceland began commercial whaling in the late 19th Century, later than most other nations, and struggled with the pressures against it for many decades. It has been outlawed then reinstated several times, due to issues with stock populations, international pressure, and local opinions.
While whaling continues to this day, it is a constant debate within the country as to whether or not it has a future. What certainly does have a future, however, is whale-watching. Tours are leaving from ports all across the country, with incredibly high success rates, and a diverse wealth of life to see. Their numbers and lack of fear of humans were a blessing when settlers did arrive; seals provided the people with essential resources, from food to clothing to oil, which helped make the stark new country habitable.
Their populations were dwindling heavily by the 20th Century when more and more were taken for fashion rather than necessity, but their numbers today are quite stable. Seals are still hunted occasionally in Iceland, due to the damage they cause to fishing equipment and how they pass ringworm to fish stocks; some are still hunted on private property for fur.
These practices have come under increasing question as the seal-watching industry has boomed, especially since the opening of the Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangiwhich is dedicated to researching these animals and raising awareness about their threats. They are not the only species to frequent Icelandic waters, however. Harp, bearded, hooded and ringed seals are all occasional visitors, and even walruses are sometimes seen in the Westfjords.
Walruses used to have a large population here but were hunted to extinction in the 17th Century. Learn more about Seals and Seal Watching in Iceland. Puffins of Iceland Puffins are considered to be rare and elusive birds in the majority of the world, but in Iceland, there is a wealth of them. Their arrival in April and May mark the beginning of summer, and they can be easily seen up close in many parts of the country until August.
These birds do not like to roost anywhere where there are not others of their species, so wherever you can find one, you are likely to find hundreds more.
Puffins can be appreciated by boat and by land. These vessels are small enough to get close to the rocky shores, and many tours include binoculars so you can see them even more clearly. Many whale-watch tours include a detour to these islands. Those travelling to the Westfjords in summer need not even board a boat to see puffins. They have no fear of people, and will only fly off if someone is trying to touch them.
- Faith Rudowski
- Polar bear plunge
- Countryside Ralph Stolle YMCA
At such proximity, the details of their painted beaks and adorable expression are on clear display. These are not the only places puffins nest, however. As is well-documented, Icelanders have a quite a penchant for unusual meats. It is, therefore, the only country in the world where you can spend the day watching puffins, then enjoy one for dinner.
Other Birds of Iceland Puffins are by far the most popular bird in Iceland, but this little island has an enormous wealth of avian life.
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Arctic terns and sea eagles can also be found around the coasts. Outside of aquatic environments, there are even more; gyrfalcons, golden plovers, snipes and ptarmigans all call the island home.
No discussion about the birds of Iceland, however, would be complete without a mention of the raven. You can peacefully leave your own car inside their parking for free or, with an extra fee, they can take your car back to Podere Casanova while you're out experiencing Tuscany with your Vespa or car.
They will also organize tours with a guide but these require booking at least a month ahead of time. You can find all details here. Day trips with children As noted in other parts of our website, Podere Casanova has a special welcome for the little ones. For this reason, we have collected and selected several activities we suggest for families staying with us: Playground in Ginestra Fiorentina: There is a small but wonderful playground here.
Polar bear plunge - Wikipedia
The 3 Little Pigs I 3 porcellini: This is perfect in case of rainy weather! It is a fun park in Castelfiorentino just 10 minutes from Podere Casanova.
The park is indoors, and is safe and fun! Open Tuesdays-Sundays from 3: In Cerbaia, about 16km from Podere Casanova. About 22km from Podere Casanova, it is one of the largest green parks in Florence located along the left bank of the Arno river by via Villamagna in southeastern Florence. Within the park you'll find an amphiteather area, two fountains and a small island, a playground and a small reproduction of the Duomo's dome!
About 30 minutes from Podere Casanova, the park offers fun and safe itineraries on the trees. For kids and adults alike; there is also a wide area where you can rent mountain bikes for the entire family. Just 50 minutes from Podere Casanova, located between Settignano and Fiesole on the hills that surround Florence in the woods.
There are various levels of itineraries through the trees for small kids as well as older ones. The Park is open every day between 10am and 7pm.
Located to the north of Florence, along the via Bolognese right as you reach Pratolino in front of the Pratolino Medici Park. With helmets and safety harnesses you can enjoy a couple of hours of adventure climbing trees. There are 6 trails of various levels, all with the assistance of expert teachers.
Open from 10am to 7pm. Prehistoric Park in Peccioli: The entrance to this park is an enormous volcano that spews out colored balls! Within, you'll find life size dinosaurs as well as make fun rides and food stands. You'll spend a fun and interesting day here with your entire family. The park is over 30 square miles with 20 life size prehistoric animals, including a velociraptor, brontosaur, tyrannosaur, tarbosaur, mammoth, cave bear, scolo saur.