The ice-burgs of Iceland

Skaftafell Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 11 › view all entries
Blacksand beaches near Vik

Our second day in Iceland started with a back-track. We had been too tired the night before to visit the black sand beaches near Vik, so we drove back over the lava fields and through the lupins to Dryholaey. The beach was stunning, high black cliffs, twisted basalt shapes, arctic sea terns wheeling in the sky. We also stopped at Nupssadir to see traditional Icelandic houses built under the green turf. In this region Iceland was all green, glowing with fertility. The adorable Icelandic lambs (always in pairs) were everywhere, and herds of handsome Icelandic horses grazed serenley.


From Dryholaey we drove to Skaftafell National Park, home of the largest glaciers in Europe.

The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
We saw three glacier fronts and drove across the glacier delta, where the summer floods from glacier melts wash away all in their path, including the occasional bridge. One of the most perfect sights I have ever seen is Jokulsarlon, at the base of one of the glaciers. Around seventy years ago the summer glacial flood opened up the glacier to the open ocean, allowing salt water to enter the melt estuary. With the addition of salt, ice melts much faster, and the glacier has been calving off ever since, filling up the lagoon with ice-burgs.


The lagoon looked just like Antarctica, a perfect blue sky and blue water, filled with ice crystals, shaded from white to blue (with streaks of black from when volcanic ash fell on the snow thousands of years ago when the ice formed).

The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
We went out on a boat to glide between the ice-burgs, 200 metres above the surface of the fjord (under the glacier itself, ice has carved out a 300 metre deep trench, the lowest point in Iceland). Arctic turns flew over the water and every now and then a seal pocked its head up. As we found out, 73 seals live in the estuary, our guide commented that they "are cuter than ocean seals as they don't have whiskers".


From Skaftafell we drove through to Djupivogur on the east coast of Iceland. A few times we stopped to watch the adorable lambs and horses, tramping across farmland to look at old ruined farm buildings (Iceland has a "right to roam" law, so there is no trespassing). The final few kilometres were along the stunning fjords of the coast, with the golden light of the fading sun lighting up the steep mountains and cold oceans.


halilee says:
Stunning area!! Can't wait to visit soon! :D
Posted on: Mar 28, 2014
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Blacksand beaches near Vik
Blacksand beaches near Vik
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
A seal swimming among the iceburgs…
A seal swimming among the iceburg…
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
The iceburgs of Jokulsarlon
Djupivogur
Djupivogur
Skaftafell
photo by: Vikram