Extreme Iceland

After some well earned sleep we were up and waiting for day two of our tour. This was the tour of the southern coast seeing many waterfalls, black sand beaches, quaint towns and the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

After two hours in the van we reached Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The green mossy mountains were a stunning backdrop to this impressive waterfall that powered over them and created a walk way behind the water.

We jumped out the van and up the path and scrambled up he muddy bank to get good view points. Our guide had said we would get a ‘little wet’, I guess a little wet in Iceland is extremely wet!! The spray covered the hillside and made taking pictures difficult. We walked behind Seljalandsfoss and got soaked. Again trying to take photos was near impossible.

Although we were wet it was great fun. We flew the drone quickly as it was raining and then set off for the next destination.

Thirty minutes later we stopped at another waterfall Skogafoss. One of Iceland’s highest at 60m and featured in films from Thor to a music video for Justin Bieber. We walked to the base of the waterfall and posed for photos and got quite wet with the gusts of wind sending the spray in our direction. The volume of water was impressive and the noise was loud. There were also some steps up the hill to the top. After several hundred steps and some serious thigh burn you were rewarded with a view over the waterfall and the valley.

Mike opted not to do the steps but fly the drone instead from down below and got some good shots from another perspective. Back in the van for 30 minutes we now were off to a black sand beach.

Reynisfjara is Iceland’s best black stone and sand beach and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Hálsanef. Out in the sea are the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. Puffins and guillemots flew overhead and even pooped on my phone!! We walked down the beach to the Reynisdrangar avoiding the waves smashing up the shore wit the wind and rain in our faces. Despite the weather we flew the drone and tried to get some shots of the impressive stacks and arches in the distance at the other end of the beach.

Beach explored we got a quick sandwich and muffin from the restaurant and jumped back in the van for the long drive to the glacial lagoon.

The landscape on the way was amazing: rolling hills, black sand, mountains and glaciers. Midway we stopped at two large steel beams (that once belonged to a bridge) on the side of the road, which had been put on show as they had been twisted and mangled by glacial flood water.

After 3 hours we reached Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. The lagoon was full of blue ice bergs floating in the still lake. It was stunning. A sight we had never seen before and it was mesmerisingly beautiful. We walked around the edge of the lake taking photos of the ice bergs. Some white, some bright blue and some covered in black sand. The blue colour comes from the amount of oxygen in the ice, the less there is the more blue it is. The black sand and come from volcanic eruptions or from scrapping the bottom of the lake and the ice berg flipping.

After taking numerous shots we boarded an amphibious vehicle, donned life jackets and headed to the lagoon. The boat trip was extra but well worth it. The vehicle drove into the water and we sailed around and through the bergs. It was good to get up close to them and take some pictures. One particular ice berg was vivid blue and to our surprise seals were bobbing in the water, poking their heads up while fishing.

The boat guide got a big piece of ice to show us. We took photos with the 1000 year old block and he broke it into pieces for us to eat! Extremely cold and tasted of fresh water (unsurprisingly).

After doing a Facebook live video we returned to shore, took one last photo and boarded the bus. The next stop was 2 minutes away, diamond beach.

Named after all the ice bergs that have been washed ashore. They break off the glacier, bob around in the lagoon and then eventually float out to sea, where they are promptly dumped on the beach by the waves. Clear ice littered the beach as well as some pretty big blue ice bergs all of which made good photos.

After 20 minutes playing around on the beach we returned to the van and made our way to a stop to grab a hot dog for dinner.

Shortly afterwards we made our last stop in a lava field now covered in moss. The undulating landscape was impressive and vivid green and quite like anything else on Earth.

It was finally time to board the five hour bus back to Reykjavik; arriving around midnight. An amazing day, and a great way to end our 8 months of travelling and day 223. Tomorrow it was back to London 😦

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