Tuesday – Heading back towards Seyðisfjörður to drop of 2 of our party, we are glacier hunting today.
Svínafellsjökull from the massive ice cap Vatnajökull, there are many glacier tongues. On the south side, they form a fascinating landscape when you are driving the Ring Road in Iceland. Falling hundreds of meters in between cliffs and mountains at such a slow speed that it is impossible for the human eye to capture the movement.
Grimsvotn – Icelanders will long remember November 5, 1996.
On that day the largest flood in living memory swept from the terminus (bottom end) of Skeidarár Glacier. Icelanders call such sudden drainage events jökulhlaups, literally, “glacier bursts.” It is these that lead to mega-scale flooding with devastating consequences.
Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon, bordering Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Its still, blue waters are dotted with icebergs from the surrounding Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, part of larger Vatnajökull Glacier. The Glacier Lagoon flows through a short waterway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving chunks of ice on a black sand beach.
After a very very windy night and lots of rain we decided that it would be better for the drivers to have a lighter driving day so we had a sightseeing day. Monday.
I took a video at 4am this morning:
Vík í Mýrdal is a remote seafront village in south Iceland. It sits in the shadow of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which covers the Katla volcano. Reyniskirkja is a wooden church dating to 1929. Reynisfjara beach has black pebbles, basalt columns and the Reynisdrangar offshore rock formations. The cliffs of Reynisfjall mountain are home to seabirds such as puffins. Just west, the Dyrhólaey peninsula has a large rock arch.
Skogafoss waterfall, and Hjörleifshöfði is named after the Viking settler, Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson, the blood brother of Ingólfur Arnarson who was our first Viking settler in around 874 AD.
Katla is one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland. It is situated to the north of Vík í Mýrdal and to the east of the smaller glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Its peak reaches 1,512 metres (4,961 ft) and is partially covered by the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The system has an area of 595 km2 (230 sq mi). The Eldgjá canyon is part of the same volcanic system.
The caldera of the Katla volcano has a diameter of 10 km (6.2 mi) and is covered with 200–700 metres (660–2,300 ft) of ice. The volcano normally erupts every 40–80 years. The flood discharge at the peak of an eruption in 1755 has been estimated at 200,000–400,000 m3/s (7.1–14.1 million cu ft/sec), comparable to the combined average discharge of the Amazon, Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze rivers (about 266,000 m3/s (9.4 million cu ft/sec)).
travel to pingvellir (icelandic pronounce thing ver clif)
PINGVELLIR – It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – north America / Eurasian continental plates. It is at the northern end of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. 2cm per year – on average the valley floor drops a couple of centimetres but in 1789 it dropped by half a meter.
Parliament or Alþingi (“Althing” in English) was established at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798. 48 cheiftans 12 from each quarter of the country – pass new laws, amend old laws, pass sentence with jurors who were nominated from free farmers.
Oxarafoss – the axe river – 20 m drop
Heading to Reykjavik for a couple of hours before dropping one of our tour back at the docks.
Travelling through the interior to Hveravellir geothermal area, very low cloud but visibility does improve. Once we arrive at Hveravellir I look at the weather and as we have made good time decide it would be warmer and drier to head on the F35 to Geysir and have a 2 night stop in Geysir.