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Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet XIX.

Published: 29.3.2015
I think that I can call this day the most beautiful on Iceland. Beautiful weather only enhanced my experience on that day. It was beautiful from the very morning until the night. Sun shone, it was warm, cloudless sky, and great visibility.

27. 8. 2013

NP Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón, Höfn; Aurora Borealis

NP Skaftafell, a park we will spend some time in, was founded in 1967. Its area was enlarged two times. Today it covers almost 5000 km². The are has features similar to Alpine nature, yet the local nature is of volcanic origin. There are frequent volcanic eruptions that caused large mud floods which then caused caused the Skeiðará River to owerflow. The last mud flood happened in 1996. You can see a documentary on this catastrophe in a common room in the camp.

NP Skaftafell

We have a double program. It is our last day with the pilots who are about to move to Reykjavík. In the morning, the pilots leave for glacier Jökulsárlón River lagoon. Swimmers plan to have a difficult hike. They want to climb the glacier of Vatnajökull, concretely Skálafellsjökull glacier tongue. The hike is really only for the callous. Only fit individuals join the trek. Others are about to walk to the foot of a glacier, a relatively easy trail going 2 km off the camp. All chose made it without any problem. The hike took them, however, longer time than expected. The terrain was really difficult.

cesta k jezeru Jökulsárlón

I can join the pilots in the afternoon. I travel with them to the kingdom of ice at Jökulsárlón lake. This enormous lake of 18 km² is the deepest on the island. It is 248 m deep. As glaciers retreat, the natural borders of the lake expand. This fact is considered one of Iceland’s natural wonders. Jökulsárlón is best to see from a roofed cabin of not particularly fast snowcatu. They will equip you for the cruise with good clothes, safety helmet, and instructions what to do on the boat. Also, you can try a scooter with two seats. Or, you can try a ride on an amphibious vehicle. You would need warmclothes and a safety vest. The lagoon is a water surface with a number of ice blocks. They glitter beautifully on the sun, and create picturesque images . Large ice blocks come to the lake from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.

Jökulsárlón

In the afternoon, I take a look around the lake, take pictures of my friends riding the amphibious on the lake. Sometimes a seal peaks at my. It is mostly shy so it quickly submerges.

We return to the camp. Sometimes we stop to take a picture of colorful landscape and some glaciers. We return sooner than the "tourists.” Therefore, we visit an tourist center to buy some souvenirs. Last lunch, good-byes, and the other group heads to see the lagoon. I go back and enjoy a boat ride among the ice blocks. Sun is really warm. White-blue jewels are all around accompanying me on my journey. During the ride, we hear a lecture on how the lake was created and some interesting facts related to it. 35 minute ride costs us 3500 ISK.

NP Skaftafell

Another attraction worth seeing is the perhaps the shortest river coming out of the lake only to flow to the sea after 1 km. From the other way round, the sea feeds the lagoon with salt water. If you reach the shore, you can have an interesting vista of sea surface covered with ice blocks. Some pieces of ice get stuck on a beach. It is a nice view of ice statues sometimes covered in seaweed, the largest species in Europe.

We would love to stay longer, yet we have to go back to the camp in the town of Höfn, the last camp of our stay on Iceland.

NP SkaftafellNP Skaftafell

All have much impressions. Soon after dinner they close thir tents and fall asleep. Myself and couple of other individuals enter a common room to play some canasta. Shortly after eleven o’clock somebody enters the room to say that the most beautiful natural performance is just happening outside. We see phenomenal images created by Aurora Borealis . I watch this spectatle breathless. I have never seen aurora borealis, just photographs which didn’t reveal the phenomena to be not static. Green sky above is making beautiful waves and constantly changing its shape. We wake up the whole camp to let everybody see it. Of course, my camera is in the bus which is locked with the driver sleeping inside. I have a small compact camera and try to capture anything. Only after one hour lighs in the bus went on. I quickly grab my camera but still don’t celebrate victory. It is really hard to take a picture when you have no point to focus your camera on. I even text my friends in the distant Czech Republic asking for an advice. The only chance is manual focus. But beware! Both the lens and the camera have to be set to manual. Sometimes I manage to focus on the moon yet I am not satisfied with what I capture. I am so excited that it is really hard to focus. At least I have many beautiful memories in my mind on the last night on Iceland.

Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis

Wonderful performance. I spend three hours watching it. Then I have to move to the tent. Despite great visibility yet falling temperature proved my clothes to be not warm enough. I came to the tent freezing cold.

NP Skaftafell

Tomorrow we are about to experience the last day on Iceland.

Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová



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