Friday, January 6, 2017

Iceland is fickle

 Well, our luck ran out on the string of good weather. When we woke up, the rain was still pouring down. After press time last evening, we noticed that several of the other hostel guests were heading out to search for northern lights. There were patches of stars in the night sky, so we also tried our luck, but were unsuccessful. Our delayed bedtime rolled into a delayed breakfast and we only left for the day at dawn. I guess, being layabeds, that we didn't miss much though, as we had simply terribly conditions for our morning visit to the glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón. The dark and brooding predawn light conditions complemented the mighty winds from the south and hard driving rain that gave the feeling of being  pelted with hail because the drops were whipping down with such force. Staying warm was not so much the issue, but staying dry was tricky. We were pretty soaked in just the 20 minutes that we braved the storm. The giant icebergs were really amazing to see, the blue was otherworldly and we even saw a couple of seals frolicking in the lagoon.

The seal is just ducking under again here
Buffeted by the wind and drenched

Alien blue color

The icebergs wash up at this end of the lagoon, the glacier is out of sight

The light changed and we could get a few nice shots from the car window

We were slated to meet with our ice cave tour group guides at 11:45 and that was when we learned that the heavy rain all night and into the morning caused enough flooding that we wouldn't be able to go to the caves. Tragedy! We retreated to the relative safety of the car to think about how to redeploy our remaining daylight hours. We headed back west, chasing better weather. Just a few minutes after we slipped out from under the rain clouds we turned off the main road in search of some glacier looking things. Well, we struck gold by finding a tongue of the giant Vatnajökull ice cap, the
svínafellsjökull glacier. We took hundreds of photos around this glacier and were really happy to have some more blue ice to look at. We kept saying "Okay, just one last photo of the glacier." We said that over and over.

Okay, not exactly an ice cave

This is getting closer to cave-like

So blue!

With the reflection, this is scene is twice as nice

Get that guy out of the amazing picture

Late afternoon

Time to print our own postcards?

After this serendipitous stop, there wasn't much daylight left, so we had to rush over to the fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in order to catch any of the amazing views before full dark set in.

Only moonlight for the quick jog back down

Our hostel tonight is near the town of Vik. We had dinner and played a quick round of Race for the Galaxy, and we are contemplating another late night run to find an aurora. It is altogether likely that we will instead try to bank some hours of sleep as the gale force winds are still howling and we'll need to have some clear skies in order to see anything. The hostel owner, Laura, told us that there have been too many clouds to see northern lights for the past three months here near Vik. The exception was on New Year's Eve, when they were simply amazing. So we need a bit of luck on our side to redeem this day a bit.

Tomorrow we leave Route One and head up into the so called Golden Circle. This area has a lot of famous tourist spots including geysers and fosses. So stay turned!

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