Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Southern Iceland Part 2

Fri 16 Feb 2018

Reynisfjara and Solheimajokull glacier

Our adventures continued today to Reynisfjara black sand beach from Hella, then turning back to Solheimajokull, before covering the Golden Triangle, then back to Reykjavik. But not before stopping by to take pictures of and with the smallish, cute and bushy haired Icelandic horses. There are many many horse farms around Iceland, we stopped at the one near Eyjafjallajokull. The horses are friendly, hoping for us to feed them something.

river near Hotel Hella

Talking to the Icelandic horses

After frolicking with horses, we made our way to Reynisfjara, about 1 hour from Hella via Route 1. The nearest town is Vik, which would have made a good mid rest point between Reykjavik and Jokulsarlon, if you are planning to cover this route. For geology enthusiasts, Reynisfjara beach is a must as you can see the basalt column cascading clearly here and black sand beach, a product of cooled lava over time. The 'sand' is made up of lava flowing into the ocean which has cooled and subjected to the strong ocean waves to now become tiny black pebbles. Do be careful to stay about 20-30 meters away from the waves as it could unexpectedly pull you into the ocean if you stand too near. There was a fatality reported in 2017 here.

Reynisfjara black sand beach covered by ice
Reynisfjara black sand beach
Basalt column by the Reynisfjara beach

roaring waves by the Reynisfjara beach

Our next stop was Solheimajokull glacier which is part of the Katla Geopark, about 30 mins away from Reynisfjara.  Originally, we booked for our glacier hike at Skaftafell the previous day but had to cancel it as the roads were closed due to strong winds and heavy snow and hence couldn't make it there. We were given the option to re-schedule, but since we were pressed for time, we had to forego it. It would definitely be high on our list if we had another opportunity to visit Iceland again. We were promptly fully refunded for our cancellation.

Solheimajokull did not disappoint, in fact it was majestic! We were surrounded by pristine white ice all over us, it was so serene that I would have stayed longer, if not for our tight schedule! Solheimajokull is a glacier tongue of Myrdalsjokull glacier. An ice tongue is a long and narrow sheet of ice projecting out from the coastline. An ice tongue forms when a valley glacier moves very rapidly out into the ocean or a lake. Info from here. It is advisable to do a glacier hike with a professional guide as you may be exposed to hazards as the land is rapidly changing. Stones fall, ice bridges and ice caves collapse and quicksand is common near the glacier.

Welcome to Solheimajokull

Solheimajokull glacier

a group coming back from their hike

We then continued on our journey to cover the Golden Circle, which will be updated in the next post. Stay tuned!



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