Tour to Vatnajökull glacier and Jökulsarlon lagoon
Day 3, May 14th, 2002
Day tour from Reykjavik by plane and then by super jeep to Vatnajokull glacier, Europe's largest glacier after Nordasutlandet in Svalbard. Excursion to Jokulsarlon lagoon and its icebergs, a must-see during any tour to Iceland, made famous by one of the 007 movies.
Today I catch the first flight to Hornafjörður, located southeast and close to the Europe's biggest glacier Vatnajökull. The flight is normally operated by Metro 23 (in the picture) but today, because of the strong winds, the airplane has been replaced with the bigger Fokker 50.
While descending to Hornafjörður, the airplane flies close to the Jökulsarlon lagoon filled with many icebergs (top-left picture) and then over the town of Höfn just before the touch-down.
From the roads around Höfn, there are beautiful views of the many glaciers flowing between the mountains.
With an impressive Super Jeep, we start to ascend a mountain in order to reach the glacier. Often the road is very narrow and uneven, without any protection on both sides, with steep climbs and sharp turns. But this is absolutely no problem for our very safe, powerful and very realiable kind of car. The scenery all around and the trip in the superjeep itself is absolutely breathtaking.
We are about to approach the glacier.
We finally reach the glacier and take a long tour on its surface. The total size of the glacier is about 8400 square kilometers and the ice is up to 1 kilometer deep with an average of 400 meters. In 1996 a tremendous volcano eruption occurred directly under the glacier's surface, melting billions of tons of ice. The water so produced, caused devastaing floods involving large parts of Iceland and destroying everything that was on its course.We are at about 1100 meters of elevation. The temperature is around freezing point and the wind so strong that sometimes it was difficult to stay on foot. But the view is fantastic and the inclement wind just added some welcome "extra adventure" !
It is here that I was about to be flown away from the glacier... luckly, my guide stopped me promptly !
The fantastic super jeep parked over the ice. A super jeep tour is one of the best and quickest way to visit Europe's largest glacier.
Only the highest peaks emerge from the glacier.
In the center of the picture, buildings erected on the glacier. There is a resturant, a gift shop and some other facility.
Coming back we see a group of reindeers.
Back on the solid ground, my guide readapt the wheel's pressure to meet the new conditions.
We then reach the Jökulsarlon lagoon where a lot of icebergs are released from the glacier's front before floating away.
The wind is now calm and everything is very quiet. The silence is only broken by the birds and by the blocks of ice cracking and falling in the water.
Finally, we take a short tour of the charming and beautiful town of Höfn, before my flight back to Reykjavik.