Because you can’t spend just one day exploring Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, we left Skaftafell to continue along the southern coast to our Eastern-most destination of Jökulsárlón, the Glacier Lagoon. Here, the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier feeds icebergs into the lagoon at its base. The lagoon then carries the icebergs to the shore, where the chunks of bright blue ice are beached on the black sand. We could have stayed on the beach watching the icebergs bob up and down with the waves all day, but with the promise of an ice cave tour awaiting us, we had to pry ourselves away.
The ice cave tour was the first thing I booked after my airfare to Iceland. It’s one of the few things you can ONLY see in the winter (along with the aurora borealis). During the summer, part of the glaciers will melt away, resulting in a river that can carve caves out of the ice. In the winter, everything freezes over again, but if you know where to look, you can find the caves the summer rivers left behind. Again, this is the kind of thing you’d only want to visit with an experienced guide. We met up with ours at Jökulsárlón, left our trusty SUV Dusty behind, and rode off-road in our two guides’ super jeeps – picture a normal jeep, and then imagine that it was eaten by its thrice-bigger older brother. The ice cave was a completely serene and other-worldly experience. Yet again, we had a hard time leaving, but the fleeting light (and GIANT group of tourists from Reykjavik showing up) meant that it was time to go.
The glacier feeding into the lagoon. We saw a few seals here – the first non-bird wildlife we had seen!
One of our guides wander further into the cave to try to pry away a piece of rope that had been stuck in the ice.
Look up from inside the cave
We adventurers once more – this photo taken with the help of one of our guides.
One last look back…