Ice Ice Baby! (23 May 2016)

Our aiming point on our travels Eastward along Iceland’s Southern coast was the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón.  Here, icebergs break away from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and make their way through the lagoon, under the road bridge and out to the open sea where many of them get washed up onto the beach.  On the day we visited there were hardly any icebergs in the lagoon, but plenty on the beach.

The contrast between the white, clear and blue ice and the black, volcanic sand is stunning.  This iceberg was taller than me.  

One of the things that making photographs does is that it makes me take more time actually seeing and thinking about my surroundings. While I was looking at this big chunk of ice I wondered…How long ago did it form?  When did it break away from the glacier?  How big was it when it broke off?  How long did it take to escape the lagoon?  How long has it sat in this position?  When will it move again?  How long will it take to melt away to nothing?  Where will it end up?  And today as I’m writing this I’m wondering what it looks like now, about 6 weeks since I was there.

The next photo shows some of the difference in texture of the ice between the different chunks, this one being much more translucent than the one above.  Are they different within the glacier, or do they become different as a result of their different paths after breaking away?

I was crouching down at the base of this iceberg trying to take some photos of the powerful waves crashing over some of the ice at the sea’s edge.  The tide was coming in and you know what it’s like - every now & then a particularly sneaky wave rushes much further up the beach than any of the previous ones.  So I’m snapping away with one eye through the viewfinder, and the other on the waves… “A-ha! a big one coming… Very cunning, but I’m ready for ya!…Oh that’s unexpected…why am I know sprawled out on my back?…Shit…It’s me or the camera…Save the camera…”  And with that the wave decided it had had its fun and stopped, just touching the tip of my outstretched foot before turning away back down the beach laughing to itself at my moment of panic.

I find the marked change of surface texture in this close up fascinating.  Do you see a face in the pattern?

After Jökulsárlón we retraced our steps back Westwards.  The next instalment will cover how we spent our evening in the small town of Vik.

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