Day 4 - Friday 23rd February, 2018
Once in a Decade...
Up bright and early for a quick trip to the bus depot where we would depart the Golden Circle.
The area comprises many attraction including the stunning Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir, the hot geyser erupting frequently.
The journey started with us weaving our way out of Reykjavik and onto the highway.
We crossed several high passes and at each the wind and snow was parallel to the ground. Another bus several hundred meters in front was swaying left-to-right and it looked quite possible that it would end up in knee-deep snow off the side of the road - like many cars we saw and passed.
Our guide was absolutely fantastic, well informed and articulated the Icelandic History, Geography and little pearls of Norse, Viking and local knowledge for almost 3 hours. Amazing!
The first stop was in an area where East and West drift apart, not politically but geologically as this is where the two Tectonic Plates separate the two hemispheres.
The tectonic plates whose turbulent interactions formed Iceland, are the Eurasian tectonic plate and the North American tectonic plate. Spanning the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland emerged as a result of the divergent, spreading, boundary between these two plates and the activity of Iceland´s own hotspot or mantle plume.
50 minutes in sub-zero temperature was enough to appreciate that it’s cold out there!
Back on the bus to Geysir to see the volcanic activity “spit the dummy” with a major outburst every 5-6 minutes. The wind is picking up and the drive to Gullfoss and several cars were swept off the road and in knee-deep snow. No RACV service out here! At first I thought it was low fog on the road but the speed at which the snow was screaming across the road created this blur effect,
By the time we arrived at Gullfoss, the wind had already passed 106 km/h and still increasing. We found out later that the gusts exceeded 136 km/h!!
The attempt to walk to the waterfall saw everybody doing the “two step” - 2 steps forward then wind pushing so hard we were sliding one step back. It was beyond dangerous - I held onto a 1 meter high pole for safety and stability and believe me, I could barely hang on.
The short video clip does not provide an accurate picture of just how ferocious and bitterly cold the wind was.
There was no choice but to admit defeat to nature and retreat back to the swaying bus. Gullfoss, you will have to wait for another visit where I may again have the opportunity to shoot you.
It was that bad that my Macpac top was wet on the inside. It failed the Gullfoss 100km/h + test.
Into the bus with wet jacket, wet T and feeling just a tad cheated. The Nikon received a good wash and the shutter was not pressed, not even once!
A long and wet drive back to RKV. Found a Turkish eatery some lentil soup to warm the insides then in the bus to get back to our place for another three days.
All tours have been cancelled for the next two days and our Northern Lights gig has been postponed to Sunday night. Fingers crossed. Central RKV was devoid of people as most sane people stayed indoors - not me, I literally want to soak up as much as possible.
Some mixers were purchased to go with the duty free Beluga Vodka, and now settled in for the night at 21:00.
I’m guessing a few museum visits will be in order during the day tomorrow.
Yes, a once in a decade storm decides to rain on my parade!