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Day 12 - Saturday 3rd March 2018
Sleep was interrupted with frequent visits outside into the howling wind and a search of the black sky for the elusive Northern Lights. The last time out of bed was just after 0330. I then gave up and succumbed to a comfortable but short night’s sleep.
Brekkie was same-same and it filled the furnace. Bags loaded and off to VIK along the great southern ring road. The first stop was a 4 km off-road drive to see one of the other glaciers. The vegetation on the ground was moss-like and felt like one was walking on a beautiful cushion.
The geology was amazing and you could hear the mountain cracking and small rocks and pebbles falling and bouncing all the way down.
The next stop was at Jokulsarlon, a black volcanic beach situated on the mouth of Glacier Lake. A massive glacier ever so slowly dumps its surplus ice into the lake, which in turn is ejected into the ocean only to be washed back up on the black shore to slowly melt and entertain the tourists.
The current out from the lake is extraordinary and any man or beast falling into the water would have no chance of survival. In fact the current was so fast, I reckon it would make its way to Tassie in no time flat.
The Sun has a very low declination this time of year and was in the perfect spot for taking images of the ice on the beach. I’m very happy with the results. This time however we came well-armed with a ‘borrowed’ kitchen knife and two glasses, also on ‘loan’. Two sizeable lumps of ice were carved, inserted into the glasses, and of course you can see where I’m going with this, and then a splash of Beluga and a toast to our Icelandic Adventure was made.
It was time to decamp as several busloads of tourists were about to invade our quiet space.
Several kms down the road we went off-road in the Pajero, following a rocky river bed to the base of what is so far the most amazing glacier. We were able to park within 100 meters of the flow which looked like a Vienetta Ice Cream. Folded layer upon layer upon latter (Sounds like a Sara Lee advert).
The harsh environment was reinforced by a rather sad plaque mounted on of the huge rocks in memory of two German tourists who disappeared in or around the glacier approximately 15 years ago, never to be seen again.
VIK was now in reach after nearly 300km of driving and our Hotel Katla stood proudly on Highway 1 at the base of a large mountain to its North.
Our host upgraded us to a superior room and that it is. Looking forward to staying here for two nights.
VIK is a mere 2 miles down th road from our abode and is small but “cute” as villages go and the go-to place for lattes was most welcoming.
Some quick shopping for provisions and we are now settled in for the night waiting, waiting waiting...
The call went out through the hotel - “The Aurora is out” - 15 seconds to grab the gear a 5 minute fang up the road, trip over the tripod and started shooting.
We had about 15 minutes before they faded back to black...
One final check outside before hitting the cot revealed she was back again for the second time in the one night.
Put the clothes back on, in the car for another fang up the road to a new location. With the Moon now rising, we drove in the opposite direction to place a huge hil (mountain) between us and the Moon. Amazing result and these images are straight off the camera.
We spent best part of an hour before the lights started to dim and eventually go out. This was a truly amazing experience and one I shall always remember.
A U-turn in the Pajero and a short drive back to the hotel and excitement to see the raw images loaded onto the iPad.
Trust me, it was hard to fall asleep as the brain and emotions were running on high...