Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon)
Pure uninterrupted blue stretches across the horizon, the unbroken sky impervious to the unabashed brilliance of this landscape. Basalt carnage relentlessly clawed by the futile grasp of frozen hands soot the ground below. Pebbled sediment devours the sky in a precarious iridescence of opaque emerald and lucent marine that fills quiet but every changing waters. Heavy chunks of glacial wonder punctuate the surface folding and peaking in unusual forms. Weathered with snow and whipped with ash their protruding tips are a testament to time and travel.
Although the visual impact is memorizing it’s the sudden and unexpected cadence of this ever changing artwork that is most spectacular. Silence comes in low crackles signaling an acoustic event as the brittle bark pulls away and snaps in a thunderous boom which rolls across the valley. The frosted crust falls into the sea with a dramatic plunge resulting in reverberant ripples causing gentle waves which lap the peppery sand from dampened rocks along the shore.
The act of thawing is a suffocating force causing relentless pressure on the frozen island. Melting mass changes the iceberg’s equilibrium causing a slow upheaval providing a peek at its clear shimming underbelly. Teeter tottering in a frictionless whirl it bobs violently until balance is restored.
Breiðamerkurjökull (Diamond Beach)
The lagoon flows through a short waterway which empties into the Atlantic. Icebergs lumber discreetly along the aquiline in constant perspiration, pausing to pocket bits of earth along the way. We follow by car on an uneven trail laden with rocky debris of varying size and texture. Compressed by frequent travel of large wheeled vehicles this makeshift path provides direct access to the floating ice for those willing to brave off-road travel.
After intersecting Highway 1 and crossing the bridge we find similar passage
adjoining the icy flow. About a 100 yards in we fall upon the iconic Diamond Beach.
Despite my usual desire to experience everything through a lens I abandon my camera and just absorb it all. In the dampness of this ebbing tide powdery charcoal blurs into velvety ink. Flecks of silver illuminated by golden sunshine roll across tiny grains in a hypnotic sparkle. Icebergs bob in placid surf waiting for the perfect wave to wash ashore.
Promising to be right back Paul vanishes from sight for what seems like hours. Lost in the beauty of glacial black sand beaches he traverses the desolate terrain in search of perfectly smoothed icebergs abandoned upon the starry midnight shore.
A precarious warning light aluminates the dash as we approach a beautiful waterfall on our western decent through Vik. Camera in hand I emerge ready to capture the serenity of these falls. Paul surveys our vehicle for signs of distress as I click away at the beautiful scenery. Thank goodness he and dad know what they’re doing as AAA doesn’t extend to this part of the world and I have no idea how to change a tire. Gail scans through the literature for instructions on where to find the jack. Recognizing I can add no significant value I steady the camera prepared to document this blog worthy of event.