Day 6,7 – From ice to fire

  • Post by Daniele & Ira
  • Jul 11, 2018

The alarm rang at 7 sharp and for the first time we immediately reacted to it. Unlike the other days, where we were free to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, on Tuesday we had to be at 8.45 at the farm mentioned in the previous post. img As it was anticipated, we booked ‘kayak adventure’ with, taking a suggestion from our travel guide. This experience includes both 1h30 of kayaking between icebergs and an introductory walk on ice. We reached the farm at 8.30, and met the helpful guys running the show which started to give us some info. img While we were waiting for all the people to gather up, we checked out some monster trucks that local expedition organizers use, they are like a normal van, but mounted on huge wheels as tall as Ira. Once all the people plus the latecomers arrived, we fit the first half of a drysuit, rubber boots, gloves and we jumped on one of the just mentioned trucks. Without a ladder, jumping on it required basically to climb to the door, but with a bit of effort we managed to get in. After no more than 10 minutes drive pretty much offroad, we reached the lagoon formed by the glacier Heinabergjokull. img Here, similarly to Jokusarlon, huge icebergs from the glacier melt and form this lagoon. In this case though, the icebergs are mostly under the water, for about 90% of their surface, so in many points there is no more than 10cm of water. Once we closed our drysuits and wore a life jacket, we had a crash course on kayaking and we hopped on our red-double-seat kayak-beast. At first, we were paddling through small icebergs, the size of a car, but soon we realized that this was not even close to the actual experience we were going to make. img

The two guides led us through the lagoon toward the glacier, where the icebergs get bigger and bigger. In order to pass, the guides had to break some pieces of ice or we had to literally slide on the ice, which was incredibly cool, since you are seated on this tiny kayak and you are basically flying over a huge piece of ice, which would be able to sink Titanic and is the size of a common supermarket. Once we were as close as possible to the glacier, we drove the boats on top of one iceberg, and we jumped down, wore crampons (similar to, actually) and followed the guides while exploring this isle of ice with all the cool features that is has (mulin, crevasses, ice cones etc.). This walk sort of compensated for the missed glacier walk of the day before, and it was a really nice addition to the fantastic kayak experience.

We were really sorry when we had to hop on the kayaks again and paddle back until the shore. Overall we were really satisfied of the decision to make this tiny adventure and for all those who had hope, unfortunately nobody fell into the water, that would have made a nice picture and a good laugh. img Once we were back at the van, dry and happy, we drove back to Hofn and had lunch at the camp site, after which we headed North. The only stop we planned was to Stokksnes. Allegedly, old viking village, movie set and a gateway to miles of black sand beaches full of seals and puffins. In reality it turned out differently: several kilometers of gravel road, a totally fake and tiny viking village or set (we didn’t understand which one), and we didn’t see any wildlife on the beaches. The only positive side of this place was that the wind, that made our walks quite miserable, also created huge waves in the ocean, which were crushing between each other and on the rocks. These waves were quite spectacular to watch but not really worth the effort. We took the loss and disappointed we kept driving North until we reached a small port city Djupivogur, where we planned to camp for the night. For the next day we had planned a tour starting from this town to a nearby island full of wildlife. img We couldn’t find any information about this tour online, so we decided to wait till next morning and ask directly at the dock. With this thought in mind we went to sleep and we woke the next day at 10.

We had a very big breakfast which was supposed to keep us full until the end of the 4h long tour. We were really disappointed to discover that these tours were not available this year due to the lack of a captain. So we just jumped in the van and drove again North. At this point we planned a stop to a city warmly recommended by our guide, Seydisfjordur. img We reached it in less than 2 hours and started exploring this tiny port city with ~650 inhabitants. From the guide we learnt that there was a very special sushi place, which opens at 17. Despite it was before 14 when we arrived, we decided this was worth a wait, so we took a cake to stop our hanger and then we started going around the city. 3 hours passed quite fast and we went to the sushi place we booked beforehand. We totally understood why this place was highly recommended, since this was the best sushi we ever tried so far. img Everything was fresh, the fish is directly taken from the local fishermen and tasted super good.

Once this excellent lunch was finished, we headed west towards a tiny village called Modrudalur. The road to reach it passed through several hills and lava fields, which looked extremely beautiful under the light of the sun, which finally decided to show itself. img After 2h and a half of driving we reached this village, which doesn’t have cellphone signal, but instead has marvelous, stunning, amazing 360 panoramic view. It is exactly with this view in front of us that we are writing, and it is with this view that our visit to the North of Island begins with its volcanoes and hot spring. On this beautiful note we wish you a nice day and we hope to meet you soon for the upcoming chapters. 🙂 img