Day 24: Skaftafell – Höfn

Day 24: Skaftafell – Höfn

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Day started well, with a nice warm sun-lit tent, with blue skies outside.

Skaftafell Campsite

This nice weather remained the theme of the day, with only occasional showers, becoming windy towards the end of the day.

We departed Skaftafell Campsite, with a wonderful view of Vatnajökull glacier directly behind us.

Vatnajökull Glacier

We then drove along Iceland ring road Highway 1 eastwards (anticlockwise), following the coastline, having both Öræfajökull & Breiðamerkurjökull on our left hand side.

Icebergs - Fjallsárlón

Good Reflections

We then stopped at the 2 famous “iceberg lagoons”: Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón, which are fed from the tongue of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.

Icebergs - Jökulsárlón

Icebergs - Jökulsárlón

Here, we not only experienced the wonder of icebergs at close hand, but also wildlife (e.g. Seals, Arctic Terns, Geese, Ducks).

Ducks

Seal in Jökulsárlón

The ice was crystal clear, and also nice to eat…(according to Neil)

Neil Holding Crystal Clear Ice (before eating it...)

The icebergs float downstream towards to the sea, and are commonly trapped in the river bottleneck where the road bridge crosses.

Here you could literally watch the icebergs float by you on their way out to sea, and with the river flow so high, this movement was at considerable speed.

Icebergs flowing out to sea underneath Highway 1 road bridge

We then followed this “iceberg river” to the sea, where smaller blocks of ice which have fallen off larger icebergs, become beached on the black sands.

Beached Ice Blocks on Black Sand Beach

We then drove onto our destination: Höfn í Hornafjörður where we rented a “very small” hytte for the night at the camping ground, to get away from the strong cold biting wind.

Highway 1 close to Höfn

Our "Little Hytte" in Höfn

In Höfn, we ate at the Pakkhus Restaurant, where we really enjoyed the local delicacy, Langoustine – which comes highly recommended.

Langustine Dinner - Yum-Yum !!!

 

Day 23: Vík – Skaftafell

Day 23: Vík – Skaftafell

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Today we left Vík, to continue on our travels.

The weather started out perfect, with blue skies, no wind and not too cold.

Neil’s condition has improved sufficiently, to allow us to move on, albeit at a slower pace than usual.

After leaving Guesthouse Carina, we visited Reynisdrangar sea stacks and Halsanefshellir basalt columns, so that Neil could also experience what the rest of the team saw the other day. Here we saw a seal close to the shoreline, checking us out.

Seal

After this, we then visited the sea cliff arch at Dyrhólaey, where we saw more Puffins, both on the cliffs and at sea.

Puffins on the sea

We then drove out to the DC3 aeroplane crash site, on the black sand.

DC3

Neil, Tuva and Dina on top of DC3

Inside DC3

Afterwards, we drove back into Vík to do essential shopping and eat lunch, before taking the long drive along the south coast Highway 1 to Skaftafell, via Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Unfortunately, the weather turned much for the worst on this part of our journey, so we didn’t get to take any nice photographs as hoped for.

This drive along Icelands Southern Coastline is quite bleak, completely flat, and remote, with first the Mýrdalssandur glacial outwash plains, followed by the extensive lava fields from Laki, followed by the very wide and flat rocky sandy plains of Skeiðarásandur.

Remains of Old Bridge after 1996 flood

We crossed a number of newly built bridges, following the catastrophic flood of 1996, when most of the bridges and sections of the roads were simply washed away. One piece of the old bridge has been left where it stood, to show just how powerful the flow was, and to remind folks that this will probably happen again some time in the future, given the right volcanic / glacial interaction conditions.

We then established camp at Skaftafell Campsite, which forms part of the Vatnajökull National Park.

Skaftafell Campsite

The campsite was quite busy, with lots of campers, as this is a Bank Holiday Weekend in Iceland.

Day 22: Vík (Neil Sick)

Day 22: Vík (Neil Sick)

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Today was an unplanned “rest day”, to allow Neil to begin to recover from his very bad case of food poisoning.

Whilst the rest of the team found things to do throughout the day, Neil slept most of the time, when not visiting the bathroom !!!!

Gunnar took the kids to the local swimming pool, whilst Anja knitted in the sunshine at the back of the Guesthouse Carina.

Anja had the nice opportunity to meet up with her cousin Harald, and his wife Margret & child, who by chance were visiting Vík from Norway at the same time as we were here.

Family Reunion in Vik

Later in the evening, the rest of the team went out to the local sea cliffs, to watch the Puffins, whilst Neil slept and recovered.

Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks & Sea Cliffs, Vik.

Puffin on Sea Cliff at Vik

Close-Up of Puffin

We would like the owners and staff of Guesthouse Carina for all their help and support during Neil’s sickness – much appreciated.

 

Day 21: Hvolsvöllur – Vík

Day 21: Hvolsvöllur – Vík

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Today, many things happened that was certainly not on the agenda.

First of all, we could not get onto the ferry to Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) on the south coast, due to a nationwide youth festival taking place there, with literally hundreds of youths in front of us trying to get on the ferry. So we had to abandon that idea, and move on to our next agenda location.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

We then visited Seljalandsfoss, which is a really nice, tall waterfall you can walk all the way around the back.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Back View

it was here that Neil started to feel quite unwell.

Skógafoss Waterfall

We then drove on to Skógafoss, which is a spectacular and wide waterfall. Here, the rest of the team checked out the waterfall, while Neil quickly returned back to the car, feeling quite sick and very unwell.

As a result of Neil’s worsening condition, we drove on to the next town, Vík, where we stayed the night at the very nice Guesthouse Carina.

Guesthouse Carina Vik

Soon after we arrived at the Guesthouse Carina, Neil became a lot worse, with diarrhoea and vomiting all night.

We believe it was a bad case of food poisoning, as no one else in the team was either unwell or sick.

Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks

While Neil tried to relax in the Guesthouse, the rest of the team took a walk to a local restaurant, and then onto the black beach, where the winds were very strong, where they had a good view of Reynisdrangar sea stacks, and column basalt columns at halsanefshellir.

Dina Sitting on Basalt Columns

Neil was very ill the whole of the night, which resulted in the decision to stay an extra night, to allow him to recover.

Day 20: Landmannalaugar – Hvolsvöllur (46 River Crossings Day !)

Day 20: Landmannalaugar – Hvolsvöllur (46 River Crossings Day !)

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Today was a slow and late start, with a late sleep-in, followed by a swim in the natural hot spring river next to the camping ground. This was very refreshing, yet quite odd, as a hot spring met a cold stream, resulting in a perfect hot tub temperature. However, the waters did not mix perfectly, which meant that you had to find the right spot in the river, to gain the benefit of the natural hot waters. There was also lots of bubbles seeping through the river bed, where hot geothermal waters were also entering the river.

Natural Hot Springs at Landmannalaugar Campsite

The weather was mixed throughout the day, with sunshine, showers, rain, cloudy, blue skies, and sunshine – constant mix of weather conditions, which changed rapidly.

Interesting Weather Conditions

Driving into Wilderness

After leaving Landmannalaugar, we drove east along mountain road F208, to begin what resulting in being one of the most epic drives of this expedition.

Interesting River Corssings Ahead...

River Cossing Warning

Not only was the landscape totally phenomenal wherever you looked, with interesting and challenging driving most of the day, which included 46 river crossings !!!

Waterfall River Crossing

Here is a short video of one of these 46 river crossings…

 

The drive took us along the NE and E side of Mýrdalsjökull, forever downwards to the coastal plane and finally to the ring road, Highway 1.

Interesting Passing Conditions

Once we reached Highway 1, we drove west, via Vík, to Hvolsvöllur, where we camped the night.

Day 19: Fluðir – Landmannalaugar

Day 19: Fluðir – Landmannalaugar

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Day started very nicely, with a warm sun-lit tent, which we have not had too many of, so far this trip.

Once we packed up camp, we had to spend a couple of hours writing 3 blog news articles, to get back up to date, as well as recharge a lot of our batteries on laptops, phones, etc.

Once we were up to date, we drove from Fluðir to Landmannalaugar, in beautiful weather.

This proved to be a very interesting and occasionally challenging drive, with quite a few river crossings.

Awsome Views along the road

Once again, we reduced our tyre pressures from 25 to 12 PSI, to handle the very rough and sharp gravel & rock roads conditions.

Snowcapped Helka in the Background

When we finally got started on mountain road F225 to Landmannalaugar, we stopped to take a tail-gate lunch from the back of the pickups, before flying the quadcopter for a short flight. However, the wind was occasionally so strong, that it posed challenging flying conditions.

Quadcopter flight

As we got closer to Landmannalaugar, we passed the mighty snow-capped volcano Hekla, which typically erupts every 15 years, and is currently 5 years overdue, so we kept an eye on the volcano as we passed (just in case…).

Intersting Driving Conditions

Once we arrived at Landmannalaugar campsite, we set up camp just in time, before the weather turned from beautiful blue skies, white clouds and sun, to low cloud and pouring rain. So we were thus confined to tent, to keep out of the bad weather, which was unfortunate given the fact that we had hoped to see a lot more of the spectacular landscapes Landmannalaugar area offers.

Landmannalaugar Campsite

Tent Life

We were quite surprised by the sheer numbers of tents and campers at this remote campsite location – looked more like base camp of Everest, just before a major climbing season, rather than a very remote campsite in the central highlands of Iceland.

Landmannalaugar Campsite

Tracking Data Update

Tracking Data Update

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We have now driven 3000 km since leaving Sandnes.

Currently, we are in the central region of Iceland, where we will spend the next few days exploring, before driving south to the coast, which we will then follow mostly, for the remainder of our expedition.

Hope you find this tracking data interesting.

Tracking Data to 27 July 2015

 

Day 18: Hafnarfjörður – Fluðir

Day 18: Hafnarfjörður – Fluðir

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The day started well, with a warm sunny morning, that continued most of the day.

Arctic Trucks Shop

We packed up the campsite efficiently, and then drove to Arctic Trucks, to spend a few very interesting and enjoyable hours with the Arctic Trucks & Arctic Trucks Experience Teams.

We were fortunate to be given a tour into their workshops, were we saw two 6×6 Toyota Hilux Arctic Trucks undergoing final build preparation for a future Chinese South Pole / Antarctica expedition, as well as viewing one Toyota Hilux that has just returned from the South Pole – Amazing how good it looked after such a trip.

New Toyota Hilux 6X6 - Next Stop South Pole

We have to say a special thank you to Freyja Ágústsdóttir for all her help in not only setting up this visit, but also all her additionally help in trying to find contact details for one of Tuva’s old school friends, that returned back to Iceland a few years ago. Unfortunately, we did not have the right opportunity for allowing her to meet her old school friend on this visit.

Neil with Arctic Trucks Team

Also, many thanks to Steinar Sigurðsson (Sales Director) For his personal guided tour into the Arctic Trucks workshop, to see what happens behind the scenes, and to have this wonderful experience first hand.

Tuva wants one....

We then drove to Selfoss, where we look lunch in the town centre, before driving on to Geysir.

Strokkur/ Geysir

At Geysir, we experienced the geothermal experience that the famous Geysir has given its name to science.

Today, Geysir does not “blow” unless induced by soap, whereas its neighbour Strokkur, provides the constant “geyser show” today. Interestingly, I noticed that Strokkur is a lot more “unreliable / unpredictable” than it used to be – possibly a result of recent earthquake events, that may have disturbed its “blow period”. However, we managed to gain a lot of excellent photos, capturing the geyser explosion event, and the water / steam column. What was clearly obvious to us that have visited this site many times in the past, is how many more tourist were there this time than before – a significant increase.

Gullfoss

We then drove to Gullfoss, to see this truly amazing waterfall. Here, the weather was perfect, so we were able to take some great photos, including some with rainbow effects, resulting from the waterfall spray uplift.

Gullfoss Spray

Later, we went tourist shopping at the Gullfoss Centre.

We then drove to Fluðir, just south of Gullfoss, where we established camp, before visiting the local natural open air hot pool called Gamla Laugur (old pool) / Secret Lagoon, which was really enjoyable experience.

Secret Lagoon

Due to technical problems, we have not been able to recharge our laptops, or find sufficiently decent internet connection options, to allow us to update the blog for the last few day (many apologies…).

However, we are back in action, and here is the latest blog news – hope you liked it.

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