After finishing with our visit to the Svínafellsjökull glacier, we returned to the ring road and began our journey east. The ring road circled the base of mighty Öræfajökull - Iceland's largest volcano (and in case you've forgotten, the peak we climbed the day before). As the highway circled the volcano, we got wonderful views of its flanks, with big valley glaciers flowing down at regular intervals. Below the glaciers on the foothills and flats below were several scenic farms. Hopefully Öræfajökull does not awake too soon, or these places might be in a bit of trouble!
Harebells and Skaftafellsjökull
Glacial melt from Öræfajökull
Ring road and Hnappavellir
As we swung around to Öræfajökull's eastern flanks, an interesting-looking glacial lagoon caught our attention on the left. This was the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon. We had planned to visit another glacial lagoon a little further east, but this one looked quite interesting, so we stopped here for a bit as well.
Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon
Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon
Ewart, Chris, and Icebergs
The lagoon was a very scenic and fascinating spot. Not far from us, on the other side of the lagoon, the snout of a large glacier - the Fjallsjökull glacier - sat directly in the water, and there were several vertical faces of ice that looked ready to calve off. We hoped for such a calving event while we were there, but alas, the glacier was silent.
After a good half hour along the lagoon's edge, watching small icebergs and chunks of ice drift to and fro, we decided to head on. We had a more "famous" glacial lagoon yet to visit: Jökulsarlón.
Roland, Ewart, Fjallsárlón
A short few kilometres further east across the flats brought us to Jökulsarlón, the most famous of Iceland's glacial lagoons. You've probably seen some artistic shot or another, at some point, of an otherwordly-looking chunk of ice floating in a lake set against a backdrop of endless ice, rock, and snow - usually at the photographically advantageous time of sunrise or sunset. We were here at the height of day, not ideal for these sorts of shots, but the place was still immensely scenic. The lagoon was a large blue lake - not grey-ish colored like Fjallsárlón, and studded with thousands of chunks of blue ice.
The lagoon captures the icebergs calving off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier - a huge broad mass whose end was quite far away from us at the far end of the lagoon. After floating around for a time in the lagoon, the icebergs eventually flow into a wide, short river - a river only 500 meters long - into the Atlantic Ocean. There are interesting observing locations along the edge of the lagoon, along the banks of the short river, and on the beaches of the nearby ocean.
Visitor parking, Jökulsarlón
Jökulsá á Breiðamerkusandi
Jökulsarlón glacial lagoon